Celtics

Dennard returns to Patriots practice

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Dennard returns to Patriots practice

FOXBORO -- Save for the expected absence of tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots had full attendance at practice on Thursday.

Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was back at work after missing Wednesday's session for "non-injury related" reasons. According to ESPN Boston, the rookie was in Nebraska on Wednesday for a hearing on pretrial motions in relation to his April 21, 2012 arrest. His trial for felony assault and two misdemeanors is officially scheduled for Feb. 11, according to the report.

The charges stem from an incident during which Dennard allegedly punched a police officer outside of a Nebraska bar. The allegations forced Dennard's draft stock down, and the Patriots eventually selected Dennard out of the University of Nebraska in the seventh round.

Gronkowski broke his left arm for the second time this season against the Texans in New England's Divisional Round win. He will be out for the remainder of the playoffs.

The Patriots worked out in shells and sweats on the breezy lower practice field behind Gillette Stadium.

During ball-security drills, coach Bill Belichick tried to pry a ball loose from receiver Brandon Lloyd and knocked him to the ground. It was a light moment -- at least for those watching -- in a week that has been characterized by the team's laser focus.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

0:41 - Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions on the Celtics getting their first win of the season and a comparison between Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving in the 4th quarter.

7:17 - Phil Perry joins BST to break down the tale of the tape between the Falcons and the Patriots as he breaks down the quarterbacks, offense, defense, coaching, and intangibles between the two teams.

11:57 - Our crew on BST discuss number 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz and number 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum going up against each other and debate who seems like the better pick so far. 

16:35 - In this segment of Irrelevant Questions, Tom Curran interviews Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett as he asks him a bunch of random questions. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

ALCS: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7

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ALCS: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7

HOUSTON -  Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.

After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE