The NBA is instituting a policy regarding Twitter and other social media sites, banning players from using them during games.

The league sent a memo to teams yesterday telling them that cell phones and other communication devices can't be used from 45 minutes before game time until after players have finished their responsibilities after games. That includes halftime.

The rule applies to "coaches, players and other team basketball operations personnel."

The memo does not specify penalties for violation of the rule, and says teams are free to create their own policies for practices and other team events.

In other NBA news:

* Delonte West was absent from Cleveland's training camp for the second straight day while he deals with personal issues. General manager Danny Ferry has spoken with West, coach Mike Brown said, adding that the absence is unexcused and that West will be fined. West, who has battled depression and mood disorders for years, also could face suspension by the league after he was recently arrested for gun possession in Maryland.

* New York Knicks center Eddy Curry will have blood drained from a torn right calf muscle and is expected to miss 3 to 5 days.


* The NHL could claim a partial victory after a U.S. bankruptcy judge rejected bids by the league and Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes. Judge Redfield T. Baum rejected outright Balsillie's offer to purchase the team and move it to Hamilton, Ontario, which the NHL had vehemently opposed. The judge upheld the league's right to decide who owns its teams and where they play. Although Baum also turned down the NHL offer, he left the door open for the league to go ahead and purchase the franchise if it amends its bid to treat Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes and ex-coach Wayne Gretzky more favorably.

* Free-agent defenseman Alexei Semenov has agreed to terms with the New York Rangers.

Sport Stops

* Binghamton athletic director Joel Thirer resigned following last week's dismissal of six basketball players, including star player Emanuel "Tiki" Mayben, who was arraigned last Thursday on cocaine distribution charges.

* France's Interior Ministry has announced the creation of a unit that will target soccer hooligans.

* Ferrari reached a 3-year agreement with driver Fernando Alonso, replacing Kimi Raikkonen starting next season. Alonso will join Ferrari from Renault, with whom he won the F1 title in 2005 and '06.