Celtics

Scary injury for a Houston football player

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Scary injury for a Houston football player

From Comcast SportsNetHOUSTON (AP) -- Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden remains hospitalized in "stable, yet critical" condition after tearing a vein in a collision with a teammate during practice.Team physician Dr. Walter Lowe said in a statement from the school Thursday that the senior was taken by ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital after the collision late Tuesday afternoon. Hayden was rushed into immediate surgery for a tear of the inferior vena cava, the large vein that carries blood from the lower half of the body to the heart.Lowe says that type of injury is fatal "95 percent" of the time. He says such an injury is usually linked to high-speed motor vehicle accidents."This injury has never been seen or reported in association with a football injury," Lowe said.Lowe complimented the quick response by the team's trainers, paramedics, the Memorial Hermann trauma team and operating surgeon Dr. John Holcomb. The statement from the school said Hayden was alert, but still recovering in the intensive-care unit."We are very fortunate to have some of the nation's top physicians and medical facilities just minutes away from our campus," first-year coach Tony Levine said, "and I would like to extend our appreciation for their efforts on Tuesday evening."Hayden leads Conference USA with four interceptions and had returns for touchdowns in consecutive games against SMU and UTEP earlier this season. He was named the league's Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 29 after picking off two passes in the 45-35 victory over the Miners."D.J. is a tremendous young man and has been a great asset to our program, both on and off the field," Levine said. "I ask that everyone continue to keep D.J. and his family in their thoughts and prayers."The 6-foot Hayden transferred to Houston after helping Navarro College win the 2010 national championship. In his first season in Houston, Hayden led the team with 11 pass breakups and five forced fumbles, helping the Cougars finish with a school-record 13 victories and a No. 18 national ranking.Case Keenum, that team's record-setting quarterback who now plays for the Houston Texans, was getting updates on his phone from friends on Hayden's condition."Great player, better guy," Keenum said. "I know his family really well. My family got to know his family, just being at the games and sitting together a bunch. We've felt for them and we've been praying for them. It's nothing short of a miracle that he's still around."The Cougars (4-5, 3-2 C-USA) have three games left in their 2012 regular season, starting with Saturday's game against Tulsa (7-2, 5-0).

Streak reveals depth even Celtics didn't know they had

Streak reveals depth even Celtics didn't know they had

Coaches in all sports will tell you that winning is not easy.
 
Making the Celtics’ 16-game winning streak even more impressive is that a number of the victories have involved Boston turning to some unlikely sources of production.

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And that has provided a glimpse into a franchise that’s getting the best of both worlds: quality play from its core group while developing reserves who have contributed to the team reeling off 16 straight wins in a variety of ways.
 
Because coach Brad Stevens has gone deeper into his bench this season than past years, it has created a roster with minutes more evenly distributed and with that, less wear and tear on the bodies of key players.
 
And while this team is led by Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, there has been at least one other Celtic to emerge as a top-three performer every night...and often it’s not the same player.
 
“Much more unpredictable now,” a league executive texted to NBC Sports Boston. “That number three guy, is it [Jaylen] Brown? [Jayson] Tatum? Sometimes it’s Marcus [Smart]. You don’t know who it’s going to be because a lot of times, I don’t think they [Celtics] know who it will be. It’s why they’re so good, man.”
 
Here are five under-the-radar storylines heading into tonight’s game in Miami with the Celtics trying to push their winning streak to 17:

KYRIE FOR MVP
It’s one thing for the home crowd to get into the ‘M-V-P’ chants when you’re at the free-throw line. But it’s a completely different matter when those same cheers are being heard on the road. That’s where Irving was following the 110-102 overtime win at Dallas, a game in which Irving dropped 47 points, 10 in overtime. It’ll be interesting to see if another strong game by Irving will lead to another serenading of ‘M-V-P’ chants for the most dominant player on the team with the league’s best record.


 
TURNING DOWN THE HEAT
The streak is the talk of the NBA right now, but streaking was going to be part of the conversation leading up to tonight’s game regardless. The Celtics come into tonight’s game having won eight in a row over the Heat, their longest current winning streak over any team. Boston has dominated this matchup for years, posting a 70-44 record all-time against Miami in the regular season.
 

DUKE CONNECTION
College basketball just kicked off and Duke is once again among the game’s top teams, a school that consistently produces NBA talent at a relatively high level. That’ll be very apparent tonight when you consider this Boston-Miami matchup features three players (Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum for Boston, Justise Winslow for Miami) from Duke who will all be in the starting lineup and a fourth (Boston’s Semi Ojeleye) who attended Duke but later transferred to SMU.


 
JUSTISE WINSLOW
Every front-office executive has that one player they tried – and failed – to acquire that, in hindsight, not getting him was a really good thing. Winslow is that guy for the Celtics. While he hasn’t been necessarily a bust, his impact at this level hasn’t been enough to have warranted all the assets Boston was willing to part with on draft night in order to move up and select him. Still, he’s healthy now and starting to play better which is evident by his numbers in most offensive categories on the rise, while his defense has been relatively solid.
 

THREE-POINTERS
The Heat have made the 3-point shot a much bigger part of their offense this season, evident by Miami ranking seventh in the league in 3-point makes (11.2) this season. In Boston, one of the keys to their top-ranked defense has been their length, which has come in real handy defending the 3-pointer. In fact, Boston has limited opponents to just 32.1 percent shooting on 3’s this season, which ranks third in the league.

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Gostkowski named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week

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Gostkowski named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week

FOXBORO -- Stephen Gostkowski is almost 34 years old, but in Mexico City he provided a reminder that he's not slowing down in his 12th NFL season. 

After going four-for-four on field goals -- including a team-record 62-yarder, a 51-yarder and a 40-yarder -- and making all three of his extra points, Gostkowski was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the sixth time in his career. 

During a press conference on Wednesday, Bill Belichick explained that someone in Gostkowski's situation probably isn't improving at this point in his career. But if he's maintaining a strong level of play, that's OK. 

"I don’t know how much real improvement you’re going to see from a player that’s been in the league 12 or 20 years in a case like Adam [Vinatieri] or somebody like that," Belichick said. "But, if the level they’re performing at is pretty good, if they can maintain that, then that’s certainly enough to help the team.

"Are there things that a player can do better? Yeah, sure, there always are technique things. I think Steve has really improved in some of his alternative kicks on kickoffs, as an example, instead of just kicking every ball as far as he can. He’s done a great job of that. I’d say it’s maintaining the timing and the overall leg speed and technique that makes kickers good at their job."