Former United States president Barack Obama wished Zion Williamson a "speedy recovery" after the top NBA prospect hurt his knee.

Teenage sensation Williamson – who is expected to be selected with the number one pick in the NBA Draft – injured his knee in Duke's 88-72 loss to North Carolina on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old lasted less than a minute of the game before his Nike sneaker ripped and he fell to the floor, grabbing his leg and not returning after heading to the locker room.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters post-game that Williamson suffered a mild knee sprain but there was no timetable for his return. 

"We're very concerned about Zion," he said. "It's a mild knee sprain. We will know about length of time tomorrow. It's stable. Obviously it has an impact. You lose the NPOY on the first play."

Obama, who was in attendance at Cameron Indoor Stadium, offered his best wishes to Williamson via Twitter.

"Zion Williamson seems like an outstanding young man as well as an outstanding basketball player," Obama wrote. "Wishing him a speedy recovery."

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James also used social media to reach out to Williamson.

Williamson is a contender for the Naismith College Player of the Year award as he is averaging 22.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in his freshman season.


Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James held his breath for Zion Williamson after the top NBA prospect suffered a knee injury

Duke star Williamson left Wednesday's matchup against North Carolina inside a minute and did not return midweek.

The 18-year-old freshman suffered the injury while dribbling toward the basket about 40 seconds into the game when his Nike sneaker ripped.

Williamson fell to the floor and grabbed his leg before heading to the Duke bench and then the locker room.

NBA great James reacted on social media, writing via Twitter: "Hope young fella is ok! Literally blew thru his [shoe]."

Williamson has been one of the best players in college basketball this season and he is expected to be selected with the number one pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Defending champion Diego Schwartzman became the latest seed to exit the Rio Open, while John Isner had no trouble at Delray Beach on Wednesday.

Schwartzman trailed his first-round clash against 2016 champion Pablo Cuevas 6-1 4-1 when the Argentine fourth seed retired due to a leg injury.

The ATP 500 event saw multiple upsets in the opening round, with Schwartzman becoming just the latest seed to fall.

Of the eight seeds, only one – Joao Sousa – managed to reach the second round, with Dominic Thiem among the casualties.

It has left the draw wide open and Aljaz Bedene, qualifier Hugo Dellien, Jaume Munar and wildcard Felix Auger-Aliassime moved into the quarter-finals.

Bedene beat wildcard Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4, qualifier Dellien was too good for Roberto Carballes Baena 7-5 6-4, Munar battled past Cameron Norrie 7-6 (8-6) 5-7 7-6 (7-4) and Auger-Aliassime defeated Christian Garin 7-5 6-4.

Taro Daniel joined Cuevas in the second round after a 3-6 6-3 6-2 win over wildcard Thiago Seyboth Wild.

The Delray Beach Open has seen fewer shocks and that continued as Isner was one of three seeds to move into the last eight.

Isner sent down 18 aces in a 6-4 6-3 victory against Lukas Lacko, who won just one point against the American's first serve.

Adrian Mannarino is next for Isner after the Frenchman overcame Denis Istomin 6-2 7-6 (7-3).

Andreas Seppi and Dan Evans will meet in the quarter-finals after wins over Jordan Thompson and Lloyd Harris respectively.

Duke star Zion Williamson suffered a knee injury during his team's clash against North Carolina on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old freshman was dribbling towards the basket about 40 seconds into the game when his sneaker ripped.

Williamson fell to the floor and grabbed his leg before heading to the Duke bench. He then went to the locker room.

Duke later announced Williamson would not return.

He has been one of the best players in college basketball this season and is expected to be selected with the number one pick in the NBA Draft.

He entered the matchup averaging 22.4 points and 9.2 rebounds while shooting 68.3 per cent from the field.

Koke said the VAR will give Alvaro Morata a goal "one day" after the Atletico Madrid forward had his header ruled out by the video assistant referee in the Champions League victory over Juventus.

