Gordon Hayward Injury: Here’s Celtics Star’s Timetable For Return

The Celtics won’t have to make do without Gordon Hayward for terribly long.
Hayward fractured his left hand Saturday night during Boston’s road win over the San Antonio Spurs. There’s obviously never a good time for injuries, but Hayward’s occurred at a particularly tough point. The veteran forward jumped out to a hot start to the season — averaging 18.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game over eight contests — and the effects of his gruesome lower-leg injury from two years ago appeared to finally be going in the rearview.

The 29-year-old on Monday underwent surgery to repair his hand, and if he stays on track of his current timetable, the Celtics should be able to welcome him back before Christmas.
“Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward underwent successful surgery today to repair a fourth metacarpal fracture in his left hand,” the team said via a press release Monday. “The injury occurred during Saturday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs. He is expected to return to play in approximately six weeks.”
The Celtics, who already featured mediocre depth to begin with, will be challenged over this next month-plus without Hayward. Monday inspired optimism, however, as Boston gutted out a 116-106 win over the Dallas Mavericks, who previously had been undefeated on the road this season.
If there’s a silver lining to Hayward’s absence, role players like Grant Williams and Javonte Green likely will see extended minutes over the next six weeks and have an opportunity to grow their confidence early in the season. This could bode well for Boston come spring when it will need every player up and down its roster to bring something to the table.

Stephen A. Smith Believes This Team, Not Patriots, Is Favorite In AFC

It only one was game, but quite a bit of stock was put in the Week 9 clash between the Patriots and Ravens.
Baltimore handed New England its first loss of the season in pretty convincing fashion. The Patriots’ defense finally showed some cracks after humiliating the opposition through the first eight weeks of the season, while Lamar Jackson and Co. looked nearly unstoppable.

In turn, some within the sports world now are less high on New England’s chances of winning the AFC for a fourth consecutive season. Conversely, the Ravens, who followed up their win over the Patriots with a 36-point rout of the Cincinnati Bengals, now are being viewed as legitimate Super Bowl contenders. In fact, Stephen A. Smith currently believes Baltimore is the team to beat in the AFC.
“…We keep thinking about Patrick Mahomes. We’re not thinking enough about the position Kansas City’s defense put them in,” Smith said Monday on ESPN’s “First Take.” “They can’t stop a cold when it really, really counts. They’re just horrible as far as I’m concerned. I don’t give a damn what anybody says. That defense continuously lets them down. …New England, their offense is questionable because of all the bodies they’ve lost, OK? When you look at the (AFC) South, whether it’s the coach, Jacoby Brissett goes down. You believe in Deshaun Watson but you don’t believe in Bill O’Brien. You look at the Ravens, in terms of balance, I think that they’re the team right now in the AFC.”

We’ll surely learn more about both the Patriots and Ravens in the coming weeks. New England, fresh off a Week 10 bye, will visit the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday before matchups against Dallas, Houston and Kansas City. Baltimore’s upcoming stretch will be equally challenging, as it will host the Texans this week, followed by tilts with the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills.
It’s tough not to be swept up by the Ravens hype given how electrifying Jackson has been playing. But let’s give it a little more time before we start overlooking the reigning Super Bowl champions as the premier team in their own conference.

Connelly’s Top Ten – Thank you Veterans

1.Bob Kraft asked Gronk to come back – how about some Gronk stuff:

*Best year: 2011 – 90 receptions / 1327 / 17 TD* Top receiving TD’s in a year: Moss 23 / Rice 22 / Mark Clayton 18 / Sterling Sharpe 18 / Gronk 17 (also Chris Carter/ Groman)2. #37 under-rated uniform number in Boston:

* Patrice Bergeron* Rodney Harrison* Bill Lee* Jimmy Piersall3. Gordon Hayward inspired an injury-prone list of local players – Bobby Orr, Kevin McHale, Larry Bird, Fred Lynn, Danny Amendola, Out of Service Pervous Ellison, David Price, David Krejci

4. If you just turned 18 years old – you never saw Drew Bledsoe start a game as a Patriots quarterback

5. Running Back AJ Dillon from BC is being abused – 43 touches on Saturday in another loss and he is leading the country in attempts by 36 rushes – is on pace for over 350 rushes this year

6. On Veteran’s Day 2001 Brady was sacked a Tony Eason like 7 times in his seventh start – defense led Patriots to a 20-11 victory – tackle leaders were Richard Seymour, Ted Johnson, and Lawyer Milloy

7. Amazing Stats – Bill Buckner and Jackie Bradley for Red Sox:

*Bill Buckner struck out 120 times in 2,224 plate appearances (1 every 18.5 plate appearances) / Jackie Bradley 780 strikeouts in 3,064 plate appearances (1 every 3.9 at-bats)8. Old School – Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox – used their leverage before Game 7 and refused to come out of the locker room while the sell out crowd at Fenway waited

