The Washington Wizards will start the season without their backup center and highest-paid free agent acquisition, Ian Mahinmi. On Saturday, the team announced that the center underwent surgery Friday night for a partially torn medial meniscus in his left knee.
Mahinmi, who signed a four-year, $64 million contract over the summer, is expected to miss approximately four to six weeks. The most optimistic timeline of recovery puts Mahinmi back into action after his 30th birthday (Nov. 5) and at the minimum, nine games into the regular-season schedule (Nov. 12, when Washington will play at Chicago).
According to coach Scott Brooks, Mahinmi said his knee was bumped while playing in Thursday night's preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers. By the next morning, the soreness persisted so Mahinmi had an MRI exam and the results led the team to schedule surgery. "He was really starting to play well with his defensive rim protection," Brooks said.
Mahinmi's absence creates a void in the front-court depth as the team must turn to 7-footer Jason Smith as the primary backup to starting center Marcin Gortat. Power forward Andrew Nicholson will be in the mix, and big men Daniel Ochefu, a rookie from Baltimore, and Johnny O'Bryant — both of whom have partial, nonguaranteed deals — might also become viable options considering that Washington will have only two legitimate centers (Gortat and Smith).
Needing healthy bodies and looking to give their struggling special teams units a boost, the Ravens on Saturday promoted undrafted rookie free-agent inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor from the practice squad to the active roster. Onwuasor, a converted safety out of Portland State who impressed team officials with his physicality in training camp, is expected to play today when the Ravens (3-2) play at the New York Giants (2-3). To make room for Onwuasor on the 53-man roster, the Ravens waived Billy Turner, the offensive lineman they had claimed off waivers from the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday.
— Jeff Zrebiec
Men's college soccer: Top-ranked Maryland (11-0-2, 6-0-1) claimed the Big Ten championship outright and the top seed in the conference tournament when Michigan State lost, 1-0, in double overtime at Penn State on Saturday night. The Terps had earned a share of the title Friday night with their 3-2 overtime win over visiting Wisconsin (7-3-2, 3-2-1); sophomore Eryk Williamson scored the game-winner in the 98th minute, and senior Alex Crognale had two goals, including the equalizer in the 88th minute. ... Freshman Brian Saramago scored two goals in the opening 16 minutes to help first-place Loyola Maryland (6-5-2, 4-0-1 Patriot League) to a 2-1 win over visiting Lehigh (4-8-1, 1-4). The Greyhounds extended their unbeaten streak to seven games. ... Zack Rockmore scored in the 90th minute to give visiting Bucknell (5-8-2, 2-2-1 Patriot) a 2-1 victory over Navy (3-7-3, 0-4-1).
Women's college soccer: Freshman Cadie Higginson scored the winning goal in the 106th minute to help visiting Navy (7-8-3, 3-2-1 Patriot) to a 4-3 win over Colgate (5-7-3, 2-4).
Men's college cross country: Sophomore Nicolas Fransham (North Harford) finished first in the Delaware State Pre-Conference Run in Smyrna, covering in the 8-kilometer course in 25 minutes, 56.50 seconds, two seconds ahead of North Carolina A&T's Darren White.
Women's college cross country: UMBC senior Sophia Cologer (Broadneck) placed third overall in the Princeton (N.J.) Invitational, completing the 6-kilometer course in 21:24.8, cutting five seconds off her 13th-place time from a year ago at Princeton. Senior Chelsea Vane (Mount Hebron) was the Retrievers' second-place finisher, in 30th in 22:14.
Men's college basketball: Bowie State was picked to finish third overall in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and third in the Northern Division, according to preseason rankings released by the league. Virginia State and Virginia Union are predicted to finish first and second, respectively.
Women's college basketball: Bowie State was picked to finish seventh overall in the CIAA and fourth in the Northern Division, according to preseason rankings released by the league. The preseason team included Bulldogs junior guard Kiara Colston and sophomore guard Kyah Proctor and Lincoln sophomore guard Teira Pendleton (Poly).
Making his second start in two weeks off a 10-month layoff, Maryland homebred Showalter swept to the lead at the top of the stretch and won Saturday's featured ninth race at Laurel Park by 4 3/4 lengths.
Harness racing: The Maryland Horse Council will host Evening at the Races on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington. The night will include racing, a tour of the track, a dinner overlooking the finish line and guest speakers, including driver Corey Callahan and thestable.ca creator Anthony MacDonald. Tickets cost $35 for council members and $50 for others. For more information, go to rosecroft.com.