The Latest: MTSU postpones 2 basketball games at FAU

Middle Tennessee has postponed a pair of basketball games at Florida Atlantic because of positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the Blue Raiders’ program

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Middle Tennessee has postponed a pair of basketball games at Florida Atlantic because of positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the Blue Raiders’ program.

The Blue Raiders had been set to play the Owls on Friday and Saturday in a rare back-to-back. Now Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic are working with Conference USA to reschedule the games.

This is the third time Middle Tennessee’s schedule has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Akron canceled a game against the Blue Raiders in the Gulf Coast Showcase starting the season, and Middle Tennessee canceled its home-and-home set with Bellarmine on Dec. 19 and Dec. 21. The Blue Raiders remain scheduled to host FIU on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9.

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The Titans are 1-7 and 0-4 in conference play after losing two games apiece to Wright State and Oakland.

The pandemic has forced many schools to cancel or postpone games and several coaches have voiced concern about the pressure placed on their players. In early December, Duke canceled its remaining nonconference men’s games and coach Mike Krzyzewski said his players “need to be with their families.” Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said he was clearly seeing “emotional and mental fatigue and exhaustion and trauma” as the season has lurched ahead.

The Horizon League said in a statement it “is fully supportive of Detroit Mercy’s decision to pause activities and is guided by our top priority: the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff.”

The Titans visit Milwaukee for games on consecutive nights beginning Jan. 8.

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The Atlanta Falcons have stopped all in-person work at their practice facility after a positive COVID-19 test.

The team did not immediately disclose if the positive test result came from a player. The Falcons are working virtually on Thursday after consulting with the NFL and medical officials.

The team says the positive test does not threaten the status of Sunday’s final regular-season game at Tampa Bay.

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Cleveland’s COVID-19 concerns are growing, with two more positive tests and the Browns trying to get ready to face the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Browns closed their facility for the second straight day so they can conduct close contact tracing. Practice will likely be pushed back again while tracing continues.

The NFL said there is no change to the status of the game.

The Browns can clinch their first playoff berth since 2002 with a win over Pittsburgh, which will rest several starters, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

It’s the latest virus-related issue for the Browns, who were without eight players — including their top four wide receivers — last week and lost to the New York Jets. Some of those players are eligible to return Thursday.

The team has nine players on the COVID-19 list — the four wide receivers, safeties Andrew Sendejo and Karl Joseph, linebackers B.J. Goodson and Jacob Phillips and tight end Harrison Bryant.

Goodson and Sendejo tested positive with the virus and will miss Sunday’s game. The others are considered high-risk contacts and could return if they continue to test negative.

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Former top-ranked Andy Murray has pulled out of the Delray Beach Open to minimize his coronavirus risk as he looks toward the Australian Open.

The 33-year-old Murray said he was concerned about the “increase in COVID rates” and the trans-Atlantic flight in traveling to the Florida tournament that begins Monday.

The Five-time Australian Open runner-up was given a wild-card entry into the first Grand Slam tournament of next year.

Murray has slipped to No. 122 in the ATP rankings after several years of battling hip injuries and surgery.

Murray made a tearful retirement announcement in Melbourne two years ago before undergoing a second round of surgeries to extend his career.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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