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PRESS BOX: Kidd ready for transition to coaching

The SportsXchange

Jason Kidd officially began his coaching career Thursday with the Brooklyn Nets, just 10 days after retiring as a player.

Kidd, 40, finished his career with the New York Knicks and became the fourth man to debut as a head coach in the season after leaving as a player since the 1976-77 ABA-NBA merger. The former point guard said he is ready for the challenge.

"I have a lot to learn about coaching," Kidd said. "But when I played the game, I looked at myself as an extension of the coach. And now I look at Deron (Williams) to be that guy."

Kidd spent 19 seasons in the league with the Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Knicks. He won a championship with Dallas in 2011 and Olympic gold medals with the U.S. team in 2000 and 2008.

---Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli had surgery on Thursday to repair his right knee that was injured during the final game of the regular season, the team announced.

The procedure, which was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles, stabilized the medial collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligaments that were sprained in the April 17 game against Portland. The medical staff estimates the rookie Ezeli's recovery time at six to nine months.

MLB

The coaching staffs for the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York will have a decidedly Mets feel.

Major-league managers Terry Collins (Mets), Davey Johnson (Washington Nationals), Robin Ventura (Chicago White Sox) and John Gibbons (Toronto Blue Jays) were named as coaches for their respective leagues Thursday by National League All-Star manager Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants and American League All-Star manager Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers.

All four have a connection to the Amazins. Collins is currently leading the team, while Johnson guided the Mets to 108 regular-season wins and the 1986 World Series Championship. He managed the team to a 595-417 (.588) record from 1984-1990, the most wins and best winning percentage in franchise history.

On the AL side, Ventura was a 1999 All-Star third baseman for the Mets, and spent three years with the team, including the 2000 pennant winners. Gibbons caught 18 games for the Mets in 1984 and 1986 before working as an instructor, coach and minor-league manager in the Mets system from 1991-2001.

---Injured Los Angeles Angels reliever Ryan Madson, who hasn't pitched in a game since the 2011 playoffs, told MLB.com recently that he's in favor of human growth hormone (HGH), as long as it's monitored by doctors.

The 32-year-old has experienced complications from an elbow reconstruction in 2012.

"If HGH were legal," Madson said, "just in the process of healing, under a doctor's recommendation, in the right dosage, while you're on the [disabled list], I don't think that's such a bad idea -- as long as it doesn't have any lasting side effects, negative side effects."

Madson added: "Right now, it's cheating. I've never done anything like that, and I won't."

AUTO

New Jersey State Police were investigating Thursday the cause of the dirt track crash that killed NASCAR driver Jason Leffler, according to multiple reports.

Leffler, 37, died Wednesday after the crash during the first heat at New Jersey's Bridgeport Speedway, a dirt track about 15 miles southwest of Philadelphia.

The Gloucester County medical examiner told ESPN.com that he will begin to examine Leffler's body on Friday.

Leffler has won twice on NASCAR's Nationwide Series and finished in the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500. He had spent most of 2013 competing on dirt tracks.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Howard's Rock, the recognizable stone fixture rubbed by Clemson University players before entering Memorial Stadium, was vandalized in early June, the school said in a Thursday release.

According to the report, Clemson University Police Department Lt. Gary Leslie arrived at Memorial Stadium at 2:30 p.m. on June 3 and found "a large piece of the rock was missing." The plastic protective cover over the rock was on the ground near the gate and police lifted a partial print off the pedestal. Leslie estimated the damage at $500, but the total is still to be determined.
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