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National

  • Vonn training after rehab stint

    VAIL, Colo. (AP) — Lindsey Vonn is energized by her progress in recovering from a knee injury and might be in the starting gate next week in Canada.
    Vonn spoke with The Associated Press on Friday after three early super-G training runs. This was her first big test since she crashed during training at Copper Mountain last week and partially tore a reconstructed ligament in her right knee.
    “Definitely, I’m encouraged,” she said. “It’s looking a lot better than everyone expected. Things are going well.”
    Wearing a brightly colored jacket over her speed suit, the reigning Olympic downhill champion took an easy opening run through the course on a crisp morning.
    On her second pass, Vonn got a little more aggressive, picking up more speed as she glided down the hill. For her third and final run, she opened it up even more to see how her knee responded.
    “So far, so good,” she said after her workout.
    So much so she remains hopeful she might race in Alberta next week. Asked about her readiness for Lake Louise, Vonn said: “I’m not sure yet. As it looks right now, yeah.”
    She concedes there’s plenty more work to do to get into shape.

  • Bragging rights take backseat in Iron Bowl

    AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Bragging rights are taking a backseat for a change in this Iron Bowl.

    It's No. 1 Alabama versus No. 4 Auburn Saturday in a rivalry game that has reached epic proportions in the state beyond even the usual craving for 364 days of rubbing it in.

    The winner of only the second Top-5 matchup in the Iron Bowl's 78-year history will play for the Southeastern Conference championship, and live on in the national title derby.

    "Oh man, it's going to be a battle," Crimson Tide receiver Kevin Norwood said.

    If the SEC title game has been a national semifinal game during the league's seven-year run of BCS champs, welcome to what could amount to the quarterfinals. Iron Bowl style.

    The Tide (11-0, 7-0 SEC) remains the national front-runner and is a 10.5-point favorite for this one. The Tigers (10-1, 6-1) have arguably been the season's biggest surprise, though unlike Alabama they'd likely still need either No. 2 Florida State or No. 3 Ohio State to lose.

    Auburn has lost the past two Iron Bowls by a combined 91-14 and failed to produce an offensive touchdown in either game. Much has changed since coach Gus Malzahn's arrival.

  • Bryant signs 2-year extension with L.A.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Wearing his practice shorts and a sweatshirt, Kobe Bryant looked as if he was ready to return action.
    After the Los Angeles Lakers signed the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history to a two-year contract extension, Bryant said he can’t wait to play.
    “The Lakers came up with the structure — a system and a plan they thought was a win-win for everybody involved. From my perspective, it was very easy to accept it,” Bryant said.
    In what he says will probably be his final contract, Bryant says there was no negotiation.
    Bryant’s new deal is reportedly worth $48.5 million, and it takes him into his 20th season with the Lakers.
    He hasn’t played this season while recovering from surgery in April on a torn Achilles tendon. He won’t play on this three-game road trip, but he’s looking forward to three practices in the four days off that precede Los Angeles’ game in Sacramento on Dec. 6 as a possible return.
    “Those three days when we get back are going to be huge,” Bryant said. “I need some more practices to measure it and test it.”

  • AP Poll: College Football's Top 25

    The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 23, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking:

  • Pacquiao beats Rios in unanimous decision

    MACAU (AP) — Manny Pacquiao reversed the decline in his boxing career and provided some desperately needed inspiration to the disaster-stricken Philippines with an authoritative victory over Brandon Rios on Sunday.

    Pacquiao entered the fight coming off successive defeats, having spent a year out of the ring and with his own trainer publicly declaring he should retire unless he convincingly beat Rios.

    In addition, Pacquiao carried the burden of being the favorite son of the Philippines and the man the nation looked to as a source of joy and hope in the wake of deadly Typhoon Haiyan.

    Thousands of fans watched the fight on screens set up in the plaza of Tacloban, the Philippine city hit worst by the Nov. 9 disaster that killed more than 5,000 people and left huge numbers of the population homeless.

    If Pacquiao felt pressure, he didn't show it in the ring at The Venetian casino in Macau, putting on a vintage display of his trademark combinations to wear down a gallant Rios and take a unanimous decision, claiming the WBO international welterweight title.

    The judges scored it 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110. The Associated Press scored it 119-109.

  • Rangers swap Kinsler for Fielder

     DETROIT (AP) — Less than two years after boldly signing Prince Fielder to a $214 million contract, the Detroit Tigers traded the slugging first baseman to Texas in another blockbuster move.

    Fielder was dealt to the Rangers on Wednesday night for second baseman Ian Kinsler. The Tigers agreed to pay the Rangers $30 million as part of the swap, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the amount of money exchanged was not revealed when the teams announced the trade. The $30 million is payable from 2016-20.

    "Obviously, a very exciting trade for us in adding Prince Fielder to the organization," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Also a tough trade to make in that Ian Kinsler's been with the organization since he was drafted in '03, and we've signed him here a couple of times. Been here, a catalyst for our World Series clubs, and a huge part of this. A winning guy, a heart-and-soul guy, and Detroit got a tremendous player and person."

    It's the first headline-grabbing move of baseball's offseason, and it involves two of the American League's top teams. Detroit has won three consecutive AL Central titles and reached the World Series in 2012, while Texas won the AL pennant in 2010 and 2011.

  • Panthers win on disputed no-call

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — As "Sweet Caroline" pumped through the stadium and playoff-starved Panthers fans dressed all in black celebrated a big victory, Tom Brady ran after an official in search of an explanation.
    Thrilling game, bizarre ending.
    Brady and the Patriots were miffed after a penalty flag that was thrown in the end zone on the final play was suddenly picked up and waved off Monday night, giving the Carolina Panthers a 24-20 victory over New England for their sixth straight win.
    Cam Newton led the Panthers 83 yards on 13 plays and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. with 59 seconds left to give the Panthers the lead.
    The Patriots had a chance at an improbable comeback when Brady moved New England to the Carolina 18 with 3 seconds left and fired into the end zone as time expired. Rookie safety Robert Lester intercepted the pass, but an official at the back of the end zone threw a flag for pass interference on linebacker Luke Kuechly, who had both arms wrapped around tight end Rob Gronkowski.
    The officials then gathered, however, and referee Clete Blakeman announced there was no foul on the play and the game was over.

  • College Football: The AP Top 25

    The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 16, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking:

  • AP Poll: The top 25 in college football

    The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 9, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking:

  • Young gun Riess wins poker title

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — A 23-year-old poker pro from Michigan won the World Series of Poker main event late Tuesday, claiming the $8.4 million title after pushing past his last opponent in a brief, dramatic match.
    Ryan Riess started out behind on Tuesday, but used cleverly varied play to seize and maintain a lead amid the unpredictability of no-limit Texas Hold ’em.
    On the last hand, 29-year-old Las Vegas club promoter Jay Farber went all-in with a Queen-Five. Riess, dealt an Ace-King, rightly suspected his opponent wasn’t holding much and called instantly.
    Riess backed into the stands to watch the cards turn, and won the championship with the arms of his girlfriend around his shoulders.
    Moments later, he kissed the diamond-encrusted championship bracelet he’s been chasing since he was 14 years old. After tearfully thanking his friends and family, he told reporters, “I just think I’m the best player in the world.”
    Riess came out sparring as the night began at the 1,600-seat theater at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino off the Las Vegas Strip.
    Farber started 19 million chips ahead, but Riess soon brought the score virtually even.
    The tide turned definitively about two hours in, when Riess took a 58.5 million chip pot with pocket Jacks.