2014 file/Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press
Muhammad Ali’s hospitalization might be more serious than his previous illnesses.
Boxing great Muhammad Ali is hospitalized in the Phoenix area with what two people familiar with his condition say may be more serious problems than his previous hospital stays. The people told the Associated Press on Thursday Ali is fighting respiratory issues that are complicated by the Parkinson’s that he was diagnosed with in the 1980s. A spokesman for Ali, 74, sent out a release saying the former heavyweight champ is being treated at an unidentified hospital for a respiratory issue. Bob Gunnell said Ali was in fair condition, and that a brief hospital stay was expected.
Hornacek to coach Knicks
The New York Knicks hired former Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek on Thursday to take over for interim coach Kurt Rambis. Phil Jackson picked Hornacek, who went 101-112 in 2½ seasons in Phoenix before he was fired Feb. 1 with a 14-35 record, to inherit a Knicks team that finished 32-50 last season . . . Dwayne Casey and the Toronto Raptors agreed to a three-year, $18 million contract extension. Terms of the new deal kick in next season . . . Former NBA D-League player and St. John’s star Rysheed Jordan was charged in Philadelphia with attempted murder, robbery and other counts after police say he shot another man during a robbery attempt on May 27.
Briles speaks out after firing
Former Baylor football coach Art Briles said he has not seen the school-commissioned report on Baylor’s handling of sexual assault allegations, but assumes it supports a conclusion already drawn by the board of regents, which fired Briles last week. The report stated that school leadership, including football coaches and staff, inappropriately handled allegations of sexual violence made by students, some against football players . . . The Tennessee-Virginia Tech game will be played at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. Organizers hope the game at the 150,000-seat NASCAR track breaks the college football attendance record of 115,109 set at Michigan Stadium for Michigan-Notre Dame in 2013.
Cyclist withdraws over Zika
American cyclist Tejay van Garderen withdrew his name from consideration for the road cycling team over concerns about the Zika virus. His wife is pregnant . . . After winning the 100 meters at the Golden Gala meet in Rome, Justin Gatlin said he will compete in Rio de Janeiro Sunday. The American sprinter should return for the Olympics in August, and is not worried about Zika. Also, Almaz Ayana ran the second fastest 5,000 meters of all time at the Golden Gala, crossing in 14:12.59 — just short of fellow Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba‘s eight-year-old world mark of 14:11.15.
Russia bobsled hiring dubious
Olympic gold medalist Alexander Zubkov was named the new head of the Russian bobsled federation despite allegations of doping ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where he won two gold medals . . . Turkish boxer Adem Kilicci and Russian cyclist Yekaterina Gnidenko were provisionally suspended after doping samples from the 2012 London Olympics came back positive in retesting.
Dodgers won’t face discipline
Major League Baseball did not find a violation after the Mets questioned how the Los Angeles Dodgers were using a laser range-finder to set defensive positioning in the outfield before a game, and whether they were marking the field for shifts.
Messi testifies in tax case
Lionel Messi testified that he had no knowledge of the tax issues that led to fraud charges against him during the third day of his trial Thursday, saying he signed documents without reading them because he trusted his father and the advisers responsible for managing his finances . . . Neymar is set to renew his contract with Barcelona, club director Robert Fernandez said.
Federerpreps for Wimbledon
Roger Federer will return from a back injury to play at the grass-court tournament in Stuttgart next week in preparation for Wimbledon . . . Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl tight end Gary Barnidge underwent surgery for a sports hernia but should recover in time for training camp in July . . . The New York Islanders agreed to terms on a $16.75-million, five-year contract extension with forward Casey Cizikas. . . . Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist jogged one lap around Pimlico, his first time on a track since finishing third in the Preakness on May 21. The colt had been limited to walking after he dropped out of the Belmont because of an illness.