Bruins

Stallworth disappointed high ankle sprain ended his season

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Stallworth disappointed high ankle sprain ended his season

FOXBORO -- Donte' Stallworth's season lasted just twenty plays, the last one an electrifying one-handed catch-and-run that resulted in a 63-yard touchdown to help the Patriots beat the Texans on Monday night, 42-14.

It was a proud moment for him. After being released at the end of Patriots training camp, he spent three months waiting for a chance to join an NFL team. When the Patriots finally brought him back, he worked around the clock with hope that he would make an impact against Houston, and he did.

His adrenaline was pumping after the score. He was excited to make such a grand entrance back into NFL relevance.

Then he got to the Patriots sideline.

"When I sat down it felt like somebody lit a blow torch on my foot," he said. "That's when I realized something wasn't right."

Stallworth suffered what he says is a high-ankle sprain when he was tackled going into the end zone. He was told the normal recovery time for that type of injury would be about 3-4 weeks, and he knew, at this point in the year, the team would likely place him on injured reserve. That's exactly what they did on Tuesday, ending his season.

"Bill Belichick does a great job of communicating. He brought me in his office well before that happened and he explained to me, you know, the situation moving forward," Stallworth said. "I completely agreed with his decision.

"Later in the season once you hit December and the end of November, that window kind of closes a little bit. I completely understand why he did it . . . I wasn't disappointed to be going on IR because I knew that was coming for the most part. But I was disappointed for it to happen after preparing for so hard and sitting at home for three months and coming here and getting an opportunity. But you know, I'm definitely grateful for just being here, during that week and being able to participate and play in that game. It's the season I had. I hadn't played all season. It's bittersweet being here, playing in a game, and then leaving the game and not coming back."

The Patriots re-signed receiver Deion Branch this week to help fill out their receiver group.

Stallworth, who had a noticeable limp as he walked around the Patriots locker room on Thursday, said he asked for Belichick's permission to stay around the team and rehab his ankle using its facilities.

Part of the reason he wanted to stay in New England and not return to his home in Miami was because the Patriots offer him an opportunity to receive treatment multiple times a day. The other reason was because if he had left, he would have missed the locker room atmosphere that he worked so hard to get back to this season.

"Just being able to be around the team," Stallworth said. "It's one of the things, whenever guys retire or when they're no longer in the game, that's one of the things they say they miss the most is the camaraderie and the continuity of being on a team and in a locker room. You come to become really good friends with the guys and it's similar to being family."

Stallworth said he hopes to stay on track with his rehab but he's in no rush for it to heal. Though he's disappointed at how he was hurled back to earth after the most uplifting moment of his season, he was grateful that the injury wasn't worse.

Someone sent him a picture online of how his ankle was bent awkwardly on the touchdown.

"It could have been horrible," Stallworth said. "I think that's one of the things that's helping me not be so disappointed. It definitely could've been worse, really bad, just by looking at the picture. So I just try to maintain an air of positivity around here. I don't wanna be walking around depressed or anything like that. Just try to stay positive around everyone."

This week is especially difficult for Stallworth since he grew up in Sacramento as a San Francisco 49ers fan.  

"I have a lot of family and friends who are 49er fans, calling me from back home, talking trash," he said with a smile. "So you know, I'd definitely like to shut them up personally."

But he can't. It's a fact that's difficult to accept, but one from which he's trying to move on.

"You just keep moving," he said. "There's been a lot of things that have happened to a lot of good people, a lot of worse things that have happened to a lot of people. There's kids who can't eat everyday, or who aren't healthy, or don't have all their limbs. I don't look at it like I'm snake-bitten, but more so it's an unfortunate situation and try to take the positive and continue moving forward from there."

Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

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Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the return of Adolfo to Toucher and Rich this morning.

*Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid have received plenty of acclaim over the past couple of years as talented, young stars in the league, but Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien details how things haven’t gone ideally for either of those youngsters, or their teams, this season. Clearly, it’s not at this level yet, but just think about the hype behind Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin when they were drafted 1-2 back in 2010, and what they have, and haven’t, been able to accomplish in the league since that time.

*Outstanding rookie Brock Boeser credits a conversation with Vancouver Canucks coach Travis Green for helping spark his game this season.

*Good video piece on the near miss of Wayne Gretzky almost playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs after dominating them in the playoffs.  

*Salivating for some hockey trades? The 10 potential NHL trade deadline targets around the league as we wait for players to become available for trade later in the season.  

*Hockeybuzz is asking what the NHL, and more specifically the Hockey Hall of Fame, has against goaltenders?

*For something completely different: A great piece from Drew Bledsoe on the tragic passing of former Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn, and how his death came just as he seemed to be putting all the pieces of his life together.

 

Marchand, