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PRO BASKETBALL

BULLS: Guard Jay Williams was transferred to Duke University Medical Center, where he will continue rehabilitation for career-threatening injuries to his knee and pelvis. He was released Wednesday from Illinois Masonic and flown to Durham, N.C., his family said in a statement.

He has made "substantial improvements" in the two weeks since his motorcycle crash, and agent Bill Duffy said Williams took a step last weekend with the help of a physical therapist.

"It is very positive," Duffy said. "We're all praying diligently, and Jay has a great outlook. He's making progress, and we're all very excited."

Williams, a former Duke star and college player of the year, bought a new motorcycle June 12. One week after its purchase, he slammed into a pole on Chicago's North Side, putting his career in jeopardy. He had surgery twice to repair a broken pelvis and has damaged ligaments in his left knee. He will have knee surgery at Duke, Duffy said.

While Williams' basketball future is uncertain, Duffy said he hopes the No. 2 pick in the 2002 draft will play again someday, possibly as early as the 2004-05 season. "I think it's in God's hands," Duffy said. "That's what we're hoping for."

HAWKS: The league suspended Glenn Robinson three games without pay after he was convicted of pushing and threatening his ex-fiancee. The suspension will begin with Atlanta's first game of the 2003-04 season. Robinson was found guilty in May of domestic battery and assault against Jonta French in her Chicago Heights home. He was sentenced to one year probation and ordered to undergo anger management counseling and complete five days' service in a work program run by the Cook County Sheriff's office.

LAKERS: Free agent Karl Malone met with general manager Mitch Kupchak on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported. Malone, who has spent his 18-year career with the Jazz and turns 40 next week, and Kupchak discussed scenarios that could have Malone finish his career with the Lakers. Kupchak also has spoken to the agents for free agents Gary Payton, Juwan Howard and P.J. Brown.

MAVERICKS: First-round draft pick Josh Howard, 29th overall, signed a three-year contract. According to the 2003-04 rookie scale, his deal would be worth about $2.1-million. The 6-foot-6 Howard was a first team All-American and the Atlantic Coast Conference's player of the year as a senior at Wake Forest.

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