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Venus Williams will sit out rest of season because of knee injury

Venus Williams will sit out the rest of the 2010 tennis season, including the Fed Cup final between the United States and Italy next month, because of a nagging knee injury.

Williams has not played since the U.S. Open, where she lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Kim Clijsters.

She was to due to play in the China Open this week but withdrew because of her knee problems, raising doubts about her chances of playing in the Fed Cup final and the WTA Championships.

“I am very disappointed to announce that I will be unable to play in the season-ending WTA Championships and Fed Cup final,” she said in a statement.

“I have been getting treatment and therapy on my knee and have been making progress but unfortunately must continue to keep weight off my knee for the short term and won’t be ready to return to competition in 2010.”

BASEBALL

Cardinals exercise option on Pujols

The St. Louis Cardinals exercised a $16-million club option for 2011 with three-time National League MVP Albert Pujols.

Pujols, 30, led the NL with 42 home runs and 118 runs batted in, and he tied Matt Holliday for the team batting lead at .312.

The team has said there is no timetable for beginning negotiations on a long-term deal with Pujols, who can be a free agent after next season.

HORSE RACING

Oak Tree racing washed out

Wednesday’s racing at the Oak Tree meet at Hollywood Park was canceled because of excess water on the synthetic track. The Inglewood area received an estimated 1 1/4 inches of rain in about an hour Wednesday, leading to excess water on the Cushion Track, which resulted from a large overflow in the stable area.

Oak Tree director Sherwood Chillingworth said the decision was made to cancel after consulting with trainers and jockeys, some of whom walked the surface to inspect it. He says the track will seek a makeup day from the California Horse Racing Board.

Racing is scheduled to resume Thursday.

BASKETBALL

Baylor player’s girlfriend wants assault charge dropped

The girlfriend of Baylor basketball star LaceDarius Dunn denied that he broke her jaw and said she wants authorities to drop an aggravated-assault charge against him for what she called an accident.

Lacharlesla Edwards, 21, also pleaded with Baylor Coach Scott Drew to reinstate the Bears’ leading scorer.

“He has never struck me during our long-term relationship,” Edwards said in a statement issued through her attorney, Jason Darling.

Dwyane Wade, who left the Miami Heat’s exhibition game Tuesday because of a hamstring injury, will not play in the team’s exhibition games this weekend and could be out for up to two weeks.

Coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade’s injury will be reevaluated in a week.

SOCCER

Red Sox’s owners have deal to buy English team Liverpool

New England Sports Ventures, the company that owns the Boston Red Sox, reached an agreement to buy the financially hobbled English Premier League soccer club Liverpool for $477 million.

Most — if not all — of the money would cover the debts run up by current Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr., who are expected to challenge the deal in court.

ETC.

Westwood plans to play limited U.S. schedule

England’s Lee Westwood said he will not take up PGA Tour membership next year and will play in the United States only in the majors, World Golf Championships events and occasional tournaments around them.

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Japan’s Jumbo Ozaki, who won more than 100 tournaments and led the Japan Golf Tour money list 12 times, was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Former U.S. national pro cycling champion Kirk O’Bee was given a lifetime suspension after a second doping offense.

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Shelly-Ann Fraser of Jamaica, the world and Olympic champion in the 100 meters, was suspended for six months after testing positive for the drug oxycodone at the Diamond League meet May 23 in Shanghai. Fraser, who was provisionally suspended by the IAAF in June, will be eligible to return in January.

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The Detroit Red Wings sent veteran forward Kirk Maltby to Grand Rapids (Mich.) of the American Hockey League.

The Edmonton Oilers loaned veteran defenseman Sheldon Souray to Hershey (Pa.) of the AHL.

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The International Luge Federation said it plans to make all of the changes requested by a Canadian coroner to improve the sport’s safety after Georgian racer Nodar Kumaritashvili’s fatal crash at the Vancouver Olympics in February.

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Chris Dahowski, one of four local swimmers on a relay team that attempted four consecutive channel crossings from points in the South Bay to Catalina Island, completed the fourth and final leg of the swim from the island to Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro on Wednesday.

A spokesman confirmed that Dahowski, 43, of Valencia had reached shore after the nearly 20-mile swim. Asked by phone how he felt, Dahowski said, “Tired.”

The group, which intended to raise money through the swim in support of Jay Nolan Community Services, a foundation that serves those with autism and other developmental disabilities, was attempting four consecutive channel crossings, which hadn’t been accomplished in the history of open-water swimming.

That attempt was intact after David Hartmire, 49, of Newhall completed the first leg of the swim, from the mainland to the island, which he began at noon Monday.

But on the second leg of the relay, Michael Vovk, 43, of Castaic, who was swimming from Catalina to the mainland, had to be pulled out of the water after a nearly eight-hour battle against difficult waters and seasickness. Vovk was reportedly in good condition, but disappointed he couldn’t make it.

The third swimmer, Jen Schumacher, 25, of Irvine, completed her leg of the relay, as did Dahowski.

— Baxter Holmes

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