9. Just a Little Bit Outside – Veterans Stuff

* Military movies – Mr. Roberts and Caine Mutiny under-rated* George Patton was benched for D Day* Red Auerbach got Jo Jo White out of Kansas in the draft and then had his military service amended so he could play for the Celtics10. Randomocity

*Robert Kraft asked Gronk to come back – if he gets hurt again and needs surgery – a lot for Kraft to carry* Poltergeist over-rated* Those first days of cold weather go right through you* Top three QB’s in NFL passing yards – Rivers, Prescott, Winston are leading teams to a combined 12-15* Nets had a winning record last year without Kyrie / losing record this year with Kyrie* Twenty-two veterans commit suicide a DAY
The post Connelly’s Top Ten – Thank you Veterans appeared first on Trifecta Sports.

Tom Brady Explains Why Patriots’ AFC-Best 8-1 Record ‘Doesn’t Matter’

The New England Patriots enter Week 11 with the AFC’s best record and the second-best mark in the NFL.
But Tom Brady knows as well as anybody that an 8-1 start won’t mean a darn thing come playoff time.
“What I think is at this point, it doesn’t matter,” the Patriots quarterback told Jim Gray during his weekly appearance on Westwood One Radio’s “Monday Night Football” pregame show. “Because 8-1 means nothing. In 2001, we won the Super Bowl and we were 5-5. In 2015, we were 10-0 and we lost four of our last six. You don’t have to look far. You look at the NHL — how were the St. Louis Blues halfway into (last) season? How were the Houston Astros two months into the season? Not very good. The point is any team at this point, their season is going to be determined by what happens the next seven weeks of football. Not the last nine or 10 — the next seven are going to determine what happens to these teams, their seedings, the playoffs and all that.
“And from our standpoint, I’m happy we’re 8-1, but I really want us to play our best football as we move forward. Everything that’s happened to this point, we’ve got to learn from, we’ve got to use it, and we’ve got to use those things and execute under pressure against the competition that’s going to be at it’s toughest. I’m looking forward to a great opportunity for our team.”

The 2018 Patriots sat at 7-3 following their bye week, then dropped two of their next four games before rattling off five straight wins en route to a Super Bowl title.
“I wasn’t thinking about the Super Bowl (10) games in,” Brady told Gray. “Last year, we were (7)-3. We were coming off one of the worst losses we had all season at Tennessee, where we got thoroughly outplayed, outcompeted that day. I wasn’t thinking about that. I was thinking, ‘Man, how are we going to get a win?’
“And we actually struggled at points in the second half of the season. But we found a way at the right time to play our best, and that’s what the outcome was. And every team is trying to do the exact same thing as what we did last year or what Philly did the year before where they won six of their last seven or we did the year before that where we played our best football at the end of the year in 2016.”
The Patriots are in the thick of the most difficult stretch of their 2019 schedule. After losing to the Baltimore Ravens in the game before their bye, they’ll now face the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs — all of whom currently are either in playoff position or less than one game back — before finding respite against the winless Cincinnati Bengals in Week 15.
“Football, it ebbs and it flows,” Brady told Gray. “It’s a long season. It’s a lot of matchups. But what I’ve learned over a lot of experience is the best teams play the best in the biggest moments down the stretch. We’re getting close to that stretch run, and we’re going to have to play our best football against the best teams.
“And there’s nothing I can say or do or the media can say or do or all the experts on TV who may think they know a lot, but in the end, they don’t know anything, because none of us know. We have to all go out there and earn it and do it, which makes it fun for everyone to watch these games as they unfold over the next month-and-a-half.”

Patriots Long Snapper Joe Cardona Offers Unique Perspective On Veterans Day

FOXBORO, Mass. — Monday’s holiday carried a special meaning for New England Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona.
In addition to being a key cog in the Patriots’ field-goal operation for the last five seasons, Cardona also serves as a Lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve. Speaking at his locker in an olive-green “Salute to Service” Patriots hoodie, the 27-year-old used his platform to explain the importance of Veterans Day.

“Ultimately, right now, the current population of the United States that are veterans is below 10 percent,” Cardona said. “I think they say it’s about 7.6 percent. And realistically, for a day where we can truly honor those that have served and those that continue to serve, it’s always a good opportunity to just recognize them, reach out and thank them for what they’ve done. And that’s what I like doing today — thanking those that are close to me that served and that continue to serve. …
“Any time we have service members, veterans, anybody who’s committed themselves to protecting our rights and freedoms as Americans — really, an NFL game is a display of all that. Everybody in that stadium is taking advantage of the freedoms that they’ve allotted to us and continue to fight and protect. Whether you’re playing or whether you’re enjoying the game in the stands, you have a lot to owe those that have served and those that continue to serve for that experience.”
Cardona, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2015, was promoted to his current rank this past June in a ceremony held on the Patriots practice field. He’s also sworn in fellow Navy members during training camp and participated in numerous military-related community endeavors, including donating 200 Patriots tickets to servicemen and women in 2017.
“Ultimately, as a member of the Armed Forces and as a member of the Naval Reserve, I’m going to continue to do my job on that side,” Cardona said. “And the more I continue to do and the more my career progresses, it’s just a point of pride that I get to involve my teammates and the greater New England area and shed a little bit more light on not my service, but those that are serving — actively serving, deployed and the veterans out there. That’s really the ultimate goal of it.”

