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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Clippers star Blake Griffin apologizes for breaking hand in fight; Doc Rivers ‘not satisfied’

01.27.16 at 8:08 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Nuggets at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Rockets at Spurs, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Mavericks at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at Clemson, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: DePaul at Butler, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Rutgers at Michigan, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: St. John’s at Seton Hall, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Texas A&M at Arkansas, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Tulsa at Houston, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Baylor at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Purdue at Minnesota, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Loyola-Chicago at Wichita State, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Stetson at Marquette, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: California at Utah, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Boise State at UNLV, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)
NHL: Flyers at Capitals, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Avalanche at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)


— Blake Griffin tweeted an apology for his indiscretion that left him with a broken hand, but Clippers coach Doc Rivers still was far from satisfied after learning he’ll be without his star forward for at least another month.

Griffin, who was close to returning from a quadriceps injury that had sidelined him since Dec. 26, broke his fourth metacarpal in his shooting hand when he reportedly punched a member of the team’s equipment staff at a Toronto restaurant over the weekend.

Tweeted Griffin: A situation among friends escalated and I regret the way I handled myself towards someone I care about. I want to apologize to the Clippers organization, my teammates and the fans for creating a distraction. I am working with the team on a resolution and getting back in the game as soon as possible.

Griffin returned early from the team’s road trip to have a procedure on the hand and receive treatment from an orthopedic surgeon. He is expected to be punished after a team and league investigation.

“I’m not satisfied,” Rivers said before Tuesday’s game against the Pacers in Indianapolis. “I’m not satisfied with anything. I’m talking about a non-basketball issue right now, so I’m not satisfied with anything.”

Griffin is said to have gotten into a fight with equipment manager Matias Testi, with whom he has been friendly — at least until this incident.

“It happened, but it shouldn’t happen. They were good friends,” Rivers said. “It’s frustrating. You don’t want it to happen to anyone. You don’t want it to happen during the season. You don’t want it to happen after the season. This type of stuff shouldn’t happen, but it did, and it’s real lift, and you have to deal with real life sometimes in our make-believe world.”

Rivers and team owner Steve Ballmer earlier released a statement denouncing Griffin’s behavior.

“This conduct has no place in our organization and this incident does not represent who we are as a team,” the joint statement read.

— Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson will not go to jail for his run-in with police last summer in Missouri, but the 25-year-old is likely to be punished by the league.

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Report: Clippers forward Blake Griffin suffers fractured hand in ‘team-related incident’

01.26.16 at 10:33 am ET
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Clippers forward Blake Griffin reportedly suffered a fracture in his right hand and returned home early from his team’s current road trip. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne, Griffin sustained the injury in what is being called “an undisclosed team-related incident.”

Update: ESPN reports Griffin injured his hand when he hit a member of team’s equipment staff during an argument at a Toronto restaurant.

The five-time NBA All-Star already was dealing with a torn quadriceps muscle that has kept him sidelined since Dec. 26. The new injury reportedly will keep him out “a matter of weeks, as opposed to days.”

The Clippers have three games left on their five-game road trip and will be eager to get Griffin back in their lineup upon recovery. In 30 games this season he has averaged 23.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game.

The Clippers did not immediately issue a statement but are expected to provide some clarity on the situation Tuesday.

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Panthers LB Thomas Davis plans to play in Super Bowl after surgery on broken arm

01.26.16 at 10:29 am ET
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Thomas Davis

Thomas Davis

Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis had surgery Monday morning to repair his broken right forearm, an injury he suffered during Sunday’s NFC championship game. Despite the two-week turnaround to Super Bowl Sunday, Davis is planning to play through any pain he may have in the Feb. 7 showdown with the Broncos.

“My understanding is if everything goes well it is something he can mostly certainly play with,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “So we are excited about that possibility.”

Davis, an 11-year NFL veteran and first-team All-Pro selection this season, is no stranger to pain. He has recovered from three torn ACLs in the same knee, and never saw a change in his steady on-field production.

“He said [he was going to play] with the same type of sincerity he said to me when he told me he was coming back from the third ACL,” Rivera said. “There is something about his conviction and I think that’s what makes him who he is today. So I have no doubt that as long as everything continues to heal the way it’s supposed to, he’ll be out there.”

It seems clear that as long as pain tolerance is the only issue, Davis will not be missing a game of this magnitude for his team. After all, he has played on the Panthers since 2005 and has never had the chance to win a Super Bowl.

