Review Category : National Sports

Nick Saban: Show Our ‘Best’ Against Texas A&M

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) — Seventh ranked Alabama (5-1) will host No. 21 Texas A&M (5-2) in a huge SEC matchup on Saturday.

Alabama’s offense has struggled the last three games and the team is coming off a 14-13 win over Arkansas last weekend.

Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban understands the expectations this team has and is preparing them for another tough game.

“We’re going to certainly have to be at our best to do a good job of trying to get them stopped, and also to control the ball on offense so they don’t have it all the time,” Saban said. “Those things are really critical in a game like this.”

Texas A&M won last year’s showdown in a 49-42 slugfest and Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin was asked about his favorite memories at Tuscaloosa.

“We’ve had two great football games, games that really went down to the last play,” Sumlin said on Tuesday. “We won one and lost one. Going back over there, it’s a great atmosphere, a great crowd, a loud place. They’ve got a tremendous amount of pride in their program and they should, with the number of national championships and the number of wins.”

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Nets Center Brook Lopez Out 10-14 Days with Foot Injury

NBA via Brooklyn Nets(NEW YORK) — Brooklyn Nets fans are holding their breath as center Brook Lopez will miss the next 10-14 days to deal with a “soft tissue” injury in his surgically repaired right foot.

The team will give him some time off to recover, but his status for the start of the season is in question now.

“X-ray and CT scan studies done Thursday in New York reveal no fractures or bone injuries,” Nets medical director Dr. Riley Williams II said in a statement. “Brook has been diagnosed with a mild midfoot sprain and is likely to be out for approximately 10-14 days.”

Lopez’ health will go a long way in determining just how good the Nets can be this season.

When healthy, Lopez is one of the more offensively skilled centers in the NBA. In his six-year career, the 26-year-old Lopez is averaging 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

He’s battled injuries in recent years though. He played in just 17 games last season and played in just five games three seasons ago. He’s missed 134 games over the last three seasons.

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Patriots Edge Jets, 27-25 Thanks to Blocked Field Goal

Jim Rogash/Getty Images(FOXBOROUGH, Mass.) — In a game that ended closer than some had previously predicted, the New England Patriots look to be back on track after narrowly defeating the New York Jets 27-25 on Thursday Night Football.

With time expiring, Jets kicker Nick Folk lined up for a 58-yard field goal but it was blocked by defensive tackle Chris Jones.

“It’s good to feel that ball hitting my hand and it’s good to get the win,” Jones said. “I just played it legally and did all that I could.”

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was solid on Thursday night as he completed 20 of 37 passes for 261 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.

Running back Shane Vereen was the leading rusher and receiver for the Patriots as he racked up 43 yards one the ground, had 71 receiving yards, and caught two touchdowns.

After a tough start to the season, the Patriots find themselves at 5-2 through seven weeks of the regular season and are in first place in the AFC East.

The Jets meanwhile fell to 1-6 on the season.

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Payton “Optimistic” Graham Will Play Sunday

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(METAIRIE, La.) — New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham practiced on a limited basis Thursday, prompting head coach Sean Payton to say he’s optimistic the superstar can play Sunday.

Graham hadn’t participated in team drills since injuring his shoulder Oct. 5 against the Tampa Buccaneers.

Even if he’s not ready for a full game, Graham could play on a limited basis Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

In five games this season, Graham has caught 34 balls, for 376 yards and three touchdowns.

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Durant has Successful Foot Surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder/NBA(NEW YORK) — Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant had successful surgery on his right foot to repair a Jones fracture, the team announced Thursday.

Durant will be re-evaluated in six weeks; he’s expected to miss six to eight weeks.

“Successful surgery, thanks for all the prayers and concerns! Headed back to okc. Move em,” Durant tweeted Thursday.

The team became aware of Durant’s problem after practice Saturday when the reigning league MVP said his foot was “aching.” The Thunder then announced Sunday that Durant had endured the Jones fracture, which is a broken bone at the base of the small toe, and that surgery would probably be necessary.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson at the OrthoCarolina Foot and Ankle Clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The 26-year-old Durant averaged 32 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game last season.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 10/16/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — NHL: New York Islanders 4 (4-0-0; 8pts) – San Jose Sharks 3 (3-0-1; 7pts) SO

New York Rangers 2 (2-3-0; 4pts) – Carolina Hurricanes 1 (0-2-2; 2pts) SO

Montreal Canadiens 6 (4-1-0; 8pts) – Boston Bruins 4 (2-4-0; 4pts)

Washington Capitals 6 (2-0-2; 6pts) – New Jersey Devils 2 (3-1-0; 6pts)

Dallas Stars 3 (2-1-1; 5pts) – Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (2-1-0; 4pts)

Ottawa Senators 5 (3-1-0; 6pts) – Colorado Avalanche 3 (1-3-1; 3pts)

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Report: Rangers Hire Jeff Banister as Manager

iStockphoto(ARLINGTON, Texas) — The Texas Rangers have hired Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister as their next manager, according to ESPN.

