Red Sox

Hernandez (ankle) 'feeling pretty good' on Monday

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Hernandez (ankle) 'feeling pretty good' on Monday

FOXBORO -- With Rob Gronkowski expected to be out for an extended period of time with a broken forearm, all eyes are on fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez, who hasn't played since Week 7 against the Jets.

Hernandez is still battling an ankle injury which he suffered in the first quarter of a Week 2 loss to Arizona, forcing him to miss the next three games. But after returning for Week 6 in Seattle and Week 7 against the Jets, Hernandez hasn't suited up on Sunday.

Now that Gronkowski is out, the spotlight will be on Hernandez to see if he can be ready for Thursday night's game in New York.

"I'm feeling pretty good," said Hernandez inside the Patriots locker room on Monday night.

The Patriots did not practice on Monday, but Hernandez was listed as "limited" in a hypothetical practice report that, per NFL rules, must be released.

When asked if he would be ready to play on Thursday, Hernandez said, "We'll see."

He wasn't giving away much on Monday, and why would he? Hernandez spoke like a Patriot who knows exactly what has to happen next, if New England wants to have success.

They need to move on.

"Everyone has to step up and make plays, and follow the game plan," said Hernandez. "I'm sure we'll be alright.

"Obviously it's tough. Obviously he's one of the best players in the league. But, we have a lot of players, and everyone has to step up to fill the void. It puts pressure on everybody. Not just one player can just replace him. Everyone has to step up."

Doing so, is exactly what Bill Belichick has trained his players for. Be ready when you're called upon.

"The way this program is, the way Bill makes us become the players we become, we all have confidence and we all know we have to come to play every game, regardless," said Hernandez. "And in the NFL, people go down and other people have to step up.

"It'll change some things. Like I said, everyone will have to step up and whatever the change is, we have to make plays and fill that void we'll be missing."

As for whether the Patriots will be still missing Hernandez on Thursday night, is another question altogether.

"It's tough to watch," he said. "But hopefully I get back soon and help them out."

ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

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ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

NEW YORK - Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

Just days ago, Houston was up two games to none and appeared to be closing in on its second World Series appearance. But the Astros, like defending AL champion Cleveland before them, have been unable to put away these poised Yankees, who improved to 6-0 at home in this postseason in front of their cheering, chanting fans.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Gordon Hayward will have surgery on ankle Wednesday night

Gordon Hayward will have surgery on ankle Wednesday night

BOSTON – Gordon Hayward will have surgery on his left ankle tonight, according to a league source.

Hayward, who suffered a left ankle injury in the first quarter of Boston’s 102-99 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday night, was considering having the surgery in Boston or back in Indiana by a doctor who had operated on him when he played at Butler.

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It’s too soon to determine a timetable for Hayward’s return, although the Celtics anticipate he will most if not all of the remainder of this season.

Hayward’s injury delivers a major blow to a Celtics team that were considered a top-two team in the East by most.

With Hayward out for an extended period of time, teams like Washington and Toronto are likely to get more serious consideration as another strong threat to Cleveland which has advanced to the NBA Finals each of the last three seasons.

Replacing Hayward in the Celtics starting lineup was Marcus Smart who joined Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE