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NBA injuries: Zion Williamson looks to be cleared for 5-on-5 work; Nuggets announce PJ Dozier tore his ACL

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INJURY: COVID-19 | STATUS: Expected back Nov. 27
Embiid has, once again, struggled with a knee issue to start the season. However, the reason he’s been sidelined recently is COVID-19. The 76ers big man tested positive earlier this month, but is expected back Saturday, Nov. 27 as he goes through the league’s health and safety protocols. He has missed nearly three weeks in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

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INJURY: Fractured foot | STATUS: Out indefinitely
One of the biggest names on the injury list this season is Williamson. The Pelicans’ young star suffered a fractured foot in the summer, which the Pelicans kept secret until media day. The team then claimed he would be ready for opening night, but that was obviously not the case. In fact, Williamson wasn’t even cleared to begin contact drills until earlier this week. He’s set to undergo further scans closer to Thanksgiving to determine whether or not he can join team workouts, at which point we’ll have a better picture of when he’ll be able to play again. Without him, the Pelicans have been a mess, and are currently 3-15.
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INJURY: Knee (torn ACL) | STATUS: Out indefinitely
Leonard went down with a torn ACL during the second round of the playoffs last season, and has not played since. It’s still unclear if he’s going to return this season, but if he does it won’t be until some time in the spring. There likely won’t be any definitive updates until then, and whether or not the Clippers can hang in the playoff race will likely play a part in determining his recovery plan. INJURY: Achilles | STATUS: Hoping to return before Christmas
The last time we saw Thompson was Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. Since then he’s undergone two major surgeries, one for a torn ACL and the other for a torn Achilles tendon. Now, finally, he’s on the verge of a return. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that Thompson is back to playing 5-on-5 again, and a recent report from The Athletic indicated that Thompson has been cleared to be a full participant in practice. If all goes well, the Warriors are hoping to have Thompson back ahead of Christmas. That would be a major boost to a team that already has the best record in the league. INJURY: Knee (torn ACL) | STATUS: Out indefinitely
The Nuggets have been without their star guard since late last season, when he tore his ACL against the Warriors. Murray has been ramping up his workouts and said recently that he feels “great.” However, he won’t be back on the court until some time in the spring at the earliest. Whether the Nuggets can remain afloat without him and Porter remains to be seen. INJURY: Personal; COVID restrictions | STATUS: No timeline for return
Irving falls into the same category as Ben Simmons, where he’s not actually injured, but he has to be mentioned since he hasn’t played all season. The Nets star is still unvaccinated against COVID-19, which means he is not able to enter Barclays Center for home games due to New York City’s health mandates. While Irving would be eligible to play on the road, the Nets decided not to include him as a part-time player. He’s been away from the team since training camp, and will not play until he either receives the vaccine or the mandates in New York change.

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INJURY: Mental health | STATUS: No timeline for return
The Simmons saga is well known at this point. And though he doesn’t have a physical injury we’ll include him here since he is reportedly dealing with mental health issues. He doesn’t want to play for the Sixers anymore, and the team hasn’t found a trade they like and neither side will budge as the standoff continues. Most recently, the two sides have been in dispute over Simmons’ mental health treatment, and the team recently resumed fining Simmons.
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INJURY: Knee | STATUS: Out indefinitely
Dozier has been a key reserve for the Nuggets, but, unfortunately, his season likely came to an end Tuesday night with what was confirned to be a torn ACL to his left knee, the team announced on Wednesday night. The guard went to the ground late in the first quarter after coming down awkwardly on a layup attempt. INJURY: Elbow sprain | STATUS: Out 2-4 weeks
The No. 3 overall pick got off to a flying start this season, so much so that opposing coaches are reportedly jealous they don’t get to coach him. But the positive momentum for both him and the Cavaliers came to a halt earlier this month when he sprained his elbow against the Boston Celtics. Mobley is expected to miss two-to-four weeks, so he’ll be out until at least early December. The good news is this doesn’t seem like it will be a long-term issue. INJURY: Back | STATUS: Out indefinitely
No one has ever questioned Porter’s talent, but there have been plenty of concerns about his ability to stay healthy. Those fears have popped up again now that Porter is dealing with another back injury. The young forward has been out since the team’s win over the Rockets earlier this month, and is now dealing with a nerve issue that could threaten his season, per the Denver Post . Nuggets head coach Michael Malone also revealed that Porter is not with the team and is instead in Florida meeting with doctors. INJURY: COVID-19 | STATUS: Out indefinitely
Batum was the latest player to enter the league’s health and safety protocols, and missed the Clippers’ win over the Mavericks on Sunday. He’ll miss at least 10 days, according to a report from The Athletic , while head coach Ty Lue said , “I’m not sure the days, but I expect him to be out (a while) … not sure the timetable.” Batum will be a big loss for the Clippers, who are already without star wing Kawhi Leonard.