Morata thought he had opened his Atletico account in Wednesday's 2-0 last 16 first-leg triumph at home to Juventus in Madrid, however, the VAR intervened in the second half.

The 26-year-old, who was denied by the VAR in the LaLiga derby loss to Real Madrid on February 9, headed past Wojciech Szczesny and celebrated passionately but a review found he had pushed Giorgio Chiellini.

Morata is yet to score since arriving from Premier League side Chelsea on an 18-month loan deal last month and asked about the Spaniard post-match, Atletico midfielder Koke told reporters: "In the end, VAR will one day give Morata a goal.

"He has scored two goals that have been cancelled. If they cancel it, sometimes it is a goal and sometimes it is not. You have to respect the decisions. We respect the referees and we continue with the dynamic of trying to win games and score more goals in case they are cancelled."

Defensive duo Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin were the unlikely goalscorers for Atletico at Wanda Metropolitano.

Atletico were unfortunate not to end the match with a greater advantage after Diego Costa spurned a golden opportunity early in the second half and Antoine Griezmann saw his shot pushed onto the crossbar by Szczesny.

"Very happy for the victory but there isn't anything done," Koke said. "We know about Juventus' quality, their potential... they're one of the best teams in the world. We are happy with the result but nothing is decided yet. It is gonna be a great battle in Turin, like a war. We'll need a perfect game to get through.

"Juventus are one of the best in the world, and you should never presume an Italian team dead, and neither Juventus. We are going to try to compete, to make a perfect game, as we did today, to be able to get through"

It proved to be a frustrating evening for former Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who was seen gesturing during and after the match.

Ronaldo held up his hands to indicate the five Champions League titles he has won – four with Madrid and one with Manchester United – on the pitch and when he walked through the mixed zone.

"On the field I did not see anything," Koke added. "Maybe he was greeting someone. If you have five Champions League titles, then congratulate him. We cannot say anything else either."

Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving labelled free agency speculation generated from a video with Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant as "bull****".

Irving was seen talking to Durant in the tunnel at the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte last week, prompting rumours the pair could team up with the New York Knicks next season.

Both Irving and Durant can become free agents at the end of the current campaign and the pair have been linked to the Knicks.

Celtics star Irving was noticeably agitated when answering questions about his discussion with Durant.

"It's my life, right?" Irving told reporters on Wednesday. "It's two people talking, having a conversation. If this was the real world, would it be anybody else's business? It's a video of somebody assuming what we're talking about. So why would I care about it? Why are you asking me those type of questions?"

"C'mon man, you do it for the likes and clicks, everybody does," Irving added. "Everybody wants to hear me talk like this. Everybody wants to actually talk about bull****. video though? To pour water on [speculation]? Makes no sense. It's not real life. Not real."

"That's where we started the conversation, what I do in my life is my business," he continued. "So it's none of yours, none of anybody's business, right? So it's a video of me and one of my best friends talking. And then it turns out to be a dissection of a free agency meeting?"

The Celtics have had an up-and-down season and entered the All-Star break fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 37-21 record. 

Irving addressed the team's inconsistency, telling ESPN: "It's been a trying year for us. We basically have a bunch of young men in our locker room who feel like they're capable of doing a lot more than they're doing. And that's OK, but there's a maturing that you have to have. There's a professionalism that you have to showcase every single day, and that's what the great ones do.

"I initially didn't play the minutes I wanted to play. I'm 26 years old, heading into my prime, like, why do I have to wait for anybody? [Terry Rozier] played in the playoffs. He did extremely well. Coming back, that's a natural competition that me and him have.

"It is what it is. No one wants to say it, but I will. You know, [Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum], all these guys, it's part of their growth. When you have winning in mind, you've gotta understand that. You gotta do what it takes, but you gotta understand your team-mates."

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri defended Cristiano Ronaldo after the forward's subdued display in a 2-0 loss to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

Late goals from Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin gave Atletico a deserved win in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Ronaldo had just one shot on target – of Juve's three – and Godin's goal deflected in off him in the 83rd minute.

