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GARNETT'S D-DAY: This could be the most important day in the history of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Faced with an 11 p.m. CDT deadline to reach a contract extension with Kevin Garnett, the Wolves planned to resume negotiations with their star forward and his agent Tuesday morning.

Garnett finally returned to Minnesota on Tuesday and joined his agent, Eric Fleisher, and Wolves owner Glen Taylor for the first time to help work out a reported $120 million, six-year contract. That would be a big jump from the $103.5 million offer Fleisher spurned last summer, a deal that would have been the richest long-term deal ever in the NBA.


TKACHUK RETURNS: Keith Tkachuk returned to the Phoenix Coyotes without the renegotiated contract he wanted but with a promise from management that a new long-term pact will be discussed after the season.

The Coyotes' captain was suspended last week for refusing to play during the preseason. The left wing will play this season under terms of his existing five-year, $17.2 million contract.


MCCALL CLEARED TO FIGHT: Oliver McCall was cleared to fight again while courts spar over his $3 million purse that has been withheld since his tearful breakdown in the ring with Lennox Lewis.

Nevada boxing regulators voted unanimously to drop their temporary suspension of McCall, making him eligible to fight in any state that will approve his comeback.

ANOTHER TYSON LAWSUIT: Mitch Green's mother wept as she testified that her son felt cheated after a 1986 prize fight he lost to Mike Tyson and looked "grotesque" after Tyson gave him another beating on a Harlem street.

That 1988 beating, in front of a Harlem leather goods store on 125th Street at 4 a.m., is the subject of Green's $25 million suit against Tyson.


SWISS INDOORS: At Basel, Switzerland, third-seeded Goran Ivanisevic was beaten in the opening round of the $975,000 Swiss Indoors 6-4, 6-3 by Slovakia's Karol Kucera.

In other first-round matches, Russia's Yevgeni Kafelnikov, elevated to top seed when Pete Sampras withdrew with an injured shoulder, defeated Swiss qualifier Lorenzo Manta 6-1, 7-6 (7-2); second-seeded Carlos Moya of Spain overcame wild-card Tommy Haas of Germany 6-4, 3-6, 6-4; Wayne Ferreira of South Africa defeated New Zealand's Brett Steven 6-7 (2-7), 6-1, 7-6 (7-5); and Britain's Tim Henman topped German Marc-Kevin Goellner 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.

SICILIAN OPEN: At Palermo, Sicily, top-seeded Alex Corretja of Spain overcame Italian wild-card Marzio Martelli 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the $328,000 clay-court Sicilian Open.


PADILLA IMPROVING: Doug Padilla, winner of 12 national distance running titles who had surgery recently to save his left leg, is slowly improving and hopeful that he will be able to walk normally again.

"Things seem to be getting better," said Padilla, who was hospitalized after being struck by a car more than a year ago.

Three weeks after the July 23 operation, Padilla began reforming bone in the leg, but he had a complication when the bone reformed too quickly, and he was in intense pain. Now, Padilla's body has slowed down its rate of bone production to a normal rate.

Also, last week, doctors removed his IV catheter, which had been feeding him antibiotics to fight infection. Padilla is hopeful the infection is under control.

During his ordeal, the 40-year-old Padilla has incurred huge medical bills, but he is without medical insurance and is in need of donations.

Padilla, winner of the 5,000 meters at the 1984 and 1988 U.S. Olympic trials, won seven national indoor titles and five outdoors.

Summer Games

ATHLETE OF YEAR: Beaver's Robert Gent has been honored by the National Congress of State Games as the men's national CITGO State Games Athlete of the Year.

Gent, a 56-year-old who is battling leukemia, has amassed more than 40 medals at the Utah Summer Games in track and field, triathlon, swimming and weightlifting. He has been a Summer Games participant for only six years, winning 17 medals in 1997 alone.

Besides holding the state age-division record in the 110-meter high hurdles, Gent is a national age group champion and record holder in the AAU decathlon/pentathlon, and All-American decathlete and world masters powerlifting champion.

He holds the triple jump record at the Huntsman World Senior Games and has shattered marks and amassed dozens of medals at state and senior games in four western states.

In 1992, the former Canadian National pentathlon champion received special recognition for swimming the Columbia River from Washington to Oregon.