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The Sports Report: Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux heartbroken over torn ACL

Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux is loaded onto a cart with the help of a trainer.
Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux is loaded onto a cart with the help of a trainer and manager Dave Roberts after getting injured running to third base against the Padres during a spring training game on Monday.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Iliana Limón Romero, filling in for Houston Mitchell, who is probably working out his Dodgers starting lineup for the season opener. Let’s get right to the news.

From Jack Harris: PHOENIX — The Dodgers are in need of a new shortstop. Again.

Gavin Lux suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and it is expected to keep him out for the season, manager Dave Roberts announced Tuesday morning.

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Lux is scheduled to have surgery next Tuesday. It will be performed by the team’s head physician, Dr.<TH>Neal ElAttrache. Roberts said Lux’s recovery will take eight months and called it “a huge blow.”

“It’s heartbreaking, you know,” Lux said, fighting back tears while leaning on crutches at the team’s Camelback Ranch spring-training facility. “The hardest part is just not being able to be on the field.”

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ALSO:

Who could replace Gavin Lux? Four ways the Dodgers can fill the hole in their lineup

ANGELS

Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani warms up in between innings of a spring training game
Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani warms up in between innings of a spring training game against the Athletics Tuesday.
(Matt York / Associated Press)

From Sarah Valenzuea: MESA, Ariz. — Shohei Ohtani knew coming into spring training that one of his biggest challenges would be the pitch clock.

The Angels’ two-way star made his first appearance as a pitcher in a spring game Tuesday. He threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics, striking out two and walking two, without a clock violation in his 34 pitches.

Whether he could pitch within the allotted time limit — 15 seconds between pitches with the bases empty, 20 seconds with runners on base and 30 seconds between batters — was not a big concern for anyone around the team.

What manager Phil Nevin did consider was how the time limit would affect the intimidation factor Ohtani has on opposing batters.

“When you’re standing in the box and Nolan Ryan’s pacing around the mound,” Nevin said Sunday morning, the day after the Angels’ first spring training game, “you’re like, ‘Oh, hell, what’s he going to do next to me,’ right? I think Shohei has that presence about him.

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LAKERS

The Grizzlies' Xavier Tillman Sr. guards Laker Anthony Davis as he goes up for a shot
The Grizzlies’ Xavier Tillman Sr. guards Laker Anthony Davis as he goes up for a shot Tuesday in Memphis, Tenn.
(Karen Pulfer Focht / Associated Press)

From Dan Woike: MEMPHIS — Late in the first quarter, LeBron James emerged from the Lakers locker room with a baseball cap on backward and a knee-high walking boot on his right foot, the first tangible evidence of the grave situation the Lakers find themselves in during the NBA season’s final quarter.

No one is saying what the exact injury is, what the treatment plans are or even if a return this season can be assured, so the mystery swirls around James and what’s known is pretty limited.

He’s out now. No one can say for sure if or when he’ll be back.

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CLIPPERS

Timberwolves guard Mike Conley drives in front of Clippers forward Paul George
Timberwolves guard Mike Conley drives in front of Clippers forward Paul George Tuesday in Los Angeles.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

From Andrew Greif: With their steady stream of injuries, the nights off for rest and their consistently inconsistent lineups, the Clippers’ last five months were spent playing wait-and-see.

Yet five weeks before the postseason begins, time is running out for coach Tyronn Lue to decide the players he will rely on during the playoff push and, as a result, for the Clippers to decide who they will be.

By this time next week, the Clippers are expected to look different than they did in Tuesday’s 108-101 loss against Minnesota at Crypto.com Arena, a third consecutive loss that leaves them 33-31 and in sixth place in the West, one spot from falling into the play-in tournament.

The defeat underscored the need for what Lue called a self-imposed deadline to mix and match lineups two, and possibly three, more games before deciding which players remain in his regular rotation.

