The Baltimore Sun

Phelps cancels speech at IBM event in Las Vegas


Olympic champion Michael Phelps canceled plans to attend and speak yesterday at an IBM conference in Las Vegas, reported, and representatives for the Fells Point resident said he, not the company, made the decision. "Michael is concentrating on swimming this week," CNBC said a spokesman from Octagon, Phelps' management company, told the media outlet. Phelps is serving a three-month suspension from USA Swimming after a photo of him presumably smoking marijuana was published in a British tabloid. IBM announced in October that Phelps would be a guest speaker at the IBM Pulse 2009 Conference, organized by the company for its employees and business partners.

New deal gives Parcells freedom to leave Dolphins


Bill Parcells' escape clause with the Miami Dolphins was expanded before the sale of the team was completed last month, and he can now leave at any time and collect the balance of the $12 million due him under a four-year contract. The contract Parcells signed a year ago gave him a 30-day window to depart with full pay if the team was sold. Outgoing owner Wayne Huizenga said yesterday that he removed the window before completing the sale of the team Jan. 20 to Stephen Ross. Parcells has said he plans to remain as executive vice president of football operations through at least the 2009 season.

Aikman: : Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman says he has passed his two final college courses and will graduate in June from UCLA - 20 years after he left for the NFL. The Dallas Morning News reported yesterday that Aikman, 42, is getting a bachelor's degree in sociology and will participate in UCLA's graduation ceremonies.

Steelers: : Wide receiver Hines Ward underwent minor shoulder surgery this week but apparently will not need an operation to repair the right knee he injured during the AFC championship game against the Ravens.

Vonn has surgery for cut suffered over bubbly


American Lindsey Vonn underwent surgery yesterday to repair a tendon in her right thumb that she severed when she grabbed a damaged champagne bottle while celebrating her downhill victory at the world championships in Val d'Isere, France, the day before. The U.S. team anticipates that Vonn, who has already won two gold medals at the worlds, will compete in the slalom Saturday and possibly the giant slalom tomorrow. After the accident Monday night, the team doctor put in four stitches at the hotel to close the wound. She later left to see a specialist near Innsbruck, Austria, and underwent surgery.

Sixers' Brand to need 6 months to recover

et cetera

Philadelphia 76ers forward Elton Brand will need six months of recovery on his surgically repaired right shoulder and should be ready for the start of the 2009-10 season. "He's got a 95 percent chance of returning as good as he is or was before," said Brand's surgeon, Dr. Craig Morgan. Morgan repaired the torn labrum in Brand's right shoulder Monday.

All-Star weekend: : Cavaliers point guard Mo Williams was chosen by commissioner David Stern to replace Raptors forward Chris Bosh, who will miss the game because of a sprained right knee. ... The Nuggets' J.R. Smith will replace Memphis' Rudy Gay in the slam-dunk contest. Gay (Archbishop Spalding) pulled out because of a strained left hip. ... Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant and O.J. Mayo, a favorite for this season's award, highlight the field for a H-O-R-S-E competition during All-Star Saturday night. Hawks guard Joe Johnson is the other competitor.

College basketball: : Travel costs will not play a larger role in determining this year's NCAA tournament pairings than they have in the past. Selection committee chairman Mike Slive said during a conference call that though the committee is sensitive to the economic climate, it has a responsibility to provide balanced brackets for the NCAA's marquee event, which begins in mid-March.

NHL: : Controversial left wing Sean Avery is resuming his hockey career with the New York Rangers' affiliate in Hartford, hoping to return to the NHL. The Dallas Stars assigned Avery to the American Hockey League team yesterday and he practiced with the Hartford Wolf Pack in the morning. Avery, 28, hasn't played since his NHL suspension in December for making a crude remark about other hockey players dating his former girlfriends.

More NHL: : Patrick Marleau, Milan Michalek and former Boston captain Joe Thornton scored in a 6:16 span of the third period to rally the visiting Sharks (37-7-7) to a 5-2 victory over the Bruins (39-9-7) in a matchup of the NHL's top two teams. ... Blues forward Paul Kariya underwent surgery on his right hip, a little more than a month after an operation to fix his left hip. Kariya hasn't played since Nov. 5 and is likely out for the season. ... Bruins forward Michael Ryder will be sidelined for up to three weeks as he recovers from surgery to repair a broken face bone.

Boxing: : Antonio Margarito's boxing license was revoked for at least one year by the California State Athletic Commission for the illegal wraps discovered on the former welterweight champion's hands before his loss last month to Sugar Shane Mosley. The commission's decision effectively bans Margarito from boxing in the U.S.

Stadiums:: An executive with the group that oversees the Louisiana Superdome and New Orleans Arena warned lawmakers the state must find $27.5 million next year to fulfill contracts that keep the Saints and Hornets in New Orleans.

Field hockey: : Keli Smith (Maryland) scored in the U.S.'s 6-0 victory over Mexico to reach the semifinals of the Pan American Cup in Hamilton, Bermuda.

College football: : West Virginia wide receiver Jock Sanders has been suspended indefinitely after his arrest on a drunken driving charge in Morgantown.

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