Thunder C Perkins out six weeks

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins underwent surgery on his left groin on Tuesday.

He is expected to miss approximately six weeks, which would keep him sidelined for almost the remainder of the regular season.

Perkins sustained the injury when he got tangled with Miami forward Shane Battier during OKC’s loss to the Heat last Thursday. An MRI exam confirmed that Perkins suffered a left groin strain.

The 11-year pro, who won a championship with the Celtics in 2008, has averaged 3.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 54 games for the Thunder this season.

Rookie Steven Adams started on Sunday against the Clippers and should remain in that role during Perkins’ absence. The 20-year old New Zealand native, who was drafted 12th overall out of Pittsburgh, is averaging 3.2 points and 4.2 boards.

UF downs Vandy for share of SEC title

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A five-plus minute field goal drought down the stretch found Florida’s program-record 19-game winning streak hanging in the balance.

But Dorian Finney-Smith drained a three-pointer with 30.6 seconds left and the top-ranked Gators secured at least a share of the SEC regular-season title with a 57-54 victory over Vanderbilt on Tuesday at Memorial Gymnasium.

Kyle Fuller answered Finney-Smith’s trey with a layup to cut the deficit to three points and Scottie Wilbekin missed the front end of a one-and-one with 10 seconds left to leave the door open for the home team.

However, following a timeout with 6.6 ticks to play, Fuller misfired on a trey and Dai-Jon Parker’s putback attempt was off the mark, allowing the newest top-ranked team in the country to escape unscathed.

Finney-Smith finished with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Patric Young added 12 points and seven boards to help the Gators (26-2, 15-0 SEC) continue their best start in program history.

Rod Odom paced the Commodores (15-12, 7-8) with 12 points, while Parker added 11 points and six rebounds in the loss.


LeBron expects to play Thursday against Knicks

MIAMI — Miami Heat forward LeBron James took part in the non-contact portion of practice Tuesday and expects to be in the lineup for Thursday’s game against the New York Knicks as he recovers from a broken nose.

James was hurt in the latter stages of last Thursday’s win over Oklahoma City when he was hit by Thunder forward Serge Ibaka on a drive to the basket. He sat out Sunday’s game against Chicago, but was back on the court with his teammates Tuesday.

"Everyday is getting better and better," said James on Tuesday. "I haven’t been hit on (the nose), so that helps. I feel like I should be well enough to go Thursday, but we’ll see. It’s only Tuesday, we have a lot of time."

The four-time MVP said he would "definitely" wear a mask if he plays against the Knicks.

Miami didn’t have much problem without James on Sunday, defeating the Bulls by a 93-79 margin to extend its winning streak to five games.

James owns team-highs with 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.5 assists in 52 games this season.

Knicks’ Felton arrested on gun charges

NEW YORK — New York Knicks guard Raymond Felton turned himself in to police early Tuesday morning on weapons charges.

According to multiple media reports, Felton has been charged with second- and third-degree criminal possession of a firearm, both felonies, and a third misdemeanor gun charge.

The New York Daily News said Felton turned himself in to a Manhattan precinct just before midnight, hours after the Knicks lost to the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden. He was scheduled for a court appearance Tuesday morning.

According to the New York Post, Felton pointed a gun at a woman.

New York City has strict gun possession laws and felony charges usually carry at least a year in prison.

MSU gives Dantonio raise, extra year

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State gave football coach Mark Dantonio an annual raise of $1.65 million and added one year to the five-year contract he signed in 2011.

The amended contract was announced on Tuesday by the university and increases Dantonio’s annual compensation from $1.99 million to $3.65 million.

Dantonio has led the Spartans to a school-record seven straight bowl games and is 64-29 in his seven seasons as coach.

Michigan State beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl last month — the program’s first BCS appearance — and ended the season No. 3 in the Associated Press poll.

Under the new six-year rollover contract, Dantonio’s base salary was increased from $682,905 to $2 million per year, his supplemental income from $869,000 to $1 million and a contingent annual base from $200,000 to $286,000. He receives $204,917 in benefits.

Panthers’ tackle Gross to retire

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Jordan Gross is expected to announce his retirement.

According to the club’s website, Gross will make it official at a press conference Wednesday.

Gross was selected by Carolina with the eighth overall choice of the 2003 draft and played his entire 11-year career for the Panthers. He started all 167 games he played and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection.

The 33-year-old Utah product started all 16 games last season, helping the Panthers to the NFC South title. He also earned his final Pro Bowl nod.

Gross started all 16 games in a season eight times during his career. He had his 2009 campaign cut short after nine games because of a broken ankle and missed one game in each of the 2008 and 2011 seasons.