But Allegri backed the 34-year-old's performance and said the clash would be beneficial heading into the second leg in Turin on March 12.

"Ronaldo played a good game," he told a news conference.

"He is confident with these kinds of matches. He was not bad at all.

"We missed all the second half as a team. And this match will be useful looking forward to the second leg."

Thomas Tuchel said Paris Saint-Germain were not at their best, despite Wednesday's crushing Ligue 1 victory against Montpellier.

PSG ran riot in a 5-1 rout at home to Montpellier in Paris, where the French champions extended their lead atop the table to 15 points.

Angel Di Maria's stunning free-kick was the pick of the lot for PSG, with Kylian Mbappe, Layvin Kurzawa and Christopher Nkunku also on target, while Hilton turned the ball into his own net.

Despite the comprehensive win in the French capital, PSG head coach Tuchel was not completely satisfied post-game.

"We found more space in attack and made it hard for Montpellier to run with the ball," Tuchel told reporters.

"It was a question of patience and of quality. A little bit of luck too. But we pressed well, we scored two goals in the game and then we had a lot of chances.

"We were a little careless defensively. Honestly, it wasn't our best game. We weren't aggressive enough, not close enough to the ball.

"But we were dangerous in attack and the victory is well deserved."

Meanwhile, Montpellier boss Michel Der Zakarian added: "When you do not finish the actions, they punish you, they are talented players. We should have led the game.

"We do not fight in the same category as PSG but it is painful to concede five."

LeBron James is ready to try to lead the Los Angeles Lakers into the NBA postseason, with the superstar relishing the challenge.

The Lakers (28-29) entered the All-Star break three games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

But, three-time champion James – who has made 13 straight playoff appearances – said he is not panicking ahead of Thursday's clash with the Houston Rockets.

"I enjoy the challenge of anything," James told reporters on Wednesday. "I enjoy being uncomfortable. I enjoy being counted out…

"I'm an African-American kid from Akron, Ohio, [and from] a single-parent household. Basketball is nothing compared to how I made it out.

"This is just basketball, and I know I'm ready for the challenge."

James signed a four-year, $153.3million contract with the Lakers in the offseason. He is averaging 26.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists in his first season in Los Angeles.

"I'm all about being uncomfortable," James added. "I love being uncomfortable. I fall in love with being uncomfortable. This is another uncomfortable thing for me, and I love it."


Massimiliano Allegri insisted his side are "not dead yet" following a 2-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash.

Juve were downed by two late strikes from Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin and had earlier been spared by a VAR decision that denied Alvaro Morata a goal against his former club.

With Juve facing an uphill struggle to reach the quarter-finals ahead of the second leg in Turin next month, Allegri claimed his side had been forced to play badly by their hosts.

"The second half was ugly, as we made the mistake of going after them," he told Sky Sport Italia. "Atleti are very good at letting a game go by without a shot on goal.

"We had already risked ourselves on a breakaway and lost a ball, but the fact is that in the second half we did not have a shot on goal. Atleti came out much more aggressively on set plays and caught us by surprise.

"Now we have the chance to turn this around. We must have faith, we'll have some players back and there's no point crying over spilt milk.

"We knew it was going to be tough, that Atletico Madrid force you to play badly, with a slow tempo. We moved the ball quicker in the first half, but not in the second.

"We got the approach wrong in the second half. It's that simple.

"These things can happen, there will be great disappointment after this, but we can turn it around. It won't be easy, we need a great second leg, but it can be done and we must have faith.

"We're not dead yet, we weren't dead after losing 3-0 at home to Real Madrid [in the group stage], let alone now we've got the second leg at home.

"It's important to maintain the focus, organisation and keep our heads, because everything can be overturned.”

The second leg is scheduled to be played on March 12.

Cristiano Ronaldo responded to Juventus' loss against Atletico Madrid by reminding everyone he had won the Champions League five times, while the Spaniards are yet to lift the trophy.

