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Kings' Doughty out 8 weeks; Walker's season over

Published in Hockey
Wednesday, 27 October 2021 14:31

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty will be out for about eight weeks with a bruised right knee.

Doughty will need six weeks of recovery from the first significant injury of his 14-year NHL career before he begins skating again. The Kings hope the 2016 Norris Trophy winner can return to the lineup in less than two months, Los Angeles general manager Rob Blake said Wednesday.

Blake also announced defenseman Sean Walker is out for the season after tearing ligaments in his knee. Walker was injured Monday during the Kings' loss at St. Louis.

Doughty was injured by an illegal knee-to-knee hit from Dallas defenseman Jani Hakanpaa last Friday during the Stars' 3-2 victory over the Kings. Hakanpaa received a five-minute major and a game misconduct after he skated into Doughty while the Kings star passed the puck and attempted to avoid the contact.

Blake described the injury as a significant bruise on the top of Doughty's tibia, but the defenseman apparently avoided ligament damage.

Hakanpaa didn't receive any additional NHL discipline for his hit on the 31-year-old Doughty, one of the NHL's top defensemen for most of a career spent entirely in Los Angeles. Doughty was off to a strong start this season, with one goal and six assists in four games.

Doughty is a two-time Stanley Cup champion and a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Canada. He has also been a model of consistency and durability for his entire career.

Doughty played in all 82 games for five consecutive seasons from 2014-19, and he played in all 56 games last year - the eighth time he has played every game of a season.

Walker had two assists in the first six games of his fourth NHL season. Blake said the Kings intend to fill the vacancies in their defensive lineup from within the organization after losing two right-handed shots in quick succession.

The Kings have lost five straight since a season-opening win over Vegas. They return to Staples Center on Thursday night against Winnipeg.

SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda – On Dec. 23, 2019, Brian Morris received the kind of news that changes a person. He was told he had terminal Stage IV brain cancer. But for those who know the 54-year-old head professional, it only made him more “Brian.”

“He’s such an inspiration to everybody. The minute you meet him you’ll understand,” said Michael Sims, who qualified for this week’s event. “He just lights up everybody’s day. He’s honest, he’s hysterical, he’s a great story-teller, so to be able to walk these fairways with him in this tournament, it’s going to be unbelievable.”

Morris, the head professional at Bermuda’s Ocean View Golf Course, will finally get his chance to play a Tour event at the Bermuda Championship when he joins the field at Port Royal Golf Course on a sponsor exemption.

“It’s so exciting. It means a lot. I always thought about it. I always dreamed about it. I’m so looking forward to tomorrow,” Morris said.

Morris, who has his 32nd chemotherapy treatment scheduled for Monday, said throughout his medical challenges it’s been golf that’s provided him an escape.

“It’s like tranquility for me. I don’t have time to think about being sick. I don’t feel sick, I don’t act sick, just because I’m playing golf,” Morris said. “I don’t have time to think about that because I’m just trying to make shots and hit putts. It’s so cool that playing golf takes me completely away because I’m always in it between doctors and hospitals and trips to Boston; it’s every day except for those four and a half hours I play golf.”

Thursday at Port Royal Golf Course it will be with a smaller-than-planned tee sheet for the Bermuda Championship.

Morris will play Rounds 1 and 2 alongside Sims, who is his cousin and also something of a Bermuda golf legend, and he said he expects plenty of support from the hometown crowd as well as no small amount of emotion.

“First thing I thought of is how proud my father would be. He passed away about 35 years ago, he got me into golf,” said Morris, when asked his reaction after learning he’d been given an exemption into the field. “Obviously, I cried. I’m not afraid to tell anybody. So many emotions. It was hard to explain, just tears. I’ll probably cry on 18. I’ll be emotional 100 percent.”

SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda – When the first round of the Bermuda Championship gets underway Thursday at Port Royal Golf Course it will be with a smaller-than-planned tee sheet.

Because of a combination of travel issues, COVID-19 protocols and a long-term weather forecast that was less-than-inviting Thursday’s opening round will feature no more than 126 players, six less than the expected 132-player mark.

Officials began to notice an issue on Monday when a host of players began withdrawing and the alternate list began drying up. By Tuesday, the 132-player threshold, which was set last year when the event became a stand-alone tournament with the cancellation of the WGC-HSBC Champions, was in jeopardy when Jonathan Kaye withdrew. Later that afternoon, Will Mackenzie and Cody Gribble joined the list of withdrawals and when Michael Gligic informed officials early Wednesday that he wouldn’t be playing, the field had dropped to 126.

For some, the primary issue appeared to be the Bermuda-mandated COVID-19 protocols. Anyone traveling to Bermuda had to provide a negative COVID-19 test within four days of arriving and they also had to be fully vaccinated. 

The Tour hasn’t announced how many of its players are fully vaccinated, but Charlie Beljan tweeted that he withdrew from the event because he “didn’t take the jab.” That tweet was later deleted.

There are also travel issues at play with most commercial airlines limited to just a single flight to Bermuda per day. That schedule became problematic for defending champion Brian Gay when he wasn’t allowed to board his flight on Monday because the plane was “too heavy.”

The life of a PGA Tour player isn’t always glamorous, even if you’re the defending champion.

Gay, along with at least one other Tour player, was forced to take the Tuesday flight and because of the COVID-19 testing protocols, he wasn’t allowed to go to Port Royal until Wednesday, when strong winds forced the cancellation of the pro-am and a course closure that left Gay, and others, without any practice rounds.

“I'll try to get in that mode a little bit this afternoon with a little bit of practice, try to get my head on straight about what I want to do when I come out tomorrow morning and start the tournament,” Gay said. “It's a little different in that sense since I haven't really had any preparations for this event, which is kind of different for everybody.”

Officials estimate the last time a Tour event was played without a full field was the 2019 Barracuda Championship.

The veil of silence that has shrouded a proposed start-up circuit to rival the PGA Tour will soon be lifted, according to reports from multiple media outlets on Wednesday.

Representatives behind the proposed Super Golf League met with a select group of media in New York City Wednesday, although many details of that meeting remain unknown.

The reports did confirm long-talked-about rumors that Greg Norman would serve as commissioner of the Saudi-backed circuit, but those in attendance were asked to not publish specific elements of the meeting until next week (Golf Channel was not among those invited to participate in the meeting).

The start-up league has gone through various iterations, including a stint as the Premier Golf League, and the basis includes a team concept, exceedingly rich purses and ownership options for those who have been described as team “captains.”

An ongoing clash between the PGA Tour and an upstart circuit could reach a tipping point early next year.

The PGA Tour has largely remained quiet about the league, but early last year commissioner Jay Monahan did confirm that any player who commits to the new circuit would not be allowed to continue as a Tour member.

Norman appears to be a natural choice to front the new tour. In the early 1990s, the Australian was behind a push for a global circuit that was eventually shelved when the PGA Tour created the World Golf Championships.

Whether the plan is to announce the details of the new tour or simply focus on the Saudi International, which had been a European Tour event until this year, remains to be seen. The PGA Tour recently balked at granting players conflicting-event releases to play next year’s Saudi International, which is now sanctioned by the Asian Tour following a reported $100 million investment into that circuit by the Saudis. But given Wednesday’s media gathering, it seems likely that the SGL is poised to come out of the shadows.

Falcao strikes as Rayo pile on Barcelona woe

Published in Soccer
Wednesday, 27 October 2021 14:05

Barcelona have suffered back-to-back defeats in LaLiga as they slumped to a 1-0 loss at Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday.

The defeat -- Barca's third of the season -- comes just days after coach Ronald Koeman's side were beaten 2-1 against Real Madrid in El Clasico on Sunday.

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Striker Radamel Falcao fired Rayo into the lead on 30 minutes after a frantic start, the 35-year-old picking the ball up on a quick breakaway before slotting past goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Barca dominated possession but struggled to mount attacking pressure for much of the match -- the side's first shot on target came on 71 minutes when Memphis Depay stepped up to take a penalty, but Rayo goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski saved the attempt.

Koeman's side had a flurry of late chances to get back into the game. The first came in the final two minutes of stoppage time as striker Sergio Aguero headed wide from a Sergino Dest cross. Teenage midfielder Gavi, who had come off the bench to replace Philippe Coutinho, then mishit a volley from just inside the box moments later as Rayo secured the first win over Barca since 2002.

"I'm really emotional right now. It's my first win against Barcelona after playing four times against them [with Atletico]," a tearful Falcao told reporters.

"Seeing the fans singing, the joy that they are having in the stands, it's humbling and satisfying."

The Catalan side sit in ninth place in LaLiga, and next face Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou on Saturday.

Sources: United prepared to lose Pogba on free

Published in Soccer
Wednesday, 27 October 2021 14:05

Manchester United are prepared to lose Paul Pogba for free next summer after accepting the midfielder will not sign a new contract at Old Trafford, sources have told ESPN.

The France international, who cost a then-world-record £89.1 million when he signed from Juventus in August 2016, will become a free agent when his contract expires at the end of June 2022. He has consistently rejected United's offer of a new deal at the club.

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However, despite the prospect of the player running down his United contract for a second time -- United were awarded £800,000 in youth development compensation when Pogba left as a free agent to Juve in 2012 -- sources have said there is no alarm or concern at Old Trafford about the likelihood of the 28-year-old leaving for no fee.

