Friday’s Sports In Brief

December 24, 2022 GMT


WASHINGTON (AP) — Alex Ovechkin scored his 801st and 802nd goals to pass Gordie Howe for second on the NHL career list and the Washington Capitals beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 on Friday night.

Ovechkin scored into an empty net with a minute left to set off a wild celebration by teammates and a standing ovation from the crowd, which chanted “Ovi! Ovi!”

After beating Winnipeg Jets goaltender David Rittich in the first period to match Howe, Ovechkin almost reluctantly scored on a no-look empty-netter from just inside the blue line with a minute left to pass “Mr. Hockey.”

Teammates leapt off the bench in celebration and the arena goal counter flipped to 802. A video tribute from Howe’s son, Hall of Fame defenseman Mark, followed.

Gordie Howe died in 2016 at age 88.


THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Aaron Donald is unlikely to return to the Los Angeles Rams’ defense this season.


Donald will miss his fourth straight game with a high ankle sprain Sunday when the Rams host Denver.

Coach Sean McVay admitted his seven-time All-Pro lineman and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year isn’t expected to play in the final two meaningless games of the Rams’ disastrous Super Bowl title defense.

The 31-year-old Donald had never missed a game due to injury in his NFL career before this disappointing end to his ninth season. He has a career-low five sacks in 11 games.

DALLAS (AP) — A judge has ordered Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to take a paternity test as part of a legal dispute with a 26-year-old woman who claims the billionaire is her biological father.

A Texas judge issued the order for genetic testing Thursday in a paternity case brought by Alexandra Davis, who previously alleged in a separate lawsuit she was conceived from a relationship Jones had with her mother in the mid-1990s.

Attorneys for Jones did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but said in court filings that they intend to appeal the decision.

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL and NFLPA have determined spotters assigned to watch players for concussions were aware New England wide receiver DeVante Parker had a possible head injury on Dec. 12 and they were in position to prevent him from playing.

After reviewing the incident in a game against the Cardinals, the league and the players’ union said the spotters never had to ask the officials to remove Parker for a concussion evaluation because Arizona threw a challenge flag to stop play.


The review was initiated because it appeared Parker may have been permitted to participate in the subsequent play without a concussion evaluation. The parties said Friday in a joint release that the game-day concussion checklist was followed.

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Jets wide receivers coach Miles Austin has been suspended by the NFL for a minimum of one year for violating the league’s gambling policy.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed the suspension, which Austin is appealing. McCarthy added the league would have no further comment until the appeal is resolved.


The former NFL receiver did not coach in the Jets’ 19-3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night. Austin’s attorney and agent William P. Deni Jr. said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press that Austin did not gamble on football.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay guard Elgton Jenkins signed a contract extension that assures the Packers won’t lose one of the NFL’s most versatile offensive linemen to free agency.

Terms weren’t disclosed, but a person familiar with the situation says Jenkins received a four-year extension with a base value of $68 million that could go up to $74 million. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn’t been announced at the time.


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anthony Davis is out indefinitely with a stress injury in his right foot, the Los Angeles Lakers confirmed.

Davis missed his fourth straight game Friday night when the Lakers hosted Charlotte. He was injured last week during a win over Denver when he landed awkwardly underneath the basket.


The Lakers provided no clarity on the specific nature of Davis’ injury or a timetable for his return, saying only that updates “will be provided when appropriate.” Davis missed more than half of Los Angeles’ games due to various injuries over the previous two seasons.


CHICAGO (AP) — Drew Smyly is staying with the Chicago Cubs, agreeing to a $19 million, two-year contract.

Two people familiar with the negotiations confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract was pending a successful physical.

Smyly has an opt out after the 2023 season. The left-hander will make $8 million next year and $8.5 million in 2024. There is a $10 million mutual option for 2025 with a $2.5 million buyout.

The 33-year-old Smyly went 7-8 with a 3.47 ERA in 22 starts for Chicago this year.

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired one of the top prospects in baseball, adding catcher Gabriel Moreno and veteran outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in a swap that sent slugger Daulton Varsho to the Toronto Blue Jays.


The 22-year-old Moreno made the majors last year with the Blue Jays, hitting .319 with a homer in 69 at-bats. The 29-year-old Gurriel is a five-year veteran who hit .291 with five homers and 32 doubles last season. The Blue Jays get the versatile Varsho, who was arguably the best player on the Diamondbacks last season. The 26-year-old Varsho hit a career-high 27 homers. He’s an excellent defender in the outfield who also has the ability to play catcher.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Outfielder Michael Conforto has agreed to a $36 million, two-year contract with the San Francisco Giants, a deal that includes an opt out after the first season, a person with direct knowledge of the pact said.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract is pending a successful physical. Conforto missed all of last season following right shoulder surgery.

The Giants lost out on shortstop Carlos Correa earlier in the week when a concern with his surgically repaired right ankle arose during the medical evaluation process. Correa’s $350 million, 13-year deal fell through, and he agreed instead with the New York Mets on a $315 million, 12-year contract.


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The woman who called police to report a family violence assault by Texas basketball coach Chris Beard said Beard did not strangle her and she never wanted him arrested or prosecuted.

Beard was suspended indefinitely without pay after his Dec. 12 arrest on a felony charge of strangling his fiancee, Randi Trew, who lives with him. In a statement sent to The Associated Press by her attorney, Randy Leavitt, Trew said she is “deeply saddened” by the incident and said Beard was acting in self-defense from her.