THUNDER'S HARDEN UNDERGOES TESTS AFTER CONCUSSION: OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Thunder forward James Harden underwent tests Monday following his concussion in the previous day's game against the Los Angeles Lakers and will be re-evaluated on Tuesday.
Harden participated in limited activities on Monday but must go through additional steps under the NBA's concussion policy before he is cleared to play again.
Harden dropped to the ground after taking a vicious backward elbow to the head from Metta World Peace after the Lakers' forward had dunked over two Thunder players late in the second quarter of Los Angeles' double-overtime win Sunday.
World Peace, who claims he accidentally clipped Harden while celebrating the dunk, faces discipline from the NBA as the regular season winds down and the Lakers prepare to open the playoffs this weekend.
SAINTS DENY ESPN REPORT ALLEGING EAVESDROPPING: NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints are denying an anonymously sourced ESPN report alleging that general manager Mickey Loomis' booth was wired so he could listen to opposing coaches' radio communications during games in the Superdome.
ESPN could not determine if the system was ever used. The report on Monday's "Outside the Lines" says Loomis would have been able to eavesdrop on opponents from 2002 to 2004. The report says the system was disabled in 2005, when the Superdome was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Saints spokesman Greg Bensel calls the report "1000 percent false." Bensel says the Saints and Loomis "are seeking all legal recourse" following the report.
FBI spokeswoman Sheila Thorne says the agency's New Orleans office is aware of the allegations, but wouldn't comment further.
BEARS SIGN FORMER 49ER G CHILO RACHAL: LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears have signed guard Chilo Rachal (CHEY'-lo RAY'-shell) to a one-year contract.
The 6-foot-5, 323-pound Rachal started 38 games over the last four seasons for the San Francisco 49ers, who selected him in the second round out of Southern California in 2008. He appeared in 55 games overall for the 49ers.
ARKANSAS HIRES JOHN L. SMITH AS INTERIM COACH: FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Eager to move on from the Bobby Petrino scandal, Arkansas announced Monday that popular former assistant John L. Smith will return as head coach of the Razorbacks next season.
Smith, who left the Razorbacks after last season to become the head coach at Weber State, will be formally introduced on Tuesday. The school said Smith signed a 10-year, $850,000 contract and will also be eligible for other incentives.
Smith's return caps a whirlwind three weeks for an Arkansas program reeling in the wake of revelations of an affair by Petrino with a woman, Jessica Dorrell, he later hired as his assistant. Petrino also once gave his Dorrell $20,000 in gifts — all which was revealed following an April 1 motorcycle crash on a rural road southwest of Fayetteville. Dorrell has since resigned.
MIGHT BE NO WRITTEN DECISION IN BRAUN: NEW YORK (AP) — There may never be a written decision explaining why Ryan Braun's drug suspension was overturned.
The arbitrator who threw out the 50-game suspension of the NL MVP has been asked by the players' union and management to hold off giving his reasoning while they negotiate changes to their rules for collecting specimens, people familiar with the case told The Associated Press.
If players and owners reach agreement on the changes, the Feb. 23 decision by arbitrator Shyam Das to overturn the penalty for the Milwaukee outfielder could be allowed to stand without any written explanation, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the process is designed to be confidential.
Baseball's labor contract says there should be a written decision within 30 days of an arbitrator's ruling. It appears management has no interest in a decision detailing how collection procedures weren't followed and the union has no interest in getting an explanation of a decision many believe let Braun off on a technicality.
IVAN RODRIGUEZ BACK IN TEXAS, THIS TIME TO RETIRE: ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Ivan Rodriguez is back in Texas again. This time, the 14-time All-Star catcher is retiring.
Rodriguez, who briefly returned to the Rangers three years ago, formally announced his retirement Monday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. It came nearly 21 years after the fan favorite known as Pudge made his major league debut as a 19-year-old with the Rangers.
Rodriguez played the first 12 of his 21 seasons with Texas. He played for five other teams and returned to Texas for the final few weeks of the 2009 season.
Rodriguez was part of the Rangers' first three AL West titles in a four-year span in the late 1990s. He later appeared in two World Series, with the champion Florida Marlins in 2003 and Detroit in 2006.
RAYS IN DISCUSSIONS WITH HIDEKI MATSUI: ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays would like to bolster their depth at designated hitter and in the outfield and have had discussions with free agent Hideki Matsui.
If signed, Matsui likely would receive a minor league contract and be sent to extended spring training before reporting to Triple-A Durham.
The 37-year-old has played nine major league seasons for the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics.
Matsui appeared in 141 games for the A's in 2011, batting .251 with 12 homers and 72 RBIs. He's a .285 career hitter with 173 homers and 753 RBIs.
Luke Scott is Tampa Bay's primary left-handed designated hitter. Matsui potentially could provide manager Joe Maddon with another option against right-handed pitching.