Real Madrid, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have previously expressed an interest in Pogba, but none of them is planning to make a move for the player in January, preferring instead to negotiate a free-agent deal next summer.

Sources have told ESPN that United factored in the likelihood of Pogba leaving as a free agent at the end of his contract when they agreed his transfer fee and wages five years ago.

Although the club could raise a fee for Pogba by offloading him in the January transfer window, sources have said that United's owners, the Glazer family, are relaxed about the possibility of missing out on a transfer fee, having decided that the benefits of having the player available for the final six months of the season outweigh the potential financial boost of moving him on in January.

United have made repeated efforts to persuade Pogba to sign a new contract, but senior figures have believed since the end of last season that it was unlikely that he would commit to new terms, with plans already being made to strengthen the midfield without him next summer.

Pogba will miss United's next three Premier League fixtures, against Tottenham, Manchester City and Watford, after he was sent off for a foul on Naby Keita during Sunday's 5-0 defeat against Liverpool at Old Trafford.

The midfielder had been dropped to the bench by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for United's past two fixtures, against Liverpool and Atalanta, but sources have said that Pogba remains a valued member of the first-team squad and that there is no rift between the player and the manager.

West Indies have brought Jason Holder into their T20 World Cup squad as a replacement for the injured left-arm seamer Obed McCoy.

McCoy, who played in West Indies' opening fixture against England, has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament by a right shin injury. The addition of allrounder Holder, a former captain, has been approved by the ICC. He was already in the UAE as a travelling reserve and will be available for West Indies' next fixture, against Bangladesh on Friday.

"Jason Holder has been in the UAE for a while now and will fit quite well into the team unit," Roger Harper, CWI's lead men's selector said. "He is an experienced and knowledgeable cricketer who we know will be eager and excited to grab the opportunity.

"McCoy did really well in the T20Is earlier this year and adapted well in the opening match against England. He was a key member of the bowling unit and it's unfortunate he won't be able to take any further part in the tournament. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on the field ready to go again in the near future."

West Indies, the defending champions, have lost their opening two games and already face a fight to reach the semi-finals. They were bowled out for 55 in a six-wicket defeat to England, then lost by eight wickets against South Africa.

QB Prescott (calf) must clear 'threshold' to play

Published in Breaking News
Wednesday, 27 October 2021 14:46

FRISCO, Texas -- During the portion of Wednesday's practice that was open to the media, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott showed no ill effects from a right calf strain suffered Oct. 17 that has put his availability for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings in some question.

Prescott went through an extended warm-up prior to practice and did not take part in the individual footwork drills with the rest of the quarterbacks, but he went through simulated drops off to the side while coach Mike McCarthy watched. Later, he threw passes to his running backs, receivers and tight ends without any issues.

Prescott was officially listed as limited during Wednesday's practice but CeeDee Lamb said Prescott looked, "regular. Same Dak. He looks great in and out of his drops. I don't know the restrictions on him or what's going on, but, to me, he looks perfectly fine."

Prescott suffered the injury on the winning touchdown pass to Lamb in overtime against the New England Patriots, and the Cowboys benefitted from having their bye, with executive vice president Stephen Jones saying "it would've been a tough one" for Prescott to have played last week.

Speaking on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he was more optimistic about Prescott's chances of playing against the Vikings, but with the practice week starting Wednesday, the Cowboys will take a conservative approach before making their final decision.

"He's going to practice and he's going to go through the individual part of it and he's in the game plans. He's preparing to play," McCarthy said. "He's got to cross the threshold to make sure he's full-go."

McCarthy did not define the threshold, but said part of the determination will be made by Prescott and associate athletic trainer and director of rehabilitation Britt Brown, who oversaw the quarterback's recovery from his ankle and shoulder injuries in the last year.

"Britt and Dak have a tremendous history and relationship so I feel like we'll be on the same page with how he progresses through this," McCarthy said. "He's going to do everything he can to play on Sunday. That's a given."

McCarthy acknowledged quarterbacks can "probably play with a calf strain earlier in the rehab process than the other positions." As head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 2014, McCarthy saw Aaron Rodgers deal with a calf injury late in the regular season and into the playoffs, all the way to the NFC Championship Game.

"It was difficult. The weather was different, two outdoor games then played up in Seattle there in the NFC Championship Game, so yeah, that was a challenge," McCarthy said. "But it was January. It was a different time of year and had some different circumstances."

Considering the Cowboys are playing their seventh game of the year Sunday and have a 3.5-game lead in the NFC East, does that impact the club's decision with Prescott?

"I think it's a clear decision, we don't want this to be a week-to-week situation, so until he clears that threshold to try to minimize the risk is really what the decision will come down to," McCarthy said.

