Review Category : National Sports

Phil Jackson Makes Plea to Knicks Fans

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In the midst of the worst season in franchise history, New York Knicks executive Phil Jackson made a plea to Knicks fans that better days are ahead.

Jackson sent a letter and video message to season ticket holders about the state of franchise.

“While I know this has been a challenging season for our team on the court, I can also tell you that everyone in the organization is working tirelessly to get our Knicks back to a place where we are once again competing at the highest level,” Jackson said in the video.

“We have made key roster moves to free up significant cap space that will provide us greater flexibility to acquire talent in this summer’s free agency,” Jackson continued. “And for the first time in many years, we expect to have a top pick in the NBA Draft this June.

“These are key steps to building a roster of players that have both the talent and character to win in New York and who, alongside Carmelo Anthony, will become a team that can become a consistent winner,” he added.

Entering Wednesday, the Knicks are 14-60, which is the worst record in the NBA.

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Bulls’ Derrick Rose Returns to Practice, Return Date Still Unknown

NBA via Chicago Bulls(NEW YORK) — With the NBA Playoffs roughly two weeks away, reinforcements could be coming for the Chicago Bulls as point guard Derrick Rose has returned to practice.

Rose returned to full-contact activities in practice for the first time since he had surgery on February 27 to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

“He was good today,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said after practice. “A little winded, which is to be expected. Body on body, full court. But it will come. The more he does that, the faster it will come.”

Despite the improvement in health, it’s unknown just when Rose will return.

“We can’t jump ahead,” Thibodeau added. “He’s been out a long time. So he’s got to work his way through it. We have to concentrate on getting everyone ready.”

Recovering from his third knee surgery in as many years, the former MVP has missed 17 games this season. In 46 games this season, Rose is averaging 18.4 points, 5.0 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per game.

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Rockets’ Patrick Beverley to Undgergo Wrist Surgery, Out for Rest of the Season

Jed Jacobson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — James Harden will have to continue carrying the Houston Rockets on his back as injuries have struck the team again. The Rockets announced that starting point guard Patrick Beverley will miss the rest of the season with a wrist injury.

Beverley will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist. He had originally opted to not have the procedure, but ultimately decided it was the best course of action.

“We’ll miss Pat in a lot of different ways,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale told reporters. “He brings a lot of toughness. He’s been really good for us slowing down guys the last couple of years. But we’ll use all the resources we have and figure out what we need to do that night.”

Beverley is just the latest member of the Rockets to miss time due to injury. Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones, and Donatas Motijuanas have all miss extended time this season.

Despite the injuries, the Rockets have the third-best record in the Western Conference.

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Red Sox Send Catcher Vasquez to DL, Uehara May Follow

Major League Baseball(BOSTON, Ma.) — The Boston Red Sox have sent catcher Christian Vasquez to the 60-Day disabled list after being diagnosed with a right elbow sprain.

Vasquez was sent to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion after an MRI discovered a problem in the right elbow of the 24-year-old catcher. In a corresponding move, the Red Sox acquired catcher Sandy Leon from the Washington Nationals.

The Red Sox were expected to employ both Vasquez and Ryan Hanigan, whom the team acquired from the San Diego Padres in exchange for third baseman Will Middlebrooks, as a platoon for the team’s catching position.

Additionally, the team’s closer Koji Uehara will likely start the season on the disabled list after the 39-year-old felt tightness in his hamstring upon concluding a 30-pitch bullpen session.

“I don’t know when I’ll be back,” Uehara said through interpreter C.J. Matsumoto. “It’s a day-to-day process. I have to do what I have to do to get ready.”

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Penguins Letang Released from Hospital

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) — Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was released from the hospital Sunday and diagnosed with a concussion after a scary collision in Saturday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes.

Letang lay on the ice in a disoriented state when he fell backwards into the boards after a check by Coyotes winger Shane Doan.

“I just went to make sure I got a piece of him so he couldn’t jump by me and he obviously went into the boards awkward,” Doan said.

“You never ever want to see anyone like that, especially a guy with his caliber and everything he’s went through in the past couple years,” he added. “You feel awful as a player when something like that happens.”

Letang has a history of concussions and suffered a stroke last season, in what doctors attributed to a small hole in his heart.

Currently, there is no scheduled date for Letang’s return, according to coach Mike Johnston.

“We’ll see how he feels over the next few days and go from there,” Johnston said.