“It hurt. It was painful,” Davis said. “At the same time I believe in our training staff and I believe in the process. If it is at all possible I know they are going to get me back and I will do my part to make sure I’m ready.”

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Underdog Broncos turn attention to Super Bowl after playing ‘even beyond our own standards’ to beat Patriots

01.26.16 at 8:05 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Ducks at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Blackhawks at Hurricanes, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Avalanche at Sharks, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Thunder at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Mavericks at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Florida State at Boston College, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Xavier at Providence, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Creighton at Georgetown, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Indiana at Wisconsin, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Texas Tech at Oklahoma, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Kansas State at West Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Memphis at UCF, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Southeast Louisiana at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Florida at Vanderbilt, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Georgia at LSU, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: San Diego State at Nevada, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
Tennis: Australian Open, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)


— As the Broncos turn their attention to the NFC champion Panthers and Super Bowl 50, they are hoping to carry the momentum from Sunday’s victory over the favored Patriots in the AFC championship game.

The Broncos again are the underdogs, and that’s just fine with players such as defensive end DeMarcus Ware.

“Let’s bring the Orange Crush back. That’s the way we played [against New England],” Ware said (via the Denver Post). “We played even beyond our own standards. It was the type of game that’s going to carry over and motivate us in the Super Bowl.”

Ware is being credited with inspiring the Broncos for Sunday’s game, as he gave an impassioned speech to the team Saturday night, using the image in the team’s weight room of “Iron Sharpens Iron” as inspiration.

“Coach [Gary] Kubiak knows I will speak from what’s on my heart,” Ware said Monday. “I saw the image and went from there.”

According to the Denver Post, Ware, who had never played in a conference championship game, reminded his teammates of the importance of playing for one another.

“That was probably one of the best pregame speeches I’ve heard,” cornerback Aqib Talib said. “Right afterward, I said, ‘We need to do that right before we get dressed for the game. … It touched everybody. It was goose bumps.”

The next challenge for the Broncos is trying to contain the high-scoring Panthers offense, led by MVP favorite Cam Newton.

“He’s probably the most dangerous player in the NFL right now,” Talib said. “He’s the best of both worlds.”

Added Kubiak after watching film of Carolina’s dominance of the Cardinals: “They’ve been dominant in all phases.”

— One day before the accuser in the Jameis Winston rape case was to give a deposition, Florida State announced it has settled with the woman. The school will pay $950,000 — $250,000 to Erica Kinsman and $700,000 to her attorneys — and make a five-year commitment to sexual assault awareness and prevention.

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Read More: Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware, Jameis Winston, Yu Darvish

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Former Bronco Shannon Sharpe, Denver Police troll Patriots

01.25.16 at 7:58 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Bruins at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Sabres at Rangers, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Celtics at Wizards, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Timberwolves at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Spurs at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Alabama A&M at Southern, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Duke at Miami, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Davidson at Richmond, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Lafayette at Bucknell, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Kansas at Iowa State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Virginia at Wake Forest, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Tennis: Australian Open, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)


Shannon Sharpe reveled in the Broncos' win over the Patriots in Sunday's AFC championship game. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Shannon Sharpe reveled in the Broncos‘ win over the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC championship game. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

— Former Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe does not have the same platform he once had, as he was fired as a CBS analyst two years ago, so he’s taken to Twitter to express his pleasure at Patriots fans’ disappointment following Sunday’s AFC championship game.

Sharpe, who took shots at Tom Brady and the Patriots after the Broncos‘ overtime win during the regular season, was back at it after Sunday’s AFC championship game, taunting New Englanders to tweet at him so he could fire off insults in return.

While Sharpe’s uncreative comments showed the likely reason he was dismissed by CBS, the Hall of Famer kept busy firing off insults. Among his highlights:

Pats would’ve had a healthy Brady, Gronk, Collins, Hightower Amendola and Edleman.They would’ve destroyed the Broncos. Wait they did.

I’m a concerned citizen. @POTUS we need as many men as you can spare because the Broncos killed the Pats. SB 50 bound. Run tell dat.

In the famous words of coach Belichick. Broncos are on to SB 50

Sharpe eventually acknowledged respecting what the Patriots have accomplished, but he doesn’t like the excuses the fans make when the Pats lose, and he doesn’t care for some of the obnoxious comments from the fan base.

Wrote Sharpe: Don’t believe I’ll see what Pats have done in 15yrs again, but some of their fans are disrespectful. And: Respect the tm, but won’t let fans attack me.