McCarthy said Cooper Rush will get work with the No. 1 offense, regardless of Prescott's health. Rush has not played in a game since 2019 and has not thrown a pass since 2017, completing 1 of 2 throws in mop-up duty for Prescott.

"It's a matter of trying to make sure Cooper is ready and to make sure Dak is getting what he needs," McCarthy said. "We've got to make sure we're getting Cooper ready too."

Ezekiel Elliott wasn't sure Prescott would play Sunday, but added, "from what we are hearing it sounds like he will be available. But, not saying I am not worried about because obviously we want to have Dak out there, but I have a lot of confidence in (Rush). He had a great day today."

Lamb said the Cowboys are planning as if Prescott will play.

"Even if he's not we're prepared for whoever is up next," Lamb said. "But I'm just about 90% sure he's going to be out there."

Former WFT employees want 'findings released'

Published in Breaking News
Wednesday, 27 October 2021 14:46

The attorneys for some former Washington Football Team employees rejected NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's reasoning for not making the investigation into the organization public, saying in a letter that their clients wanted anonymity but also a written report.

Goodell had said in a news conference at the league meetings Tuesday that they did not release a written report into the nearly year-long investigation of the organization and owner Dan Snyder because some who were interviewed wanted anonymity and therefore no public report.

In a two-page letter to Goodell, Lisa Banks and Debra Katz stated that their clients -- they represent 40 women who made allegations of sexual harassment while working for Washington -- wanted only protection. They wanted the findings released.

The letter stated, "While many who came forward feared retaliation by Dan Snyder, and therefore requested their names be kept confidential, they never envisioned that all their efforts and the efforts of Beth Wilkinson and her team would result in no written report of findings, and no real accountability for Dan Snyder or the WFT. Had they known this, they would not have participated."

Beth Wilkinson provided a verbal report to the NFL of her findings. There were 150 people interviewed during the investigation. The NFL fined Washington $10 million for its toxic workplace culture; Snyder said at the time that he would step aside from day-to-day operations of the franchise in favor of his wife, Tanya.

Banks and Katz wrote that Goodell "misrepresented the wishes of our clients, and likely those of the other women and men who came forward, to justify your decision to bury what we know would be a damning report."

They once more urged Goodell to release the findings. They said once that happens the public can determine whether the actions taken against the WFT were appropriate.

They wrote, "Your continued refusal to produce the findings of the investigation, ignoring the repeated pleas from those who put themselves at great risk to participate in this investigation, suggests strongly that it is not they who you are determined to protect."

Davidson fills Morton's roster spot for Braves

Published in Baseball
Wednesday, 27 October 2021 13:40

Left-hander Tucker Davidson has replaced injured pitcher Charlie Morton on the Atlanta Braves' World Series roster.

Major League Baseball announced the move before Game 2 between the Braves and Houston Astros on Wednesday night.

Morton suffered a broken right fibula after he was struck on the lower right leg by Yuli Gurriel's 102-mph comebacker in the second inning of Atlanta's 6-2 win in Game 1 on Tuesday. Morton initially stayed in the game, but exited in the third inning.

Morton will be sidelined until spring training.

The 25-year-old Davidson had a 3.60 ERA in four big league starts this season, all in May and June, after making his debut in the majors in 2020. He was 2-2 with a 1.17 ERA in four starts at Triple-A Gwinnett, making his last appearance on Oct. 3. He missed much of the season with left forearm inflammation.

Davidson has not appeared in any major league postseason games.

Soccer

Falcao strikes as Rayo pile on Barcelona woe

Falcao strikes as Rayo pile on Barcelona woe

Barcelona have suffered back-to-back defeats in LaLiga as they slumped to a 1-0 loss at Rayo Valleca...

Sources: United prepared to lose Pogba on free

Sources: United prepared to lose Pogba on free

Manchester United are prepared to lose Paul Pogba for free next summer after accepting the midfielde...

Juventus, Serie A transfers under investigation

Juventus, Serie A transfers under investigation

A federal investigation has opened in Italy into a number of transfers in Serie A, with Juventus und...

Basketball

Retired Redick joining ESPN as NBA analyst

Retired Redick joining ESPN as NBA analyst

JJ Redick is joining ESPN as an NBA analyst a month after announcing his retirement following a 15-y...

Sources: Bulls' LaVine dealing with thumb injury

Sources: Bulls' LaVine dealing with thumb injury

Chicago Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine underwent an MRI on Tuesday, which revealed a left thumb injury t...

Baseball

Davidson fills Morton's roster spot for Braves

Davidson fills Morton's roster spot for Braves

Left-hander Tucker Davidson has replaced injured pitcher Charlie Morton on the Atlanta Braves' World...

Roller derby team sues over Guardians name use

Roller derby team sues over Guardians name use

CLEVELAND -- A roller derby team that has called itself the Cleveland Guardians since 2013 sued the...

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