Earlier today, #Patriots long snapper and US Navy Ensign Joe Cardona had the honor of swearing in two members of the Navy for reenlistment: pic.twitter.com/n0XbxO6j9y
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) August 7, 2017

Cardona was announced last week as the Patriots’ nominee for the NFL’s “Salute to Service Award,” which “honors a league member who demonstrates and exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community.”
“Ultimately, any awards or recognition, it’s always an honor,” Cardona said. “But when I’ve been chosen amongst my teammates — I know how much my teammates care, I know how much they do in the community and how much they support service members, veterans. So it really means a lot just to be counted amongst the great men in this locker room and be considered for an award.
“But really, my ultimate goal is to shed light on those that are continuing to serve and those who have gone before and make sure those folks are getting the respect and treatment that they deserve.”

PC’s Jack Dugan Wins Hockey East Player of the Week

24 points in 10 games. That is Providence College’s Jack Dugan’s eye popping stat line to start the 2019-20 season. On Monday the Sophomore was named Hockey East’s Player of the Week for the second time this season.

Dugan earned the honor this time around for putting up a six point weekend in a home-and-home series with Boston University. Dugan picked up two assists in Friday nights draw, and then four assists in PC’s win on Saturday. Dugan has five goals and 19 assists on the season and his 24 points leads the NCAA. He has now had a point in straight six games and two more more points in nine of the 10 games he has played in this season.

Dugan will have to be on his A-game this weekend when Providence has a home-and-home with Northeastern. He has been a catalyst of Providence’s success this season as the Friars have moved up to number 10 in the country and currently sit in second place in Hockey East.
The post PC’s Jack Dugan Wins Hockey East Player of the Week appeared first on Trifecta Sports.

Mohamed Sanu ‘Would Love’ To See Rob Gronkowski Rejoin Patriots

FOXBORO, Mass. — Hoping Rob Gronkowski will come out of retirement to rejoin the New England Patriots this season? Mohamed Sanu is, too.
Sanu, New England’s newest offensive weapon, said Monday he “would love” to play with Gronkowski, whose potential return has loomed over the Patriots since before training camp began.
“If he does, I would love it,” Sanu said. “Believe that. If he does, I would love it. Just got to go about it day by day and just do my part. Come, man, come.”

Gronkowski retired following Super Bowl LIII, and the Patriots’ new crop of tight ends hasn’t come close to matching the surefire Hall of Famer’s production, with Ben Watson, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo combining for just 17 catches on 26 targets for 241 yards and one touchdown through nine games. New England has sorely missed Gronkowski’s power in the running game, as well.
Coaxing Gronkowski back onto the field might be a pipe dream for the Patriots — the 30-year-old has stated in numerous media appearances that he’s thoroughly enjoying life away from football and has no plans to play in 2019 — but with team owner Robert Kraft reportedly asking the retired star to return for the playoff push, it remains a possibility.
If Gronkowski does plan on returning, he’ll need to do so soon. Per NFL rules, he would be ineligible to play this season if he is not added to the Patriots’ 53-man roster by Nov. 30.
The Patriots currently are relying on the Watson-LaCosse-Izzo trio at tight end to complement a receiving corps that features Sanu, Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski and recently activated first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry.

Sam Darnold Optimistic About Jets’ Playoff Chances After Second Win Of Season

The New York Jets won their second game of the season Sunday against the New York Giants, and Sam Darnold suddenly went from seeing ghosts against the New England Patriots to seeing a vision of the playoffs.

After the 34-27 victory at MetLife Stadium that moved the Jets to 2-7, the quarterback was asked if his team was more confident after snapping a three-game losing streak. Not only was his answer yes, it came with some serious optimism.
“We need every win from now on because we still have a chance,” Darnold said, per NJ.com’s Matt Stypulkoski. “I mean, if we get on a roll here and we win out, we have a chance at the playoffs. Guys in this locker room know that. We’re really excited to continue to get back to work. That’s what it’s about.”
That’s … bold.
While Darnold isn’t wrong and the Jets technically still could earn a playoff berth, it certainly will be no easy task. Especially with games against the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens in the coming weeks.

