JUNIOR cleared TO RACE AT DAYTONA
Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose NASCAR season was cut short by a concussion, has been cleared to return to racing, starting with the Daytona 500 in February, Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday.
Earnhardt was cleared after a test session Wednesday at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.
"I feel great, and I'm excited to officially be back," Earnhardt said in a statement. "I expected things to go really well, and that's exactly what happened. Actually getting in a race car was an important final step, and it gives me a ton of confidence going into 2017.
"I'll do more testing in January to help knock the rust off. When it's time to go to Daytona, I'll be ready."
Earnhardt, 42, also had two concussions in 2012.
He missed the final 18 races of last season after sustaining a concussion at Michigan International Speedway.
76ers snap 23-game road losing streak
Ersan Ilyasova scored 23 as the visiting 76ers snapped a franchise record-tying 23-game road losing skid, beating the Pelicans 99-88. The Pelicans are the first team to lose at home to the Sixers since Jan. 20, when the Magic fell to Philadelphia. … Former Florida standout Bradley Beal scored 26 as the host Wizards took advantage of 29 Nuggets turnovers to win 92-85. … DeMar DeRozan had 27 points as the host Raptors handed the Timberwolves a 124-110 loss. … Former FSU star Toney Douglas hit two free throws in the closing seconds as the host Grizzlies held off the Blazers 88-86. … A lawyer for a couple who claim Kings players Matt Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins assaulted them Monday at a New York nightclub said they will rely on videotapes, medical reports and witnesses to prove they were attacked. "We don't believe a crime was committed," said Alex Spiro, the attorney representing both players.
Two stripped of medals for doping
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said a Russian boxer and Romanian weightlifter will lose medals from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after failing doping tests at the Games. Misha Aloian won a flyweight silver medal, and Gabriel Sincraian won bronze in the men's 85-kilogram weightlifting. … IOC president Thomas Bach said Russian athletes and officials who are proven to have been part of a doping "manipulation system" should be banned for life. He gave his view one day before investigator Richard McLaren publishes a report into alleged state-backed cheating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
Tennis: Former top player Kathy Rinaldi was named the U.S. Fed Cup team's new captain. She succeeds Mary Joe Fernandez, the U.S. Tennis Association announced. Fernandez stepped down in October.
Soccer: Manchester United, which is owned by the Glazer family that also owns the Bucs, won for the first time in 10 away games in Europe and advanced to the Europa League knockout stage by beating Zorya Luhansk 2-0 in Odessa, Ukraine.
Golf: Steve Stricker teamed up with Jerry Kelly to take a first-round lead in the Franklin Templeton Shootout in Naples. The duo shot 16-under 56 in the scramble format for a one-stroke lead.