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NBA roundup: Union chief Hunter placed on leave

The SportsXchange

The NBA Players Association has placed executive director Billy Hunter on an indefinite leave of absence.

Union lawyer Ron Klempner will be named acting executive director, the players association announced. Hunter was informed of the decision Friday morning, ESPN.com reported.

The union also said it is forming an interim executive committee and advisory committee made up of five members of the executive board in the wake of an independent investigation of the union's business practices under Hunter.

Hunter has come under fire for his management decisions and questions surrounding investments and nepotism. He is a subject in ongoing criminal and civil investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor and the the U.S. Attorney's Office.

---Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard will sit out Friday night's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves with a shoulder injury, and it's uncertain when he'll return.

Howard reaggravated a torn labrum in his right shoulder on Wednesday night. He'll go to Los Angeles to visit Dr. Steven Yoon and will undergo platelet-rich plasma therapy.

---Boston Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger will have back surgery that will sideline him for the rest of the season, multiple media outlets reported.

Sullinger left Wednesday's game with back spasms and did not return. Sullinger was averaging 6.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 45 games this season, including five starts.

---Forward Rudy Gay was cleared to play for the Toronto Raptors in Friday's game against the Clippers after the players involved in the recent trade passed their physicals.

Forwards Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye and Ed Davis, all of whom were acquired by Memphis as part of the three-team deal that sent Gay from the Grizzlies to Toronto, also have been cleared for Friday's game against Washington.

---Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki will miss his second game in two nights when the Mavericks face Phoenix on Friday night, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

The All-Star sat out Thursday night's loss to Golden State with a strained right adductor muscle at the top of his thigh, which he injured in Tuesday night's game against Portland.

---Los Angeles Clippers guard-forward Matt Barnes was suspended for one game without pay by the NBA for his flagrant foul on Minnesota's Gregg Stiemsma. He will miss Friday night's game against Toronto.

---LeBron James said he is more worried about winning than being the NBA's highest-paid player.

James, who is making $17.5 million this season, said the NBA's salary-cap rules keep him from being paid his true worth. His salary is tied for 13th highest among NBA players, well short of Kobe Bryant's $27.8 million annual salary.

---Nickey Van Exel, the son of former NBA player Nick Van Exel, was found guilty of murder by a jury in Texas.

. The penalty phase of the trial was to begin Friday. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the capital case. Van Exel, 22, fatally shot Bradley Bassey Eyo, a longtime friend, in December 2010 at Van Exel's home.

---Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich has returned to Chicago to have his right elbow examined, and will not play in the Bulls' game against Brooklyn on Friday, the team announced.

---The Houston Rockets have assigned forward Terrence Jones to Rio Grande Valley, which is Houston's D-League partner.
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