Connor McMichael Headlines London Knights Competing in Canada/Russia Series

LONDON, Ont.— Connor McMichael was bright-eyed and smiling ear to ear when he was mentioned in the same sentence as former London Knights players, Mitch Marner and Patrick Kane.

That is because the Knights forward currently has more points than the respective NHL stars do. In just 16 games, McMichael has 19 goals, 22 assists for 41 points.

For reference, Marner has 18 points in 18 games played. Kane has 20 points in 17 games.

“Those are pretty big names,” said McMichael after the OHL’s morning practice. “I’m off to a good start and hopefully I can keep it up.”
 
When one references the city of London, Ontario, it is accompanied by fervent enthusiasm for the London Knights. As a result of the leadership of brothers Mark and Dale Hunter, the Knights have become the model OHL franchise. Winning four OHL championships and two Memorial Cups in the 2010’s decade alone.

With Game 2 of the Canada/Russia series being played at London’s Budweiser Gardens on Monday night, it provides a familiar amphitheater for the Knights players and coaches on Team OHL to shine.

“It is always an honour to host this game,” said Team OHL Head Coach Dale Hunter. “You got the best of both countries out here competing. Our fans are really excited about the game and so am I.”
 
For McMichael, the Canada/Russia series is a stepping stone to his ultimate goal of making Canada’s World Junior hockey team. The tournament has symbolized a gathering place for the 18-year-old and his family every Boxing Day. Like so many Canadian hockey players, McMichael grew up watching and idolizing the youngsters that would become the sport’s top-tiered stars.
Slow Start for McMichael in OHL
Growing up in Scarborough, McMichael began his hockey career with the Ajax/Pickering Raiders. In his OHL draft year, the forward recorded 35 goals and 27 assists for the Raiders. This propelled McMichael to being drafted in the first round of the OHL Priority Selection to the Hamilton Bulldogs.

But the adjustment to the Junior A level needed time getting used to. The natural offensive skills that gifted McMichael in Triple AAA took longer to harness at the OHL level. After registering just 10 points in 32 games for his rookie season, the Bulldogs traded McMichael to the London Knights for current St. Louis Blues player Robert Thomas and five draft picks.

Being a part of the demanding, winning culture in London was well suited for McMichael’s game. His offensive production soared in 2018-19, registering 36 goals, 36 assists in 67 games played.

McMichael’s innate ability to anticipate often puts him in scoring situations. His speed allows him to break up plays in the neutral zone while giving him the edges and balance to be a force in the offensive end. The high hockey IQ at such a young age was the impetus for McMichael to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft by the Washington Capitals. An organization that prides itself on molding goal scorers.

McMichael Eyeing World Junior Berth

Being sent back to the London Knights has propelled McMichael to being one of junior hockey’s top scorers. His lightning-quick shot was put on full display in Game 1 of the Canada/Russia series, scoring a goal en route to the OHL’s 4-1 victory over the Russians. Despite being knowledgeable of the Hunter brothers coaching style, McMichael is not afraid to showcase different facets of his game.

“There are a lot of skilled players, who have the same roles on our respective junior teams,” said McMichael. “To make the junior team, you can’t just be a top-six scoring forward. For me, I have to accept different roles such as focusing on defense.”
 
McMichael joins Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Liam Foudy and San Jose Sharks defensive youngster Ryan Merkley as the London Knights players represented in the Canada/Russia series. With World Junior training camp just around the corner, this game provides a revealing test to see who has what it takes on the international level.

Given the identity of success surrounding the London Knights, it won’t be surprising to see McMichael and others being selected to sport the red and white Canadian jerseys this December.
The post Connor McMichael Headlines London Knights Competing in Canada/Russia Series appeared first on Last Word on Sports.

Tom Brady ‘Not Privy’ To Conversations Regarding Rob Gronkowski’s Return

Rumors (again) began to run rampant over the weekend regarding Rob Gronkowski returning to football after Robert Kraft was reported to be hopeful for the former tight end’s return for the remainder of the regular and postseason.

Gronkowski called it quits back in March and since has been living his best life. The 30-year-old now serves as an analyst for FOX Sports, but has yet to officially file retirement papers with the NFL. And while Gronk hasn’t exactly shown signs of wanting to return to the gridiron, the report released Sunday by NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport has everyone talking about it again.
Naturally, Tom Brady was asked about it during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Monday. So, is there any truth to Kraft wanting Gronkowski back for the final stretch of the 2019 season?
“I am really good friends with Gronk. We have had a great relationship for 10 years,” Brady said, as transcribed by WEEI’s Ryan Hannable. “Just because things are reported doesn’t necessarily mean they are always true, just for the record. … I don’t know. Those are conversations I am not privy to.”
The only person who knows his next move is Gronkowski himself. But we won’t know what that answer is until Nov. 30, when Gronkowski has to decide if he indeed does want to return to the game of football.