Red Sox

Gronkowski out for season after re-injuring arm

944653.jpg

Gronkowski out for season after re-injuring arm

FOXBORO -- The Patriots suffered a big blow in their Divisional Round matchup with the Texans when tight end Rob Gronkowski re-fractured the forearm that he first broke against the Colts on Nov. 18. He will need to undergo surgery again and is out for the remainder of the postseason.

The news was first reported by Pro Football Talk.

Gronkowski came up hurting when he laid out for a pass along the sideline in the first quarter and hit his left arm on the Gillette Stadium turf. He immediately took himself out of the game and later headed for the Patriots locker room.

Gronkowski broke his left arm in a collision while blocking for an extra point in a win over the Colts in Week 11. He returned for New England's Week 17 and caught two passes for 42 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Dolphins. He wore a large padded wrap covering his arm against the Dolphins and sported the wrap again against the Texans.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked if there was any uncertainty as to whether or not Gronkowski's arm was ready for live action.

"He wouldn't have played if he wasn't," Belichick said.

Belichick said he did not know if Gronkowski's arm was broken or if he had been taken to the hospital. He was asked if he had any regret playing Gronkowski.

"The doctors handle the medical decisions," Belichick answered.

The Patriots will now have to move forward without Gronkowski. They survived without him for six weeks earlier in the season, but his talents are so unique that there is no substitute who can handle all of the duties in which he normally thrives when fully healthy.

"It's hard to replace a player like him because he's a freak of nature," Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez said. "Everyone has to step up and everyone has to keep making plays so we can keep it rolling."

As is the case so often when a Patriots player is injured, teammates in the locker room sounded their common next-man-up refrain.

"It's unfortunate, but guys have to step up," said Patriots receiver Wes Welker. "Guys have got to come out, make plays and make up for his absence."

Against the Texans, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui saw a healthy dose of playing time when Gronkowski went down. He didn't register a catch but was a serviceable substitute, as was running back Shane Vereen when Danny Woodhead was injured on New England's first offensive play from scrimmage. Patriots coach Bill Belichick lauded both for their efforts after the game.

"Hoomanawanui and Shane stepped in there and both did a good job for us," Belichick said. "Shane obviously made a lot of big plays, but Hooman did a great job too, as he's been doing for the last month. These kinds of games, you never really know when the dial spins, where it's going to wind up, who it's going to end up on. Those guys were prepared. Offensively we were able to move the ball, put up some points. It's a credit to everybody to be ready."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said the whole game plan changed in the first half when the team was without both Gronkowski and Woodhead.

"We had a whole game plan built for Gronkowski and Woodhead," Brady said. "We run the first series of the game and all those plans change I think a little of it was 'What are we going to do now? How are we going to adjust?' But we seemed to settle in there midway through the first quarter and put together a pretty good game. Obviously it's a bummer to lose anybody, but someone of Rob's importance or Danny's importance, we need guys to step in and fill the void, whether it's this game or any game after."

Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

BOSTON — Brad Ausmus was the second person to interview to replace John Farrell as Red Sox manager, baseball sources confirmed Monday afternoon. The Sox are expected to interview Ron Gardenhire, the Diamondbacks' bench coach, as well.

But the net might not be cast too wide. More and more, it sounds like the Sox already know whom they want.

Astros bench coach Alex Cora, who met with Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in New York on Sunday, appears the frontrunner to take the reins next year. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal has reported that to be the case multiple times, and for some inside the Sox organization, that's a growing feeling as well.

MORE:

The criteria the Sox value most isn't hard to guess: a strong connection with players, an ability to incorporate data and analytics; and someone who can handle the market.

"I knew Alex for a couple of years before getting a chance to work with him and had tried to recruit him to work a few years ago and he had other options," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Monday in New York, before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees. "To watch him develop relationships with the players, he's all about baseball. He's all about the competition and small advantages within the game, one of the brightest baseball intellects that I've been around. And to see him pass some of that on and transition from player to TV personality to coach, he's had a ton of impact.

"He challenges people. He challenges me. He's someone who's all about winning. And I think to watch our players respond to him, he's got a lot of respect in that clubhouse because of the work he puts in and the attention to detail that he brings. That's why he's the hottest managerial candidate on the planet and deservedly so."

Cora joined the Astros before this season.

Ausmus, whom Dombrowski hired in Detroit ahead of the 2014 season, grew up in Connecticut and went to Dartmouth. The 48-year-old spent 18 seasons as a big-league catcher, the last in 2010. He was working for the Padres before Dombrowski gave him his first shot at managing the Tigers. 

Ausmus went 314-332 in four years managing the Tigers, a more veteran team than might have been ideal for him as a first-time manager.

Ausmus pulled out of the running to interview with the Mets, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag while Cora was expected to interview with the Mets on Monday or Tuesday, per the New York Post's Mike Puma.

What could change from here? One baseball source indicated a second interview with Cora was expected. Asked if he plans a second round of interviews generally, Dombrowski did not say.

"We have started the interview process," Dombrowski wrote via email. "I do not have any specific time frames at this point. Will wait and evaluate as we go through the process."

The Boston Herald's Chad Jennings first reported Ausmus' interview.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the third year in a row, a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics is unable to come to terms on a contract extension prior to the deadline.

That means Marcus Smart will become a restricted free agent this summer. Last year it was Kelly Olynyk (now with the Miami Heat) and in 2015 it was Jared Sullinger (now with Shenzhen Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association).

Both the Celtics and Smart's camp intensified their discussions in recent days as the October 16th 6 p.m. EST deadline drew near.

MORE:

While there was progress made, there wasn’t enough to get a deal done.

Smart has repeatedly indicated that he wants to re-sign a long-term deal to stay in Boston.

And the market for the 6-foot-4 guard became clearer based on the contracts that some of his fellow rookie class of 2014, were receiving.

Denver’s Gary Harris agreed to a four-year, $84 million contract after establishing himself as one of the better young two-way talents in the NBA last season. And at the other end of the financial spectrum, you would have to look at Phoenix’s T.J. Warren who signed a four-year, $50 million contract.

More than likely, Smart’s deal next summer will fall somewhere between the deals those two players received.

As much as Smart would have preferred to get a deal done heading into the season, it’s not something that he’s going to cause him to lose any sleep.

“Get it done now, or get it done in six months, I’m OK either way,” he told NBC Sports Boston. “I’m not worried about it.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE