Friday’s Sports In Brief
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Durant will miss at least two weeks with a fractured rib on his right side, joining fellow All-Stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the injury list for the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
An MRI exam Friday for the NBA Finals MVP revealed the incomplete fracture, and the Warriors said Durant would be re-evaluated in two weeks. Durant said he got hit in the ribs at Minnesota last Sunday and initially thought it was just a bruise, but he was sore the next couple of days. He played Wednesday night against the Lakers and felt it again when he hustled to close out on the wing and “felt something stretch and pull.”
“It was a little sore the next couple of days but not something I was worried about,” Durant said before Golden State’s 98-93 loss to Sacramento.
He worked out Thursday and it took him longer to loosen up. By Friday morning, he experienced significant discomfort. It’s an injury Durant has never had previously.
“Hopefully it gets better in the next week or so and see what happens,” said Durant, who missed time down the stretch last season with a left knee injury before a dazzling postseason to capture his first career title. “Just recovery, no procedure and see how it feels. It’s a different type of pain than I’ve felt before so I didn’t really know what it was and I’m just glad I got it looked at.”
Curry missed his fourth straight game Friday after re-injuring his troublesome right ankle. He will be re-evaluated Tuesday, while Thompson has a fractured right thumb and will be examined again next Thursday.
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Daria Kasatkina upset Venus Williams 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 to reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open.
Naomi Osaka made much quicker work of top-ranked Simona Halep, routing her 6-3, 6-0 in 64 minutes to set up a final between two 20-year-olds on Sunday.
Kasatkina was two points from defeat, trailing 4-5 and 0-30 in the third set when Williams committed four straight errors as the Russian tied it at 5-all.
Williams won just two more points as Kasatkina took the last two games to close out the match in 2 hours, 48 minutes. Kasatkina dropped her racket near the baseline and covered her face with her hands as she walked to the net.
Osaka put away Halep on her third match point when the Romanian netted a backhand.
Ranked 44th, Osaka opened the tournament by beating Maria Sharapova in the first round. She beat No. 31 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 5 Karolina Pliskova on her way to the final, dropping just one set in six matches.
DENVER (AP) — The Nashville Predators didn’t break out the bubbly or anything rowdy like that after becoming the first NHL team to clinch a playoff spot this season.
“Business as usual,” defenseman Ryan Ellis said of the low-key celebration that included some pizza. “Back to work.”
Colton Sissons and Filip Forsberg each scored twice, backup goaltender Juuse Saros stopped 33 shots and the Predators secured their postseason berth by beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Friday night.
The streaking Predators are 13-0-1 in their last 14 games and haven’t lost in regulation since Feb. 17 against Detroit.
“The guys knew with a win tonight we would clinch and I think they fought hard for it,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “I really liked our game tonight.”
Starting goalie Pekka Rinne was given the night off after helping Nashville to a win Thursday at Arizona. The team didn’t miss a beat with Saros in net.
Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog had the goals for a Colorado team that returned home after earning two straight road wins, including Thursday in St. Louis. The loss snapped Colorado’s string of nine straight games with a point. The squad still remains in the thick of the playoff chase.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Sam Bradford has arrived in Arizona, acknowledging his difficult history with injuries but saying he feels fine now as he prepares to start at quarterback for the Cardinals under new coach Steve Wilks.
“There has been, definitely, some dark times,” Bradford said at his introductory news conference. “You fight through that process and every time you turn that corner and you’re able to get yourself back on the field. I feel like I’ve come back mentally tougher and mentally stronger than I was the time before.”
The Cardinals called Bradford’s deal a two-year contract, although the second is a club option. He can earn up to $20 million next season, with $15 million guaranteed.
Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, is known for his strong and accurate arm, but he has struggled with injuries.
After being named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010, Bradford tore his left ACL in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He was traded to Philadelphia in 2015.
Bradford signed with Minnesota in 2016 and started 15 games, completing 71 percent of his passes for 3,877 yards and 20 touchdowns with five interceptions. But he missed most of last season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
“I feel good right now,” he said. “Obviously, last year was difficult, but after the procedure I had in November I was able to rehab and get myself back in position to play and was able to suit up the two playoff games in Minnesota.”