The Denver Police got in on the trolling as well, tweeting the Patriots for their lack of offense in the first half of Sunday’s game. Tweeted the department’s official feed next to an emoji of a winking face: MISSING PERSONS unit heading to @SportsAuthField to try & locate Patriots Offense. GO @Broncos.

— Longtime Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan returned to ESPN on Sunday, after reportedly being suspended for comments he made about NBA analyst Mark Jackson.

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Thinking Out Loud: Providence’s win over No. 18 Butler huge considering tough week ahead

01.22.16 at 5:30 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering just where in the world Marshon Brooks might be.

— Not really certain what it means, but up until Tuesday night it seemed like the Providence College basketball team couldn’t win at home all of a sudden. One thought to this perplexing problem — visitors have a tendency to “gear up” mentally when they know they’re going on the road to play a nationally ranked team. PC, for all of its’ obvious talent, isn’t mature enough yet to match that intensity.

— Double-teaming Kris Dunn has become a staple of the opponents’ game-planning for the Friars. It’s slowing down his offensive effectiveness and forcing more mistakes. Just another speed bump on Dunn’s ultimate drive toward success. But he’ll need to learn not to force things, so he doesn’t handicap his teammates. The recent spate of foul trouble he’s had is an example.

— Yes, it was a big win over 18th-ranked Butler at the Dunk on Tuesday, no question. Facing the gauntlet of No. 4 Villanova (away), No. 5 Xavier (home) and traditional Big East beast Georgetown (away) all in succession over the next week made beating and sweeping the Bulldogs imperative.

— The Friars are 3-1 against nationally ranked teams this season, at the present time. It’s a good calling card to play when it comes to consideration for a postseason tournament invitation.

— Speaking of Villanova, can anyone beat the ‘Cats? Twenty-two straight Big East wins — including three in the run to a tournament championship last season, one against the Friars — are on the line Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Nova knocked off Friar-killing Seton Hall Wednesday in Newark by a single point.

— And the Saturday to Sunday postponement thing? No big deal, so bring on the snow. However, it does make game-planning and preparations a bit more difficult for sixth-ranked Xavier on Tuesday night at the Dunk. One less day to prepare for the next top-five team the Friars will face.

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Chiefs coach Andy Reid defends clock management vs. Patriots

01.22.16 at 7:46 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Bulls at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Heat at Raptors, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Pacers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Toledo at Northern Illinois, 6:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Rhode Island at George Washington, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Canisius at Niagara, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Albany at Stony Brook, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College hockey: Vermont at UConn, 8:30 p.m. (NESN)
Tennis: Australian Open, 3 p.m., 9 p.m. (ESPN2)


— The Chiefs have taken some heat for their clock management late in Sunday’s loss to the Patriots, but coach Andy Reid stands firm that it wasn’t an issue.

During an interview with Kansas City’s 610 Sports Radio, Reid defending himself against those who pointed to Sunday’s time-consuming drive in the fourth quarter as yet another example of his poor game management skills.

“I think clock management’s very important,” Reid said (via Pro Football Talk). “Every situation’s different. It’s a fluid situation on the spot and you’ve got to go off of feel. … This situation, I think, was handled right.”

The Chiefs did not appear to have any urgency as they worked their way down the field despite trailing by two touchdowns. (“At that point it really didn’t matter to me. I wanted to make sure we were calling the best plays,” Reid said.) Although they scored a touchdown, they did not get the ball back after the Patriots recovered the onside kick and then got a first down.

“I thought we handled it right,” Reid said. “You give us a minute on the clock and three timeouts, we feel like we can move the ball pretty good.”

— Former UConn star and NBA player Tate George continued to claim innocence while being sentenced Thursday in New Jersey to nine years in prison for running a $2 million real estate Ponzi scheme.

George, who also was ordered to pay $2.5 million in restitution, did not apologize to his victims, including current NBA player Charlie Villanueva, but instead claimed his real estate projects still had a chance of succeeding.

“For the umpteenth time, I’m sorry — I’m sorry the projects got delayed,” said George, who played at UConn in the late 1980s and in the NBA with the Nets and Bucks from 1990 until ’95.