Settling on a rotation in March won’t preclude him from changes during April’s playoffs; Lue coaches by feel, and Minnesota coach Chris Finch called the Clippers’ ability to theoretically plug in an out-of-rotation veteran as a postseason adjustment a unique advantage. But just as Lue feels he owes it to his players to exhaust the options that work from those that don’t, it’s also his responsibility to create continuity. The Clippers were back to full health Tuesday after center Ivica Zubac returned from a two-game absence because of a strained leg.

Forget their championship aspirations — staying out of the play-in hinges on Lue finding the right combinations.

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SKIING

Backcountry skiiers (from left) to Al Preston, Matt Dixon, Matthew Testa and Andy Lewicky pose on Mt. Lukens.
Backcountry skiiers (from left) to Al Preston, Matt Dixon, Matthew Testa and Andy Lewicky pose on Mt. Lukens in Los Angeles County on Feb. 26.

From David Wharton: First came early weather reports, the forecasts of historic rain and snow headed for Los Angeles. Then came the storm itself, and by that time Andy Lewicky was too excited to sleep.

Checking the National Weather Service every few hours didn’t help. Lewicky kept scanning meteorologists’ Twitter feeds, hungry for any morsel of information he could spot.

“That way you can read the buzz as to how excited they are,” he said. “It’s hard not to get obsessed.”

The 55-year-old writer devotes himself to a peculiar hobby — discovering hidden spots for backcountry skiing in the mountains of drought-plagued Southern California. Could an epic cold front offer something truly extraordinary, an opportunity to charge down the slopes with a view of downtown in the distance?

Sunday morning, as sunshine finally broke through, Lewicky convened a group of like-minded friends at a McDonald’s in Tujunga for Egg McMuffins and eager chatter. Soon they headed up the road to nearby Mt. Lukens.

It was the first time any of the men, in their 40s and 50s, could recall seeing Lukens, a 5,000-foot peak at the city’s northeast border, blanketed in so much white. Strapping skis, boots and poles to their backs, they began a four-hour hike to the summit.

“All the pressures, the traffic and smog … L.A. is not an easy place to live,” Lewicky said. “When I get to experience skiing and snow in this desert home I’ve chosen, it’s a special thing.”

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HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

Sierra Canyon's Bronny James shoots the ball
Bronny James, pictured last month, scored 13 points in Sierra Canyon’s 84-47 dominant win over Taft on Tuesday night.
(Gregory Payan/AP)

From Luca Evans: A few hours before a Sierra Canyon-hosted Division I regional basketball opener that turned into a party for a road Taft crowd in Chatsworth, Toreadors coach Derrick Taylor picked up the phone, exasperated.

Some kid on campus, he explained, was buying tickets for Tuesday night’s clash against the Trailblazers and selling them for $25. By tipoff against Sierra Canyon, he had found out it was a freshman on his team.

“What can I say?” Taylor said. “Capitalism at its best.”

Everyone on campus was excited, as evidenced by the roars that went through Sierra Canyon’s gym after Bishop Brooks hit a three-pointer to open the game. Everyone was over the top. Taylor was not. This was a decorated coach with the benefit of hindsight at the days when he and Sierra Canyon coach Andre Chevalier had their battles in the City Section, he and former Cleveland coach Chevalier competing to attract the best kids in the San Fernando Valley.

So everyone walks into the gym against Sierra Canyon, Taylor said, and gets intimidated. Not him on this night. Not his reigning City Section-champion Toreadors. They would muck it up if the Trailblazers tried to play gritty or run with them if they tried to play fast.

“I’m just going to play it by ear, see whichever one of the styles that work,” Taylor said. “Now, if neither one of them work, yeah, s—, call 911. There’s an assault.”

After a back-and-forth first quarter, the sirens came in the second as Taft just couldn’t run with Sierra Canyon in transition, the Trailblazers shooting the lights out and dominating the paint en route to an 84-47 win.

