Anthony Davis doubtful for Olympics

Anthony Davis
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans have decided to shut down All-Star forward Anthony Davis for the rest of this season, and his future with U.S. Olympic team for this summer’s Rio Games is in doubt as well.

The team announced Sunday that Davis will soon undergo procedures to repair a recent knee injury, as well as a torn labrum in his left shoulder that has bothered him for much of the season.

With New Orleans virtually eliminated from playoff contention, coach Alvin Gentry said the club is taking a long-term approach to Davis’ injuries and that shutting him down now should ensure his return by next training camp.

Gentry said Davis, who was not available to speak with reporters on Sunday, is disappointed, but added, “He’s a smart kid and he understands that it’s better to go ahead and any problems that you have, you get them taken care of now and you’ve basically got seven months before training camp starts again.”

“That gives you a big window to do whatever you have to do and move forward with it,” Gentry added.

Davis left New Orleans’ previous game — a loss to Portland on Friday night — shortly before halftime with a left knee injury that appeared to be caused by a collision with Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum and Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday while Davis was setting a screen.

Gentry said Davis has been playing with his shoulder injury nearly the entire season, during which he averaged 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 61 games, and received his third straight Western Conference All-Star selection.

Asked if Davis’ injuries would prevent him from playing for the United States in the Summer Olympics, Gentry responded, “That I don’t know, but if I was a betting man, probably so.”

Davis, a fourth-year pro who turned 23 this month, has embraced opportunities to represent the United States in international competitions. He was a reserve for the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the London Games in 2012. When Team USA won the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Davis emerged as one its top players, ranking third on the team in scoring with 12.3 points per game, second in rebounds with 6.6 and first in blocks with 2.1.

New Orleans spokesman Matt Ryan said the team wasn’t ready Sunday evening to announce a precise diagnosis on Davis’ left knee. Davis was expected to discuss his health and offseason plans after Monday’s scheduled practice at team headquarters.

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”