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GEIGER FINED AFTER SHAQ'S INJURY

GEIGER FINED AFTER SHAQ'S INJURY

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AROUND & ABOUT

NEW YORK -- Matt Geiger of the Miami Heat was suspended for one game and fined $10,000 by the NBA Friday for his "flagrant foul" against Shaquille O'Neal, who broke his right thumb on the play.

O'Neal required surgery, and the Orlando Magic's All-Star center will be sidelined until about Christmas.

Geiger will miss the Heat's season-opener Nov. 4 at home against Cleveland.

"I'm not going to have any comment on anything," Geiger said Friday night before the Heat's preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Columbus, Ohio.

The Heat released a statement prior to the game and said it would abide by the suspension and fine.

"It is unfortunate that Shaquille O'Neal was injured. However, we feel that there was no intent on the part of Matt Geiger to harm Shaquille. After conferring with the league office, we will live by their ruling," the statement said.

As O'Neal drove toward the basket during Tuesday's exhibition game, Geiger's right arm came down on him. O'Neal was called for traveling, and no foul was called against Geiger. The NBA called the act a flagrant foul when it assessed the penalties.

Elliott wins pole in Phoenix

PHOENIX -- While Bill Elliott's heart and mind were more than 1,000 miles away, his foot was hard on the gas pedal as he won the pole position for Sunday's Dura-Lube 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Elliott expressed little joy over his record-breaking lap of 130.020 mph, instead talking about the sadness and concern he and the family-run team feel for nephew Casey Elliott, the 21-year-old son of older brother Ernie Elliott, the team's engine builder.

Casey, who makes his home in Dawsonville, Ga., just down the road from the Elliott-Hardy Racing team's shop, is in a Houston hospital with doctors trying to determine what can be done about a tumor in his head.

The youngster's own racing career was just starting to take off when it was determined about 18 months ago that he had a tumor in his leg. Casey underwent surgery at that time to replace one of his knees.

"Ernie had to fly back from Rockingham last week after Casey got real sick," Bill Elliott said. "This makes it tough on us to come to the racetrack. It's kind of an unknown and we all want to be there with him."

Elliott's fast lap on the one-mile oval broke the record of 129.833 set last year by Sterling Marlin.

Elliott barely upstaged the continuing championship battle between seven-time winner Dale Earnhardt and current series leader Jeff Gordon.

Earnhardt, who trails Gordon by 162 points with two races remaining, was second in qualifying at 129.964. Gordon, who can wrap up the title Sunday by staying at least 151 points ahead, was right behind in third at 129.786.

Another pole spot for Schumacher

SUZUKA, Japan -- It seems nothing can stop Michael Schumacher -- not even last weekend's major partying.

Just five days after clinching this year's Formula One drivers' championship -- and celebrating with a few too many beers -- Schumacher was back atop the field, taking the provisional pole for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

Asked what he's been doing since his victory at the Pacific Grand Prix last Sunday, the 26-year-old German replied, "Staying in bed and recovering from Sunday night was the important thing, because I had quite a hangover."

The normally restrained and cerebral Schumacher let loose in a celebration into the wee hours Monday morning, climbing atop a restaurant table and leading the speeches at a celebration by his Benetton team.

On Friday he was all business again, posting a speed of 133.279 mph on fast lap of 1 minute, 38.428 seconds over the 3.644-mile Suzuka circuit. Damon Hill was more than six-tenths of a second behind at 1:39.032 in his Williams-Renault.

McNeeley scores knockout win

BOSTON -- Peter McNeeley rebounded from his infamous loss to Mike Tyson with a second-round knockout of 37-year-old ex-convict Mike Sam in the first night of boxing in Boston's new FleetCenter.

McNeeley kept alive a family tradition: His grandfather, Tom, was on the first card when the Garden opened on Nov. 17, 1928.

Despite his status as the betting favorite and the hometown boy, McNeeley's arrival in the half-empty arena brought boos -- the memory of his 89-second cameo against Tyson evidently fresh in their minds.

But as mismatched as McNeeley was against the ex-champ in his first fight out of prison, Sam was equally mismatched this time against McNeeley. The Medfield native put down Sam twice in the first round. Sam was flattened by a punch to his gut and went down again midway through the second, to be officially counted out at 1:41.

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