Sports briefs – October 21

For the second straight off-season, Albert Pujols will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow.

Pujols to undergo elbow surgery again

ST. LOUIS — For the second straight off-season, Albert Pujols will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow.

The St. Louis Cardinals said in a brief news release Tuesday that the two-time NL MVP will undergo a debridement procedure — which could be used to shave bone spurs — on Wednesday morning in Birmingham, Ala., at a medical facility under the direction of Dr. James Andrews.

The team says it will provide further details after the surgery.

Last October, Pujols underwent a 25-minute outpatient procedure to relieve nerve irritation in the elbow that led to numbness, tingling in his ring finger and pinkie, weakness in his grip and pain along the inside of the forearm. That procedure was done by Dr. George Paletta, the team physician.

NBA makes new proposal to refs

NEW YORK — The NBA’s locked-out referees could be back on the floor in time for the regular season.

The league has made a new proposal, and a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press it will be recommended for approval to the referees on Friday. The person, who requested anonymity because the negotiations are ongoing, said it’s “highly likely” they’ll be on the court for next Tuesday’s season opener in Cleveland.

The breakthrough in the labour dispute came Tuesday, after a meeting that included commissioner David Stern and referees union negotiator Lamell McMorris — who had both previously withdrawn from the process.

“I think it’s great,” players’ association director Billy Hunter said. “We’d welcome them back.”

Neither the NBA nor the National Basketball Referees Association would comment on the progress in the talks, first reported by ESPN.com.

The contract between the league and the union expired Sept. 1 and the sides have been unable to reach a deal, though they were close a couple of times. The league has been using replacements officials in the pre-season, and they have been criticized for the high number of fouls called in the games.

Henin confirms return to WTA tour

BRISBANE, Australia — Former No. 1-ranked player Justine Henin has confirmed she’ll make her return to the WTA Tour at the Brisbane International two weeks ahead of her comeback to Grand Slam tennis at the Australian Open.

“After a 15-month absence I am pleased to begin my second tennis career at the Brisbane International,” Henin, a seven-time major winner, said in a statement Wednesday. “It will be great to get back to playing competitive tennis again and with the strong field, the same court surface and a similar climate to Melbourne, it will be the perfect preparation leading into the Australian Open.”

Fellow Belgian comeback player Kim Clijsters is also in the women’s draw, along with former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic.

Despite having a No. 1 ranking when she retired in May last year, the 27-year-old Henin does not have a protected ranking. She has been granted wild-card entries for the main draws at Brisbane and the Australian Open.

Henin announced after Clijsters won the U.S. Open in September. Clijsters came back from two years in retirement and became the first mother since Australia’s Evonne Goolagong Cawley to win a Grand Slam singles championship.

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