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INJURY: Knee (tendinopathy) | STATUS: Day-to-day
Williams has emerged as a talented and athletic big man for the Celtics — at least when he can stay on the court. He’s been injury prone to start his career and has already been sidelined for four games this season. Most recently, he’s dealing with a knee problem the team has termed “tendinopathy.” His official status remains day-to-day, but he’s been out for a week now and it’s unclear if he’ll be ready for the team’s next game against the Rockets on Monday.
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INJURY: COVID-19 | STATUS: Day-to-day
Vucevic tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and has been sidelined since Nov. 11. The good news is that he has now cleared the league’s health and safety protocols. When he’ll actually, play, however, remains to be seen. “He’ll be cleared (to play) when the doctors and the physicians feel comfortable that he’s passed everything,” Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said . “He can be around our team. He’s out of all of that stuff. And now that next step is the cardiovascular testing.” INJURY: Ankle sprain | STATUS: Day-to-day
Harris rolled his ankle during the Nets’ win over the Thunder earlier this month and has not played since. So far he’s missed the team’s last three games, and head coach Steve Nash said on Sunday that he’ll be out for at least two more. This is an annoying injury for Harris and the Nets, but the good news is it doesn’t seem like it should be any sort of long-term issue. INJURY: Ankle (surgery) | STATUS: Out until at least mid-December
The Lakers signed Ariza with the hope that he could provide some extra depth and veteran leadership on the wing, but he suffered an ankle injury during training camp and has not played yet. By the sounds of it, that’s not going to change anytime soon. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel recently spoke to the media and said that Ariza is “still a ways away” from returning. The initial timeline was eight weeks, which would have put Ariza’s return sometime in early-to-mid December, but Vogel’s comments make it seem like he could take longer to recover. INJURY: Wrist (surgery) | STATUS: Out until at least April
Williams, the No. 4 overall pick last year, was off to an encouraging start along with the Bulls. But against the New York Knicks he took a hard foul from Mitchell Robinson and suffered a serious wrist injury upon landing. He is out until at least April due to a dislocation and torn ligaments that required surgery. We should get an update in the spring about whether or not he’ll be able to return for the playoffs — assuming the Bulls continue in this form and make a deep run.

