Patriots

NFL MVP goes under the knife

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NFL MVP goes under the knife

From Comcast SportsNetEDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- Adrian Peterson put up one of the best seasons by a running back in NFL history to run away with the MVP award.Now imagine what he could do if he was actually fully healthy.Peterson had surgery on Thursday to repair a sports hernia in his abdomen, an injury that bothered him for much of the last month of the season while he came up just 8 yards short of Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record.It was an incredible season nonetheless considering he had surgery to repair two torn ligaments in his left knee the previous December.In the final few weeks of the season, Peterson acknowledged playing through an abdominal injury, but never let on just how much it was bothering him.On Thursday, the Vikings disclosed he had undergone surgery in Philadelphia to repair the hernia."We expect a speedy recovery with no long-term concerns," the team said in a statement on its website.Considering Peterson recovered from a significant knee injury faster than anyone can ever remember a running back doing so, bouncing back from his latest procedure shouldn't slow him down too much.Peterson tore his ACL against the Redskins in December 2011, then set to work on a rehab program that surprised almost everyone in getting him back on the field for the season opener in 2012.He was somewhat limited in his first few weeks of the season, still working to get the scar tissue to break up and restore the flexion and cutting ability in his knee.But once he broke loose, he was nearly unstoppable. Peterson topped 200 yards twice in the final five weeks of the season and hit 199 in the season-ending victory over the Green Bay Packers that carried the Vikings into the playoffs.His recovery, coupled with the playoff berth and 2,097 yards rushing, helped Peterson easily win the MVP award over Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. He was also selected the league's offensive player of the year in a season in which he scored 12 touchdowns, had eight runs of 40 yards or more and averaged 6.0 yards per carry.Playing through the injury, which is a tear in the abdominal muscles that can cause severe pain in the pelvic and groin area and hinder a player's ability to run and cut, only adds to Peterson's breathtaking season.While many other players have found it too difficult to play with a sports hernia, Peterson only appeared to be slowed by the injury in one game, when he sat out much of the fourth quarter of a decisive victory over Houston in Week 16.Toby Gerhart finished up the game, and Peterson said later that his abdomen was too sore to continue playing. He rebounded with the monster game against Green Bay the following week and even played in the Pro Bowl with the injury.Peterson isn't expected to be out much more than a month, giving him ample time to get back into his workouts and get ready for next season.One of his best blockers is looking at a longer recovery time. Vikings center John Sullivan had microfracture surgery on his left knee, a procedure that requires a three- to four-month rehabilitation program. Sullivan, who made a push for a Pro Bowl spot in his fifth season, is expected to be ready for training camp in August. The surgery was first reported by 1500espn.com.

Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

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Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

Cassius Marsh was brought to New England to help a depleted defensive end group and play in the kicking game. The Patriots wanted him badly enough that they parted with two draft picks -- a fifth and a seventh -- to acquire him in a trade with the Seahawks just before the start of the season. 

Less than three months later, they've decided to part ways with the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder. 

Marsh played in nine games for the Patriots this season, providing the team with an edge defender and someone with special-teams experience. He blocked a kick in Week 7 against the Falcons that earned him an enthusiastic attaboy from coach Bill Belichick. 

Coming off the edge, Marsh recorded one sack and 13 hurries. Against the run, he was used more sparingly, and he was one of the Patriots on the scene for Marshawn Lynch's 25-yard run in the second quarter on Sunday. He played in just two snaps in Mexico City after missing the previous week's game in Denver due to a shoulder injury. 

Without Marsh the Patriots remain thin at defensive end. In order to help bolster that spot, the corresponding move the Patriots made to fill the open spot on their 53-man roster was to sign defensive lineman Eric Lee off of the Bills practice squad. 

Lee entered the league with the Texans last season as an undrafted rookie out of South Florida. Listed at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Lee has bounced on and off of the Bills practice squad this season since being released by the Texans before this season.

The Patriots got a good look at Lee during joint practices last summer with the Texans at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. In the preseason game with the Texans that week, Lee played 40 snaps and according to Pro Football Focus he had two quarterback hurries. The Patriots have a history of snagging players they've practiced against, and with Lee, that trend continues

Bruins still holding out on a goalie decision for Devils game

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Bruins still holding out on a goalie decision for Devils game

BRIGHTON -- Coming off a pair of back-to-back wins from backup goaltender Anton Khudobin, the Bruins are still undecided about what they’re going to do between the pipes Wednesday night against the New Jersey Devils.

On the one hand, the Bruins are very tempted to ride the hot goaltending hand with Khudobin a strong 5-0-2 record on the season and a .935 save percentage that currently leads all goaltenders across the league. There’s a school of thought that the B’s should simply keep plugging Khudobin into the lineup until he actually loses a game, and begins to cool down a little bit between the pipes after stopping 63-of-65 shots against LA and San Jose.

At the same time it will be over a week since Tuukka Rask has played in a game if the Bruins go with Khudobin on Wednesday night against the Devils, and Bruce Cassidy was clear to stress that Rask is still their No. 1 guy. So that’s the dilemma the Bruins are facing with Cassidy calling it “a good problem to have” based on Khudobin’s strong play from the backup spot.

That is a far cry from what the Bruins experienced a year ago with the same goalie, and a reason for optimism that their goaltending situation will be better off throughout a long season.

“Do you go with the hot hand and leave your No. 1 sitting where he’s beginning to wonder what the hell is going on? That’s the decision,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We need to keep them both in a good place, and not lose out on [Khudobin’s] good run while keeping Tuukka focused and confident in his game. That’s what we’re battling and I talk to Goalie Bob [Essensa] about it every day. We’ll make our decision [on Wednesday] and we hope it’s the right one.

“It’s a long year so no matter who we use there are a lot of starts. I don’t think Khudobin is going to go ice cold if he use Tuukka tomorrow, and I don’t think Tuukka is going to blow a gasket if we go with the hot hand. For me I don’t think it’s that big of a decision.”

Perhaps Rask blowing a gasket wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world given the way he’s played this season.

The one underlying concern for Rask beyond the .897 save percentage this season is that his game has really been in a different place for the last three seasons. While his .922 career save percentage mark is among the best in the NHL, he has been below that mark in each of the last three seasons while struggling to maintain consistently behind a changing roster that’s turning over to youth and inexperience.

It certainly seems like the Bruins feel it’s premature to label Rask as anything but their No. 1 goaltender, but the pause they’re giving on Wednesday night’s starter speaks volumes about their current confidence level in each of their puck-stoppers.

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