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Eagles Sign Miles Austin to One-Year Deal

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(PHILADELPHIA, Pa.) — The Philadelphia Eagles have signed wide receiver Miles Austin to a one-year deal, according to NFL Network.

The deal is worth $2.3 million, with an opportunity to earn $700,000 in incentives, according to Ian Rappaport of NFL Network.

Austin, 30, played 12 games last season for the Cleveland Browns, where he caught 47 passes for 568 yards and two touchdowns.

Injuries have hampered the receiver over the past four seasons as he has missed 15 games due to various ailments.

The move is a bit of a homecoming for Austin, who is a native of New Jersey and alumnus of Monmouth University.

If Austin makes the final roster, he is expected to serve as the backup to Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, and Riley Cooper.

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Scoreboard Roundup 3/30/15

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — NBA: Boston Celtics 116 (33-41) – Charlotte Hornets 104 (31-42)

Los Angeles Lakers 113 (20-53) – Philadelphia 76ers 111 (18-57)

Atlanta Hawks 101 (56-18) – Milwaukee Bucks 88 (36-38)

Toronto Raptors 99 (44-30) – Houston Rockets 96 (50-24)

Memphis Grizzlies 97 (51-24) – Sacramento Kings 83 (26-47)

Utah Jazz 104 (33-41) – Minnesota Timberwolves 84 (16-58)

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning 5 (47-23-7; 101pts) – Montreal Canadiens 3 (47-22-8; 102pts)

Vancouver Canucks 4 (44-27-5; 93pts) – St. Louis Blues 1 (46-23-7; 99pts)

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Falcons Fined $350K & Lose NFL Draft Selection

Football Texture/iStockphoto(NEW YORK) — The National Football League fined the Atlanta Falcons $350,000 on Monday for piping in crowd noise during home games at the Georgia Dome over the past two seasons.

The Falcons will also have their fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft taken away. If they have multiple picks in that round, the league will dock the highest selection.

“What took place was wrong and nowhere near the standards by which we run our business,” Falcons owner and chairman Arthur Blank said in a statement. “Anytime there are actions that compromise the integrity of the NFL or threaten the culture of our franchise, as this issue did, they will be dealt with swiftly and strongly.”

The NFL also suspended Falcons president Rich McKay from the league’s competition committee from April 1 through at least June 30.

“The Falcons and all of our other businesses are built upon a foundation of values that drive our decision making,” said Blank. “The issue was a clear failure in that regard. I apologize for any embarrassment this situation has caused the NFL, our fans and our Falcons players and associates.”

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Browns GM Ray Farmer Suspended Four Games

NFL(NEW YORK) — The National Football League suspended Browns general manager Ray Farmer without pay for the first four games of the 2015 regular season on Monday for sending text messages to team personnel during games in 2014. The league also fined Cleveland $250,000.

Farmer’s suspension will begin on the midnight of the Sunday before the Browns’ Week 1 contest and concludes following the team’s Week 4 game. During the ban, Farmer won’t be allowed to deal with team business or permitted to be at the team’s facilities or games.

“I respect the league’s decision and understand that there are consequences for my actions,” Farmer said in a statement. “Accountability is integral to what we are trying to build and as a leader I need to set the right example. I made a mistake and apologize to Jimmy Haslam, Mike Pettine, our entire organization and our fans for the ramifications. Learning is a big part of who I am and I will certainly be better from this situation.”

According to ESPN, Farmer texted an assistant coach and an unnamed team representative on the sideline that dealt with use of personnel and in-game strategy.

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Seahawks QB Russell Wilson Not Concerned over Contract Situation

Kevin Casey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — While Quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and even Joe Flacco are among the highest paid players in the NFL, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson remains one of the best bargains in the league at $1.5 million, which he’ll make next season. It’s one of the lowest salaries for a starting quarterback in the NFL, let alone a Super Bowl champion.

Still, with one year left on his current deal, Wilson isn’t worrying about a new deal just yet.

“In terms of my contract, I don’t really talk about that kind of stuff,” Wilson told the Everett Herald. “I love the game of football. I love playing the game of football. I try to put my best foot forward and I want to be the best to ever play the game. That’s the way I look at it.”

“I’ve been fortunate enough to win a lot of games at such a young age and to be able to play with some great guys and have some great comeback wins and win a Super Bowl, and go to back to back Super Bowls,” he continued. “It’s been special. So that’s what I focus on. I focus on the next opportunity that I have. The rest will come.”

In just three NFL seasons, Wilson is already considered one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

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