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Shaquille O’Neal signs with the Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics signed Shaquille O’Neal on Wednesday, adding the 15-time All-Star center to a team needing his size with center Kendrick Perkins recovering from knee surgery that could sideline him until February.

The deal with the free-agent center is for two years and about $3 million, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said on condition of anonymity because no details were released.

O’Neal joins the other three big names — Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen — on a team that went to the seventh game of the NBA Finals before losing to the Lakers. Since then, Boston signed center-forward Jermaine O’Neal.

“I am honored to be joining the Celtics,” O’Neal said in a statement issued by the club. “I have played against Paul, Ray, Kevin, Rajon [Rondo], and Jermaine for many years and it will be great to be able to call them my teammates. I cannot wait to get to Boston to get started in pursuit of another championship.”

O’Neal has won four NBA titles, including three in row with the Lakers from 2000 to 2002. He was the most valuable player of the Finals for each of his three championships with the Lakers.

“It is not every day that you can add a player of Shaquille’s caliber to your team,” said Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations. “His past experience speaks for itself and we believe that he is a great fit for our roster.”

O’Neal, the top pick in the 1992 draft by Orlando, averaged 12.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 53 games for Cleveland last season. He is the fifth leading scorer in NBA history with 28,255 points and is 14th in rebounds with 12,921. He has averaged 24.1 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks a game.

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New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez, struggling to recover from a bout with mono, has withdrawn from the U.S. national team and will be replaced by Washington’s JaVale McGee.

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The Houston Rockets will play two exhibitions in China against the Nets, giving Yao Ming a chance to return to his home country. The NBA announced that the teams would play Oct. 13 in Beijing at the Wukesong Arena, site of the 2008 Olympic basketball competitions, then Oct. 16 at the new Guangzhou International Sports Arena.

FOOTBALL

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says testing players for human growth hormone is about the “integrity” of the game.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Goodell calls the issue an “important” element of ongoing collective bargaining talks between owners and players.

Goodell says he wants to add HGH testing to “ensure that we can take performance-enhancing substances out of the game.” He adds that the “only way to test for that, on any reliable basis right now, is through blood testing.”

The NFL has proposed having blood testing for HGH. The players’ union opposes it.

“It’s about making sure that we’re doing everything to protect our players and to protect the integrity of our game,” Goodell said.

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Calling it “the fair thing to do,” the Buffalo Bills released top pass-rusher Aaron Schobel, providing the veteran linebacker the opportunity to sign with another team or retire.

General Manager Buddy Nix formally announced the team had filed the transaction papers to the NFL after he spoke with Schobel earlier Wednesday. The move comes two days after Nix said the team was moving on without Schobel, who spent the offseason contemplating retirement.

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The Detroit Lions waited four-plus days to get Ndamukong Suh on the field, then wasted no time putting him on their first-string defense in his first practice.

Suh took a flight from Nebraska to Michigan on Wednesday, signed his contract, passed a conditioning test and joined his teammates for drills on a muggy afternoon.

“I’m happy to finally be out here,” he said. “I enjoyed it, knocking off the rust.”

The No. 2 pick overall in the NFL draft was greeted by chants of “Suuuuhhhh!” from fans as he walked on the practice field and was the center of attention for the next two hours. Suh didn’t report to training camp Friday and missed seven practices.

Suh’s five-year contract is worth $40 million guaranteed and as much as $68 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press.

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San Diego Chargers rookie linebacker Donald Butler will miss the season after sustaining an Achilles’ tendon injury.

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University of Pittsburgh defensive end Jabaal Sheard has been reinstated to the team after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct for a fight last month in which he threw a man through an art gallery’s glass door.

ETC.

Janko Tipsarevic took advantage of Sam Querrey’s mistakes and found his serve late to upset the sixth-seeded American, 7-6 (3), 6-3, in the second round of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington.

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Robert Allenby won’t play for at least three weeks after tearing ligaments in his right knee after slipping on the deck of his boat during a fishing trip to the Bahamas. He withdrew from this week’s Bridgestone Invitational and will not be able to compete next week in the PGA Championship.

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Prosecutors in Rio De Janeiro have charged Brazilian soccer player Bruno with ordering the murder of an ex-lover who allegedly was trying to prove he was the father of her young son, officials said.

Prosecutor Gustavo Fantini filed charges in the state court in Minas Gerais against Bruno Souza and eight others, Fantini’s office and court officials said.

Among those also charged are Bruno’s wife, Dayanne Souza, and another woman whom police say is the player’s lover.

Bruno was the goalkeeper and captain of Flamengo, Brazil’s most popular soccer team. He helped lead the club to a national championship last year.

Bruno allegedly ordered the kidnapping and killing of 25-year-old Eliza Samudio, who has been missing since June. Her body hasn’t been found.

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Midfielder Jermaine Jones has been included in the squad for the United States’ exhibition against Brazil on Tuesday, the first match for both nations after the World Cup.

Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore and Stuart Holden were omitted by U.S. Coach Bob Bradley, allowing them to remain in Europe ahead of the start of their league seasons. Jones was the lone newcomer.

The friendly will be played at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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Last-place D.C. United fired Coach Curt Onalfo and replaced him on an interim basis with assistant coach and former U.S. national team player Ben Olsen.


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