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PRESS BOX: Franchitti retires on doctors' orders

The SportsXchange

Three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti announced his retirement Thursday after concluding he would no longer be able to compete in auto racing because of injuries suffered in a horrific crash on Oct. 6.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver suffered a broken back, right ankle and concussion in a crash at the Houston Grand Prix that sent his car airborne into a catch fence and back onto the temporary street circuit. Franchitti, a four-time IndyCar champion whose career started in 1997, required multiple surgeries after the accident.

Franchitti, 40, said specialists told him that he should end his racing career and that it could be detrimental to his health to continue racing. Franchitti said he "had no choice but to stop."

NBA

Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes turned to Twitter again to express his thoughts. This time, he apologized for his angry tweet that used a racial slur after he was ejected from Wednesday night's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Barnes was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Thursday for using inappropriate language on Twitter and for failing to leave the court in a timely manner after he was ejected in the second quarter of the Clippers' 111-103 win, league president of basketball operations Rod Thorn announced.

Barnes came to teammate Blake Griffin's defense when Griffin became tangled up with Thunder forward Serge Ibaka. Barnes shoved Ibaka, and both players were ejected. Griffin ended up with a technical foul.

"I love my teammates like family, but I'm DONE standing up for these n----s! All this s--- does is cost me money!" Barnes tweeted Wednesday night.

On Thursday, Barnes followed up with his apology.

---Philadelphia 76ers prized rookie center Nerlens Noel is going through a "total rebuild" as he is rehabs from an ACL injury he suffered while at Kentucky, coach Brett Brown said.

The Sixers are rebuilding the 6-foot-11 Noel's offensive game from scratch. Noel tore the ACL in his left knee in February, keeping Noel on the sideline since he was acquired by the 76ers in a draft night trade with New Orleans, which selected Noel sixth overall.

CFB

Defensive end Da'Shawn Hand, one of the 2014 recruiting class' most coveted prospects from Woodbridge, Va., announced his commitment to the Alabama Crimson Tide on Thursday.

Hand's decision adds another five-star player to coach Nick Saban's 2014 recruiting haul.

The 6-foot-4, 254-pound Hand chose Alabama over Michigan and Florida. He is Alabama's 23rd commitment in the 2014 class, and the third five-star.
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