The 49-year-old Banister has spent the past 29 seasons in the Pirates organization handling various roles. His first managerial experience was leading Welland in the New York-Penn League in 1994. Bannister left after the season to manage Class A Augusta. In five seasons as a minor league manager, he compiled a record of 299-300.

Banister was selected by the Pirates in the 25th round of the 1986 MLB draft. He appeared in one game during his big league career, recording a pinch-hit single in his only at-bat on July 23, 1991.

Banister replaces interim manager Tim Bogar, who led the Rangers to a 14-8 record following the resignation of manager Ron Washington on Sept. 5.

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Report: Rangers Hire Jeff Banister as Manager

iStockphoto(ARLINGTON, Texas) — The Texas Rangers have hired Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister as their next manager, according to ESPN.

The 49-year-old Banister has spent the past 29 seasons in the Pirates organization handling various roles. His first managerial experience was leading Welland in the New York-Penn League in 1994. Bannister left after the season to manage Class A Augusta. In five seasons as a minor league manager, he compiled a record of 299-300.

Banister was selected by the Pirates in the 25th round of the 1986 MLB draft. He appeared in one game during his big league career, recording a pinch-hit single in his only at-bat on July 23, 1991.

Banister replaces interim manager Tim Bogar, who led the Rangers to a 14-8 record following the resignation of manager Ron Washington on Sept. 5.

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Talladega Superspeedway Preview

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(TALLADEGA, Ala.) — The Chase field will be cut from 12 to eight on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.

The final stage of the contender round will take place in the Geico 500 and Denny Hamlin is looking forward to another shot after winning at the track in May.

“My guess is that [Brad Keselowski] will probably try to wreck everyone — that’s his only shot,” Hamlin said this week. “He’ll just be out of control like normal. We’ll do what we have to do to get in and that’s the big picture.”

Keselowski was fined $50,000 on Tuesday for a post-race altercation with Tony Stewart at Charlotte.

Jeff Gordon leads active drivers with six Talladega victories, but still isn’t looking forward to the race.

“Nobody wants to deal with Talladega,” Gordon said this week. “Everybody would like to take the weekend off there if they could. Two guys [Contender Round winners Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano] in some ways get to, and the rest of us are going to have to go race there. We’ve got a little bit of a cushion but not near enough to be comfortable by any means.”

“We’ll go and race the way we normally do there, which is just try to be smart, try to stay out of the mess and then put ourselves in a good position to get a good finish [and] hope it works out,” he continued.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has five victories at Talladega and won a record four straight from 2001-2003. Unlike Gordon, he’s looking forward to the track.

“[We just have to] go out there and win it. We can do it. We have won there a lot of times,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I know what we need to do. We will just have to build a fast car and hope that we don’t have any gremlins and try to go out there and win it.”

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Joe Flacco: Still Have to Put the Work In

Rob Carr/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) — The Baltimore Ravens will have the spotlight to themselves after the Orioles were knocked out of the ALCS by the Royals on Wednesday.

Fresh off throwing five touchdown passes, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is making sure his team does everything they can to prepare the right way after blowing out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday.

Flacco said the biggest challenge the team will face after an easy win is “coming in here and reminding yourself and everybody to put the work in. I think that comes naturally for us, it’s something we’re good at doing, once you get out there on Sunday everything takes care of itself.”

Concerning Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, Flacco said: “We were in the same class. As long as you’re still talking about us, we’re somewhat relevant, so I guess that’s a good thing. It’s nice to see that we are still relevant.”

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh knows the Falcons will be hungry for a win after losing three in a row.

“Atlanta’s good. They’re going to be on turf, so they’re going to be fast,” Harbaugh said. “They’ve got big, fast receivers. They’ve got fast running backs, and they got a quarterback that drives the whole thing. That’s an explosive football team, and we’ve got to be ready for them.”

The Ravens will host the Atlanta Falcons, who are 0-3 on the road this season.

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