Surgery on thumb may sideline O'Neal until January


Pro basketball

Shaquille O'Neal will have surgery on his broken right thumb and may be sidelined until January.

The 7-foot center who led the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals last season will be operated on today, a minor procedure to repair a piece of the bone in his thumb.

"He will be out of competitive basketball for approximately six to eight weeks after surgery," Dr. Richard Shure of the Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic said Wednesday after examining O'Neal.

O'Neal said his thumb was bent back flat Tuesday night when he was raked across the hand by Miami center Matt Geiger in the second quarter of the Magic's 106-91 exhibition victory.

"I'm mad about this," O'Neal said. "There is a difference between a hard foul and chop. Next guy that chops me, I'm going to show him some of my Shaq-Fu stuff."

Duckworth trade rescinded?: With Kevin Duckworth sidelined for a month after undergoing knee surgery, the Milwaukee Bucks said they would decide today whether to finalize the Oct. 18 trade with the Washington Bullets. The Bucks got Duckworth in a trade with the Bullets last week.


Astros owner McLane nears deal with Va. group

Businessman William Collins III reportedly is close to completing a deal to buy the Houston Astros and move the team to RFK Stadium next spring.

The Washington Post and ESPN reported that Astros owner Drayton McLane has agreed to sell the team to Collins' group of local investors, but the price is under negotiation. Collins, a telecommunications executive, said the team would play at RFK until a stadium is built in northern Virginia.

"An agreement in principle has been made," said George Barton IV, chairman of the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority. "There

has been a handshake."

Any deal would have to be approved by 10 of 14 National League owners and eight of 14 AL owners. Acting commissioner Bud Selig, speaking at the World Series in Cleveland, said McLane would have to get permission from the ruling executive council to sell to a group wishing to move the franchise.

Barrett wins lawsuit: Boston Red Sox team physician and part-owner Arthur Pappas was ordered to pay $1.7 million in damages to former infielder Marty Barrett, who claimed the doctor's negligence cost him his career. Barrett played eight years for the Red Sox before he was let go in 1990, a year after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee.


Agassi, Sampras breeze; Chang upset at Eurocard

Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras posted lopsided victories to reach the third round of the Eurocard Open in Essen, Germany.

Agassi whipped Jacco Eltingh of the Netherlands, 6-2, 6-4, while Sampras knocked off Stefan Edberg, 6-3, 6-2.

Michael Chang was among three seeded players to be upset, joining Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia and Wayne Ferreira of South Africa.

Et cetera

CFL's Pirates consider move to Norfolk, Va.

The Canadian Football League's Shreveport Pirates will move to Norfolk, Va., next season if the team is able to sell a sufficient number of season tickets, the team's owner said.

Lonie Glieberman, president and majority owner of the Louisiana team, said he would announce a season-ticket drive within two weeks. If enough tickets are sold, Glieberman said he expects to be in Foreman Field next season.

No baseball for Cooperstown: A committee that oversees historic Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y., has decided that the birthplace of baseball isn't a fitting place for a minor-league team.

The independent Northeast League is expanding from six to eight teams and wants to place a franchise in Cooperstown.

The idea was to have the team play at 9,800-seat Doubleday Field.

Williams takes Rochester: Walter Ray Williams Jr., the final player to qualify for match play, won four straight games to capture the Rochester (N.Y.) Open.

He defeated David Traber, 235-232, to win for 16th time in his career.

The quiz

Ageless wonders: The Cleveland Indians' Dennis Martinez can become the second pitcher in World Series history to win a game after turning 40. Who did it at 43 for the New York Giants in Game 5 of the 1933 Series? Hint: He won 194 games from 1914 to 1935 and was known as "The Pride of Havana." (Answer, 9D)

Quiz answer

Dolf Luque.

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