Serena and Venus Williams plan to compete at the Athens Olympics despite injuries that forced them to pull out of recent tournaments.

"They've both been working hard and doing their rehab," U.S. Olympic tennis coach Zina Garrison said yesterday.

"I've actually spoken directly to Serena, and she's fine," Garrison added. "As far as Venus, I've spoken to her agent and one of her sisters. They are both still looking forward to going."

The sisters will be defending their 2000 doubles gold medal during the Aug. 15-22 tennis tournament on hard courts in Athens, and Venus will try to win a second straight Olympic singles championship. Serena also is entered in singles.

But both have been hurt lately, extending the string of injuries that have hampered them for about a year.

Serena withdrew from last week's WTA Tour event in San Diego and this week's tournament in Montreal because of swelling in her left knee.

Jamaica's Mullings Is Out

Jamaican sprinter Steve Mullings will miss the Olympics after testing positive twice for testosterone.

Mullings, who won the 200-meter dash at the national trials in June, won't be competing for Jamaica at the Games in Athens.

"There's no way he's going now," said Patrick Anderson, president of the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association.

Almost Banned

U.S. sprinter Torri Edwards, the reigning world champion at 100 meters, is one step closer to being banned from the Olympics, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The international track federation (IAAF) doping review panel made a decision that amounts to saying Edwards should receive a two-year suspension for use of a banned stimulant, according to Tribune sources familiar with the case.

Edwards qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in the 100 and 200 meters and would likely have been chosen for the 4x100-meter relay. She was second in the 100 and third in the 200 at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials last month.

Tough Times for James

LeBron James said a week ago that the closest he had come to Germany was guarding Dirk Nowitzki.

He was not in a wise-cracking mood yesterday upon his arrival in Belgrade for tonight's exhibition game between the U.S. Olympic basketball team and defending world champion Serbia and Montenegro.

The Americans' youth and inexperience in international play were glaring in a stunning 17-point loss to Italy and a last-second win over host Germany on the first leg of their European Olympic primer.

James's struggles have mirrored those of his team. The Cavaliers star played 16 minutes against Italy and just seven minutes, none in the second half, in the 80-77 win over Germany.