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Sports briefs
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NBA ALTERS FORMAT FOR ROOKIES-SOPHOMORES GAME: NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA has decided to try a new format for its All-Star weekend game featuring the league's top young talent.

The Rising Stars Challenge will feature teams comprised of both rookies and sophomores. TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal will serve as the general managers and conduct a draft on Feb. 16 to determine each team.

The rookies faced the sophomores in previous years.

The pool of players for this year's game on Feb. 24 in Orlando, Fla., will be announced on Wednesday. The head coaches will be the lead assistants from the All-Star game coaching staffs.

The NBA announced the details on Tuesday.

BILLUPS LOST FOR SEASON WITH TORN ACHILLES TENDON: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clippers guard Chauncey Billups will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his left Achilles tendon during Los Angeles' 107-102 victory over the Magic in Orlando on Monday night.

The team says an MRI on Tuesday confirmed Billups' injury.

Billups will return to Los Angeles on Thursday for further evaluation. The Clippers say a date for surgery hasn't been determined.

The five-time All-Star, whom the Clippers claimed off waivers in December, was averaging 14.9 points and 4.0 assists in 30.4 minutes per game this season.


RB RICKY WILLIAMS SAYS HE'S RETIRING FROM NFL: OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Baltimore Ravens running back Ricky Williams says he's retiring from football.

The 34-year-old Williams still has a year left on his contract with Baltimore, but told the team Tuesday that he does not intend to play next year.

After winning the Heisman Trophy with Texas, Williams broke into the NFL in 1999 with the New Orleans Saints. He had five 1,000-yard rushing seasons over 11 years.

This season, his first in Baltimore, he ran for 444 yards and scored two touchdowns as a backup to Ray Rice.

Williams led the NFL in 2002 with 1,853 yards rushing with the Miami Dolphins and made the Pro Bowl that season.

He retired previously before the 2004 season when facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy. He returned in 2005.


CONTADOR MAY STILL APPEAL DOPING BAN, WON'T RETIRE: MADRID (AP) — Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador says he may appeal the two-year doping ban handed down by sport's highest court.

Contador says he is "innocent" and has no plans to retire despite hinting previously that he might quit if banned.

He spoke a day after the Court of Arbitration for Sport stripped him of the 2010 Tour de France title. CAS rejected his claim that his positive drug test for clenbuterol was caused by eating contaminated meat.

Contador says his lawyers are examining whether to appeal.


KERSHAW AND DODGERS AGREE TO $19M, 2-YEAR DEAL: LOS ANGELES (AP) — NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers avoided a salary arbitration hearing next week, agreeing to a $19 million, two-year contract.

Tuesday's deal for the 23-year-old left-hander calls for a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $7.5 million this year and $11 million in 2013. It covers all but his final year of arbitration eligibility.

The agreement mirrors that of San Francisco's Tim Lincecum, who in his first time eligible for arbitration two years ago agreed to a $23 million, two-year deal.

Kershaw was 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts last year, winning the NL pitching triple crown. After making $500,000, he had asked for $10 million in arbitration and had been offered $6.5 million.


BIG TEN EXPLORING 4-TEAM PLAYOFF: Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis says his peers in the Big Ten are comfortable exploring the possibility of a four-team playoff for the national championship.

Hollis says keeping ties to the Rose Bowl is extremely important to athletic directors in the Big Ten and Pac-12.

The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that one of the ideas before the Big Ten would put the two semifinal games on the campuses of the higher seeded teams. The national championship game would be awarded to cities that bid for it.

The BCS title game pits the nation's top two teams based on poll and computer rankings.

The plus-one format -- two semifinals plus the title game -- was proposed in 2008 by the commissioners of the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference. It was shot down by the leaders of the Big Ten, Pac-10, Big East, Big 12 and Notre Dame.

AP SOURCE: MEMPHIS TO JOIN BIG EAST: Memphis is the latest school to sign up for a spot in the new Big East.

A person familiar with the decision says Memphis is joining the Big East. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an official announcement was pending.

Memphis Athletic director R.C. Johnson said the school is holding a conference call followed by a news conference Wednesday to discuss the university's athletic affiliation.

The Tigers will join the league for the 2013-14 season and compete in all sports, becoming the fourth Conference USA team to move to the Big East in the last two months, along with Houston, Central Florida and SMU. first reported Memphis was on the verge of joining the Big East.

The Big East is trying to replace basketball powers Syracuse and Pittsburgh and West Virginia, and create a football league with at least 12 teams. Syracuse and Pittsburgh are leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference and West Virginia is headed to the Big 12.