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Virus will keep Nadal out of Australian Open

– Just when Rafael Nadal had recovered from a knee injury, a stomach virus has delayed his return to tennis by a couple of months.

Nadal announced Friday he will miss next month’s Australian Open and probably won’t play again until the end of February. The Spaniard said he needs time to recover from the virus that already prevented him from coming back this week at Abu Dhabi.

Nadal has been sidelined since June with a knee injury, which forced him to miss the London Olympics and U.S. Open.

He had planned to rejoin the ATP tour at the Qatar Open in Doha next month before the Jan. 14-27 Australian Open, but pulled out of both.

While he is expected to recover from the virus in time for the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, Nadal and his team said he wouldn’t have the proper preparation for a five-set event.


Indians sell television rights

Cleveland sold its regional TV sports network. Fox Sports Media Group announced it has acquired SportsTime Ohio, the Cleveland-based regional sports network held by Indians owners Paul and Larry Dolan. No financial terms were released.


Spartans guard will transfer

Michigan State guard Brandan Kearney decided to transfer. Coach Tom Izzo said Kearney came back from Christmas break and told him he was going to try to find a place where he could play a larger role. The 6-foot-5 Kearney is averaging 2.3 points and 16.9 minutes for the Spartans this season.


Nevada coach plans to retire

Nevada coach Chris Ault is retiring after 28 seasons leading the Wolf Pack and changing the way teams play offense. Ault is the winningest coach in school history with a record of 233-109-1. His most famous contribution came late in his career, when he invented the pistol offense in 2005, a scheme now employed by hundreds of teams at every level. The pistol formation has the quarterback in a short shotgun formation with a running back lined up directly behind him.

Texas, Oklahoma suspend players

Texas suspended two players and sent them home on the eve of the Alamo Bowl, hours after police said they were investigating a report of a sexual assault at a San Antonio hotel. Coach Mack Brown did not identify the players, but he referred to a KENS-TV report that police were investigating two unidentified Texas players in the alleged assault. Texas (8-4) plays Oregon State (9-3) in today’s game at the Alamodome. …

No. 12 Oklahoma suspended defensive tackle Stacy McGee after he was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol on Christmas Eve. The Sooners (10-2) play No. 10 Texas A&M (10-2) in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 4.


Djokovic cruises into title match

In Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, top-ranked Novak Djokovic routed David Ferrer 6-0, 6-3 to reach the final of the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament. Djokovic will face Spain’s Nicolas Almagro in the final. A last-minute replacement for Rafael Nadal, Almagro rallied from a set down to beat Janko Tipsarevic 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the second semifinal.