The former Real Madrid forward experienced an unhappy return to the Spanish capital as Diego Simeone's Atletico claimed a 2-0 first-leg lead in their round-of-16 tie on Wednesday.

At one point during the game, Ronaldo responded to the predictable heckles he received at the Wanda Metropolitano by holding up his hand to indicate the number of Champions League titles he had won – four with Madrid and one with Manchester United.

And Ronaldo reiterated that figure when he breezed through the post-match mixed zone after the match.

"I won five Champions Leagues and these guys zero," he told reporters while holding up his hand.

Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson believes Manny Machado might have made a mistake by reportedly joining the San Diego Padres in a record-breaking deal.

Star MLB free agent Machado reportedly signed a record 10-year, $300million contract with the Padres on Tuesday, despite interest from the White Sox.

Anderson was asked if four-time All-Star Machado "missed the boat" by signing with San Diego over Chicago.

Th 25-year-old told reporters: "He might have. But we're going to keep rolling.

"You know, you can ride with us or don't. ... We couldn't care less who's on the boat with us. We know who all is on the boat with us and we know which way we're going to sail."

Anderson – a three-year veteran – slashed .240/.281/.406 in 153 games last season. He also hit 20 home runs and tallied 64 RBIs.

Meanwhile, White Sox manager Rick Renteria said the team had to "quickly move on from" Machado's decision.

"We wish him the best, but I think our guys are preparing with each other," Renteria said. "Everybody that's in that room is doing what we need to do to put ourselves in a better position as an organisation, as a club."

The White Sox finished 2018 with a 62-100 record and missed the playoffs for a 10th straight season.


LaLiga has denied president Javier Tebas is a candidate for the vacant Premier League chief executive role in England.

Tebas has emerged as a potential replacement for Richard Scudamore, who departed the Premier League in December last year.

The 56-year-old was appointed LaLiga president in 2013, and Tebas looks set to remain in Spain.

Responding to speculation, LaLiga said in a statement: "We are not aware of this supposed interest.

"That said, if a competition as important as the Premier League is taking note of the work being done by LaLiga, including its president, clubs and employees, it is a source of pride for the entire organisation.

"Javier has a contract with LaLiga and not only is he happy here, he also has responsibilities and challenges which occupy his full attention.

"This includes the changing broadcast landscape and battling the threat of new competitions – including format changes that put domestic leagues at risk."

Diego Simeone said he was trying to show Atletico Madrid's fans that his side had "cojones" when he celebrated a goal in the 2-0 Champions League victory over Juventus by clutching his own crotch.

The Atleti coach enthusiastically responded to Jose Gimenez's 78th-minute opener, after Alvaro Morata had seen a goal ruled out by VAR.

Diego Godin added a second for the LaLiga club at the Wanda Metropolitano to leave Juve with an uphill struggle to make it into the quarter-finals.

Simeone pointed out that he had celebrated in a similar fashion during his playing days but apologised to anyone who may have been offended.

"I did it as a player in Lazio-Bologna and I did it again to show our fans that we have cojones," he told Sky Sport Italia. "It wasn't aimed at the other team, I was turning towards our own supporters.

"It's not a nice gesture, I'll admit, but I felt the need to do it. It was such a tough game, we fought so hard and Diego Costa worked really hard when he wasn't 100 per cent fit. I had to show what I was feeling.

"I can only apologise if anyone was offended, but I did it from the heart."

Atletico Madrid finished second to Borussia Dortmund in their group, losing 4-0 in Germany before a 2-0 victory on home soil.

"We had put in a great performance against Borussia Dortmund," added Simeone. "We got important players back like Koke and Costa, we were able to play an intelligent game against a huge team with very strong players.

"We had to make the most of every situation we could get. It's a very good result.

"We know that we are facing a great team, a great club and great champions in Turin. We fully expect to suffer in the second leg."

The second leg is scheduled to be played on March 12.

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