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Rex Ryan, Bills hire NFL’s 1st female assistant coach

01.21.16 at 8:08 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Canucks at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Clippers at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Spurs at Suns, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Hofstra at Northeastern, 8 p.m. (CSNNE)
College basketball: Iowa at Rutgers, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kentucky at Arkansas, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Memphis at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Ohio State at Purdue, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Belmont at Tennessee-Martin, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Arizona State at California, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Rice at Alabama-Birmingham, 9:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Utah at Washington State, 11 p.m. (FS1)
Tennis: Australian Open, 3 p.m., 11 p.m. (ESPN2)


Kathryn Smith

Kathryn Smith

— A week after naming his twin brother assistant head coach, Rex Ryan made bigger news with his latest staff hiring. Kathryn Smith will be the Bills’ special teams quality control coach, making her the first full-time female assistant in NFL history.

Smith has worked alongside Ryan for the past seven years, including last season as an administrative assistant for Buffalo’s assistant coaches.

“She certainly deserves this promotion based on her knowledge and strong commitment, just to name a couple of her outstanding qualities,” Ryan said in a statement. “She has proven that she’s ready for the next step, so I’m excited and proud for her with this opportunity.”

Bills offensive lineman Richie Incognito, not known for his sensitivity, tweeted support for Smith, writing: Congrats Kathryn!! I know you will do a great job.

The Cardinals had Boston College product Jen Welter serve a six-week coaching internship during training camp last season, and Ryan said he consulted with Arizona coach Bruce Arians before promoting Smith. Ryan also noted how well Becky Hammon has done as an NBA assistant with the Spurs.

“You can see the success some of these young ladies are having in the coaching profession, such as the young lady that is an assistant to Coach [Gregg] Popovich at the San Antonio Spurs, and realize how exciting this is for women like Kathryn Smith as well as the Bills organization,” Ryan said.

Smith started working for the Jets in 2003 as a game day/special events intern. She became a college scouting intern two years later and the team’s player personnel assistant in 2007.

She replaces Michael Hamlin, who was not retained after this season.

— Relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman became a concern this offseason when news broke that Florida police were investigating an accusation of domestic violence against him.

While the Dodgers pulled out of a deal for the hard-throwing Cuban, the Yankees stepped in and acquired him. And Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner remains unapologetic about it.

“In this country, when allegations are brought against a person, that person is completely innocent until proven otherwise. Not the other way around,” Steinbrenner said Wednesday at baseball’s owner’s meetings in Coral Gables, Florida.

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Read More: Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Drouin, Kathryn Smith, Rex Ryan

Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish denies involvement in brother’s alleged gambling ring

01.20.16 at 12:35 pm ET
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Yu Darvish is strongly denying any involvement in his brother’s alleged illegal gambling ring in Japan.

Following Darvish’s brother’s arrest, MLB announced it would conduct an investigation to ensure that the Rangers ace had no connection with his brother’s apparent actions.

In statement from his agent, Darvish claimed innocence, stating, “I am certain that they will find I had no involvement in this matter whatsoever.” His brother, Sho Darvish, allegedly took about 1,850 bets on MLB games in addition to wagers on Japanese baseball games. He was arrested in October after being investigated for over a year.

Added the 29-year-old right-hander: “I will not comment on this matter again out of respect for Major League Baseball‘s investigation and I am focused on preparing for the upcoming season.”

Darvish is recovering from surgery that repaired a ligament in his right arm. He missed the entire 2015 season.

Assuming he is cleared and healthy, Darvish will return to the top of the Rangers rotation this season. In 2014 he was 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA and 182 strikeouts before being shut down in early August with an elbow injury. In his last full season, 2013, he posted a record of 13-9 with an ERA of 2.83 and 277 strikeouts.

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Ray Rice to serve as assistant coach in NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

01.20.16 at 11:51 am ET
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Former Ravens running back Ray Rice may not have drawn any interest from NFL teams this year, but he will be getting a chance as a coach.

Rice will serve as an assistant coach at Saturday’s NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, which will showcase college athletes eligible for the 2016 NFL draft.

Rice will serve as an assistant running backs coach under Mike Martz, head coach of the National team. He is expected to bring some insight to the young athletes on how to act on and off the field.

Carl Francis, director of communications for the NFLPA, was asked about the decision to allow the troubled running back on the staff. Francis told The Baltimore Sun, “He wanted to get back into coaching, stay a part of the game, so yeah, why not?”

Francis went on to explain that Rice’s history with domestic abuse did not factor into the decision.

“For us, that wasn’t a part of the decision,” Francis said. “A part of our decision was giving players a chance to be a part of a profession they’€™re interested in. … What’€™s better for them to participate in than our collegiate All-Star game?”

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