early report: midfielder's death natural
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A coroner said signs pointed to "an apparent natural death" pending results from toxicology tests and on other tissue after an autopsy performed on Columbus Crew midfielder Kirk Urso on Monday.
Urso, 22, was pronounced dead at 1:50 a.m. Sunday at Grant Medical Center after collapsing at a downtown Columbus bar and restaurant.
Franklin County Coroner Jan Gorniak said toxicology tests will be finalized in four to six weeks.
"It's leaning toward an apparent natural death, but we don't know why," Gorniak said.
She said the autopsy revealed no trauma to Urso's body, and no blood clots. In addition to toxicology tests, the coroner's office will also take a closer look at what Gorniak referred to as "heart changes."
Urso played in six games with the Crew and was rehabbing from a groin injury sustained in May. He did not travel to the game at D.C. United on Saturday night.
No labor deal is no cause for concern
The NHL and the NHL Players' Association can agree there's more than enough time to reach a new labor deal even though the union has yet to submit a counteroffer with less than six weeks left before the current collective bargaining agreement expires.
"I don't think time's running out yet," Players' Association executive director Don Fehr said from Barcelona, where he met with about 40 players. "I still think if the parties are dedicated to it, there's sufficient time to reach an agreement."
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly concurred.
"While time is getting shorter, we continue to feel there is sufficient time to reach a deal before Sept. 15," Daly wrote in an email to the Associated Press.
Fehr has already proposed having talks continue beyond the deadline and having the season open without disruption under the current system.
Negotiations will resume today at league headquarters in New York. Fehr is expected to be back at the table by as early as Wednesday.
Kings keep Smart through 2013-14
Keith Smart is getting the closest thing he has ever had to a long-term deal as an NBA coach.
The Kings extended Smart's contract through the 2013-14 season. His deal had been set to expire after the upcoming season.
Smart, 47, took over for the fired Paul Westphal in January after a 2-5 start. The Kings went 20-39 the rest of the way under Smart during the lockout-shortened season.
"I'm excited to continue this process with the Kings," Smart said. "We're trying to get our franchise moving in the right direction."
Sacramento has missed the playoffs six straight years.
The Warriors decided not to extend Smart's contract last year after he replaced Don Nelson before training camp and led the franchise to a 36-46 record — a 10-game improvement from the previous season. Smart also was the Cavaliers' interim head coach for the final 40 games in 2003.
Smart, a former Indiana University guard best known for hitting "The Shot" against Syracuse to win the 1987 NCAA title, is 65-116 as an NBA head coach. He already has built a strong relationship with Kings players, notably volatile big man DeMarcus Cousins, and gained the backing of the Maloof family that owns the team.