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Wilkins leaves Europe

ATHENS - Former NBA star Dominique Wilkins flew to the United States Friday for treatment of a leg injury, hurting the chances of European champions Panathinaikos winning the Greek basketball championship final Sunday.

"He left with my permission so that he could treat his injured leg," Panathinaikos President Pavlos Yannakopoulos said. "I expect him back on August 1 to join the team in their preparations for next season."

Wilkins, the biggest former NBA star to play in Europe, led his Greek team to their first European clubs' crown in the Final Four in Paris last month.

Local sports newspapers suggested that Wilkins was not hurting enough to miss the big game. "He left like a thief," was the headline in the sports daily Sportime on Friday.

New Predators coach

Assistant Mike Daniel will succeed Annette Cottle as head coach of the Utah Predators. The National Volleyball Association franchise announced the move after Cottle resigned to pursue more personal time.

"Mike is very knowledgable and well respected in the volleyball world," said Cottle. "He'll make a fine head coach."

Daniel, 27, has been with the Predators since the team was founded two years ago. His coaching experience, which includes his current position at the head of the Pleasant Grove High School programs, includes collegiate stints as an assistant with Utah Valley and Penn State.

Utah general manager Don Black praised Daniel for his statistical analysis.