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INJURY: Knee (torn meniscus) | STATUS: Out for season
The Cavaliers’ fourth-year guard went down with a knee injury against the Knicks in early November. A few weeks later, the team announced that he had in fact suffered a torn meniscus, which required season-ending surgery. There’s never a good time for a major injury, but this was especially unfortunate for Sexton, who is set to be a free agent this summer. Sexton was reportedly looking for a deal in the four-year, $100 million range, and it will be interesting to see if he can still command that value.
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INJURY: Knee (torn meniscus) | STATUS: Hoping to return Thanksgiving week
Wiseman’s frustrating rookie campaign came to an end back in April when he tore his meniscus upon landing from a dunk attempt. He’s been sidelined since then but is now closing in on a return. Earlier this month he returned to practice in full and has had no setbacks since amping up his activity level. While they haven’t determined a specific game just yet, the Warriors could have him back in the lineup by Thanksgiving week. INJURY: Fractured foot | STATUS: Out until late December, early January at the earliest
Few players have had a worse year than Warren, who has been beset by bad injury luck. A stress fracture in his foot limited him to just four games last season, then he suffered a setback in his recovery over the summer and has still not been able to return to the court. Recent updates have been positive, and Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said Warren’s most recent scans were “great news.” Still, even under the best of circumstances he won’t be back until late December or January. The team is not going to rush this given everything he’s gone through over the past year. INJURY: Quad tendon | STATUS: Out indefinitely
Oladipo ruptured his quad tendon in January of 2019, and has really never been right since then. He’s played just 88 games over the last three-plus seasons, and has not participated at all in this campaign. A recent report from the Miami Herald indicated that the Heat are hopeful he’ll be able to play by March, but he’s recovering from a secondary surgery on his quad in the offseason and there’s no set timeline for his return. INJURY: Back | STATUS: Out indefinitely
Milwaukee has gotten off to a rough start in its title defense, largely due to injuries. One of the most notable is Lopez’s back injury, which has kept him off the court since opening night. It’s still not clear exactly what’s wrong, but Lopez does seem to be on the mend. “My low back has been coming along pretty positively the last couple of weeks,” Lopez said in a recent interview . “We’ve done some off-court stuff the past couple of days and we just keep ramping it up. It’s going very well.”

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INJURY: Knee (torn ACL) | STATUS: Out indefinitely
Fultz seemed like he had finally found a home with the Magic last season, and then he almost immediately tore his ACL in a cruel twist of fate. The Magic front office has been pretty tight-lipped about any sort of updates, but Wendell Carter Jr. revealed in a recent interview that Fultz is now back on the court. “Markelle’s been in a couple of the practices with us,” Carter said . “Kinda just running through the plays, doing some defensive stuff with us. He looks good.” That’s a positive sign, but it’s still unclear when Fultz will be ready for games again.
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INJURY: Knee (torn ACL and meniscus) | STATUS: Out indefinitely
The last time Isaac was on the court was over a year ago in the bubble in Orlando, when he suffered a devastating knee injury that included a torn meniscus and ACL. While it makes sense that the Magic are taking the cautious route with a player who has been frequently injured, it’s a bit surprising that Isaac isn’t closer to a return. We’re going on 16 months now since the injury and there’s still no timeline. Even stranger is that based on a recent interview with Wendell Carter Jr., it appears as though Isaac hasn’t progressed to doing much on-court work, if any. “JI’s also doing a fantastic job,” Carter said . “He’s always in early in the morning before we even get there, before our practices and stuff. He’s already on the table getting treatment on his knee, lifting, all that stuff. He’s doing good.” INJURY: Neck | STATUS: Out until at least Nov. 27
The veteran Heat forward was injured in a bizarre incident with Nikola Jokic earlier this month. After Morris delivered a reckless foul late in a blowout loss, Jokic retaliated with a cheap shot of his own to Morris’ back, which resulted in a neck injury. Morris hasn’t played since and will be out through at least the remainder of the Heat’s road trip that lasts until Nov. 27. Coincidentally, their first game back at home on the 29th is against Jokic and the Nuggets. Whether Morris will be ready to go by then, however, is still unknown. INJURY: Ankle (torn ligament) | STATUS: Out indefinitely
Another key injured player for the Bucks is DiVincenzo, who still hasn’t played yet this season. He tore a ligament in his ankle during the first round of the playoffs against the Heat last season, and there’s no timeline yet for his return. A bit of good news, though, is that he was recently spotted going through a fairly strenuous workout prior to the team’s game against the Thunder. INJURY: Knee (MCL sprain) | STATUS:  Hoping to be back before Christmas
The veteran big man was off to a pretty solid start in his first season with the Pistons, but he went down with a Grade II MCL sprain after 10 games. He didn’t need surgery, which was good news, but the initial timeline was a hefty six weeks. Barring any setbacks he should be back around Christmas, but the struggling Pistons might already be out of the playoff race by that point.

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INJURY: Wrist (tendon) | STATUS: Out eight weeks
Hunter has had some promising moments for the Hawks, but has not been able to get an extended run of games since his rookie season. He played just 23 games last season, and missed most of the Hawks’ playoff run due to knee injuries, including a torn meniscus that required offseason surgery. While he was ready to go this season, he only managed to play 11 games before suffering a wrist tendon injury that will keep him on the bench for eight weeks.
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INJURY: Ankle (surgery) | STATUS: Out until after Christmas
Collins got off to a promising start in his career with the Trail Blazers, but injuries have completely destroyed the past two-plus seasons. He was limited to 11 games in 2019-20, and hasn’t played since due to shoulder surgery and multiple ankle operations. Collins signed with the Spurs in the offseason, and head coach Gregg Popovich said that the medical staff hopes the big man will be back after Christmas. A more definitive timeline will have to wait. INJURY: Personal leave | STATUS: Out indefinitely
The former lottery pick was granted a leave of absence for personal reasons prior to the season and has not played. In fact, prior to this week he hadn’t even been around the team. That changed earlier this week, however, as Hachimura participated in shootaround prior to the Wizards’ game against the Heat. He’s expected to join their G League squad, the Go-Go, and will practice and possibly play with them in the short-term. Beyond that, it’s simply impossible to say right now when he’ll be rejoin the Wizards, who are off to a fantastic start. INJURY: Knee (torn ACL) | STATUS: Hopeful to return before start of new year
Another Wizards big man who has been stuck on the bench all season is Thomas Bryant. He went down with a torn ACL back in January, and is now reaching the final stages of his rehab. Earlier this month, a report from The Athletic indicated that the Wizards are hoping to have Bryant back before the start of the new year. Anything more specific will have to wait. INJURY: Hip pointer | STATUS: Out indefinitely
Anunoby was one of the favorites to win Most Improved Player this season, and he was showing exactly why through the first 15 games. Unfortunately, his strong start to the season came to a stop earlier this month when he suffered a hip pointer that will keep him out indefinitely. Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said that the team’s vice president of player health and performance, Alex McKechnie, told him “it’ll be a while.” What that means exactly is hard to say, but it seems like Anunoby could miss more than a few games. That’s a tough break for him and the Raptors.





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Aaron Rodgers has 4th best odds to win 3rd straight MVP | FIRST THINGS FIRST

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Aaron Rodgers is optimistic about this upcoming NFL season. In a recent Sports Illustrated profile, the Green Bay Packers quarterback expressed how happy he was to be in the locker room, that he’s a ‘kinder, gentler QB’ and that fun things are coming. Fox Bet odds show Rodgers tied at 4th for the MVP award, behind Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Josh Allen, and alongside Justin Herbert. Greg Jennings and Nick Wright decide how likely it is that Rodgers will three-peat his MVP win.



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2023 NFL Draft: Ranking the ACC’s top 10 prospects as Clemson defense loaded with talent

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The ACC fell short of placing a team in the College Football Playoff despite a strong season from Pittsburgh. The upcoming regular season represents a clean slate, and Clemson should feature one of the most talented defenses in college football. Although early days, CBS Sports took a gander at the best NFL Draft prospects in the tradition rich conference entering the 2022 campaign:

Davis does a great job of shooting gaps and creating chaos in the opponent’s backfield. He does a good job of stacking and shedding blockers to make an impact in the run game. 

The depth of Clemson’s defensive line allows the team to rotate players and keep everyone fresh. It has a lot of talent along the front seven. In addition to Myles Murphy, Trenton Simpson, Bryan Bresee and Davis, defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro, edge rusher Xavier Thomas and edge rusher K.J. Henry have NFL potential. Thomas, in particular, is poised to showcase his talent this season.

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The buzz surrounding Nelson began early in the process. He has great size for the position and long arms to dictate competition in the trenches. If the technique matches in 2022, there is an opportunity to rise significantly in an offensive tackle class that appears wide open. A wealth of talent at the position has flooded the NFL in recent years with Rashawn Slater, Tristan Wirfs, Penei Sewell and others chief among them.

8. Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Flowers has been on the NFL’s radar for a few years now. An injury to quarterback Phil Jurkovec impacted the receiver, as there were a lot of missed opportunities during which Flowers had slithered behind coverage. He ranked No. 23 in yards per reception (16.95) among wide receivers with at least 40 receptions in 2021. With a healthy Jurkovec, the Pittsburgh native will have a good chance to remind talent evaluators of his potential. 

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The nation’s No. 1 overall high school recruit in 2020 missed most of last season with a torn ACL. The talent is evident, but it is unknown what to reasonably expect from Bresee coming off the injury this season. The Maryland native carries his weight really well and is just a natural athlete. He does a good job of stacking blockers while peering into the backfield and has good top end speed.

Connecticut quarterbacks are having a bit of a moment as both Kentucky’s Will Levis and Van Dyke are considered potential early draft choices. The latter throws with touch and does not panic when pressured. However, there is at least one moment each game where he unnecessarily throws into coverage. Experience can resolve some of those frustrations. 

While his ability to make plays with his legs may fall short relative to other quarterback prospects, he is capable of making accurate throws off-platform. He ranked No. 11 in passer efficiency last season, according to TruMedia. Players above him include Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Alabama’s Bryce Young and Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett.

It could be easy to take Bergeron for granted because nothing he does is overwhelming, but he is consistent. Similar to Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw, it just looks easy for the Quebec native at times. He plays with good leverage and balance and has an even-keeled style of play. Active eyes allow him to pick up stunts into his gap. 

Cornerback Garrett Garrett Williams is another prospect who has the talent to join this list by season’s end.

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4. Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

The NFL has shown a willingness of late to add wide receivers who are traditionally undersized: Wan’Dale Robinson, Tutu Atwell, Jahan Dotson, etc. Downs was one of the most productive wide receivers in college football a year ago, and that had a lot to do with his ability to create chances for himself. He does a good job of creating leverage with body mannerisms and precision into his breaks. Downs finished third in yards after the catch (757) last season, according to TruMedia, behind Western Kentucky’s Jerreth Sterns (1,135) and Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba (791).

3. Tony Grimes, CB, North Carolina

Grimes has good size and great speed for the position. He profiles as an NFL man coverage cornerback, but the ball production has just not been there yet. With so much talent in that Tar Heels secondary, it should create more opportunities for the Virginia Beach native to compile statistics. If he puts it all together, there is a good chance that he is one of the first cornerbacks off the board next April. 

Grimes was one of the rare football reclassifications who moved from the 2021 recruiting class to 2020. As a result, he should be one of the younger cornerback prospects available.

Simpson is one of the most versatile defenders in this potential NFL Draft class. He is not Micah Parsons but could excel in a similar role allowing him to play in the box, rush the passer and cloud passing lanes. The Charlotte native finds himself around the ball often because of his quick key and trigger. First-year defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin has a lot to work with this season.

When comparing size, Murphy stacks up to last year’s No. 1 overall selection — Travon Walker. Murphy is a good athlete but is realistically not going to match Walker’s historic NFL Combine performance. Murphy does have more exposure to what would be considered a traditional edge rusher role than Walker at the same point in his career. The former shows active hands and an ability to turn speed to power. When attempting to identify the likely first-round selections in the preseason, Murphy jumps out.

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KD to Nets: 'Trade me or fire Steve Nash, Sean Marks' | FIRST THINGS FIRST

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Kevin Durant is not budging on his desire to leave Brooklyn. In fact, Shams Charania reports that during his meeting with Joe Tsai, KD submitted that the only way he would stay with the Nets is if the owner fires head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks. Nick Wright lays out why Durant basically all but ensured he would be traded with this move, and why he’s calling KD’s ultimatum a checkmate.



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