NBA fines Clippers for comments regarding Leonard

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - The NBA fined the Los Angeles Clippers $50,000 on Thursday for statements made by coach Doc Rivers and others that were "inconsistent" about Kawhi Leonard's health.

Leonard sat out a 129-124 home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, the second time he's missed the nationally televised front end of a back-to-back this season. He had 27 points and 13 rebounds in a nationally televised 107-101 win over Portland on Thursday night.

"I'm disappointed. He's my coach and I'm on his side," Leonard said of the fine. "I'm not a doctor, but we're going to do what's best for me to be healthy so I can play basketball games. I can't read too much into it."

The NBA initially confirmed the Clippers were compliant with league rules in resting Leonard because of a knee injury. It was what Rivers said before the game that in part triggered the fine.

"He feels great," Rivers said Wednesday. "But he feels great because of what we've been doing, and we're just going to continue to do it. There's no concern here."

Rivers cited "a lot of minutes" that Leonard racked up last season while leading Toronto to its first NBA championship.

"I think Kawhi made a statement that he's never felt better," Rivers said. "It's our job to make sure he stays that way."

Less than 24 hours later, the NBA fined the Clippers for statements, including those by Rivers, that were inconsistent with Leonard's health status while also detailing his knee injury. At the same time, the league reaffirmed the team was in line with NBA rules in sitting Leonard.

"The team has reasonably determined that Leonard is suffering from an ongoing injury to the patella tendon in his left knee and has been placed by the team at this time on an injury protocol for back-to-back games," the league's statement said.

PRO BASEBALL

HOUSTON (AP) - Astros president Reid Ryan is shifting to a lesser role in the organization and owner Jim Crane's son is joining the executive team, moves announced 11 days after Crane apologized to a Sports Illustrated reporter and retracted a statement by the club accusing her of trying to "fabricate a story."

Crane said Thursday he was bringing in his son, Jared, to get more experience and to help in the organization. Crane maintained the moves were not related to the incident with SI or the firing of an assistant general manager.

NEW YORK (AP) - Milwaukee Brewers slugger Christian Yelich won his second straight Silver Slugger award, Major League Baseball announced Thursday.

Yelich, the 2018 Most Valuable Player, is joined in the National League outfield by Ronald Acuna of Atlanta and Cody Bellinger of Los Angeles.

PRO FOOTBALL

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The elusive black cat from "Monday Night Football" is still on the run.

MetLife Stadium officials said the search for the fleet feline that briefly delayed the nationally televised game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys on Monday night has been unsuccessful.

The search started on Tuesday morning with multiple humane traps being stationed in the stadium. After that came up empty, stadium officials asked PuppykittyNYCity - a trap, neuter, release and no-kill shelter - for help.

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - The Browns may have major issues at several positions. Center isn't one of them.

Steady JC Tretter, who endeared himself to teammates by playing much of last season with a severely sprained ankle, has agreed with Cleveland on a three-year, $32.5 million contract extension, a person told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Tretter will receive $23 million guaranteed, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been finalized. An announcement could come Friday, the person said.

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