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ALSO:

High school basketball: Southern California and Northern California Regional results and updated pairings

High school soccer: Southern California Regional results and updated pairings

KINGS

The Kings' Anze Kopitar celebrates his goal against the Jets with Drew Doughty in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Tuesday.
(Fred Greenslade/AP)

From the Associated Press: WINNIPEG, Canada — Anze Kopitar scored four goals in regulation and Adrian Kempe had the only score in the shootout as the Kings rallied to beat the Winnipeg Jets 6-5 on Tuesday night.

“We’d like to be on the other side of things and play with the lead, but sometimes you’ve got to come from behind. It feels good,” Kopitar said.

Kopitar, the Kings’ captain, had a natural hat trick in the second period. It was the 35-year-old’s sixth career hat trick and second time he has scored four times in an NHL game.

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THIS DATE IN SPORTS

Compiled by the Associated Press

1919 — Newsy Lalonde of the Montreal Canadiens sets a Stanley Cup Playoff record by scoring five goals in a 6-3 win against the visiting Ottawa Senators. The record is matched four times.

1934 — Primo Carnera retains his world heavyweight title with a unanimous 15-round decision over Tommy Laughren in Miami.

1948 — Top-ranked NYU, the nation’s only unbeaten basketball team, is upset by Notre Dame 64-59 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. In a game with 17 lead changes, the Fighting Irish hold Dolph Schayes to nine points and Kevin O’Shea scores 18 for Notre Dame.

1955 — Allen Fieldhouse, home of the Kansas Jayhawks, hosts its first basketball game and the Jayhawks beat rival Kansas State 77-66.

1969 — Tuesdee Testa becomes the first female jockey to win a race at a major American Thoroughbred track when she rides Buz On to victory in the third race with at Santa Anita Park.

1973 — Robyn Smith becomes the first woman jockey to win a stakes race when she rides North Sea to victory in the Paumonok Handicap at Aqueduct Race Track in New York.

1981 — Calvin Murphy of the Houston Rockets misses a free throw in San Antonio, ending his NBA record consecutive free throw streak at 78.

1983 — Tamara McKinney becomes the first American woman skier to win the overall World Cup championship.

1987 — The Boston Celtics becomes the first NBA franchise to post 2,000 victories when they beat the Detroit Pistons 112-102.

1988 — Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers becomes the NHL’s all-time assist leader, breaking the longtime mark of Gordie Howe. In his ninth season, Gretzky picked up assist No. 1,050 in a game against the Los Angeles Kings.

1991 — Pat Day becomes the sixth jockey in history to earn $100 million in purses when he rides Wild Sierra to a second-place finish in the first race at Oaklawn Park.

1996 — Atlanta’s Lenny Wilkens becomes the first NBA coach to reach 1,000 career victories as the Hawks beat Cleveland 74-68.

1997 - Puerto Rican boxer Héctor Camacho stops Sugar Ray Leonard in 5th round in Atlantic City, NJ to retain IBC middleweight title; only time Leonard’s is KO’ed and sends him into permanent retirement

2000 — With 26-year-old rookie Dean Barker at Black Magic’s helm, New Zealand sails into America’s Cup history, becoming the first country other than the United States to defend the oldest trophy in sports.

2001 — Jackie Stiles of Southwest Missouri State becomes the NCAA career scoring leader in women’s basketball, running her career total to 3,133 points with 30 in Southwest Missouri State’s 94-59 victory over Creighton.

2014 — Jaromir Jagr becomes the seventh player to score 700 NHL goals during New Jersey Devils’ 6-1 victory over the New York Islanders.

2015 — Kiley McKinnon and Mac Bohonnon give the United States its first ever World Cup title double in aerials skiing. McKinnon becomes the first U.S. woman to win the World Cup since Nikki Stone in 1998, while Bohonnon was the first American men’s winner since Jeret “Speedy” Peterson in 2005.

And finally

The Times Sports staff earned a grand slam in the prestigious Associated Press Sports Editors awards for the third consecutive year. Watch this video about the Savannah Bananas that earned general excellence in video honors.

The Savannah Bananas, a minor league baseball club, went on their first ever “World Tour” this year, taking their unique brand of baseball to various cities across America.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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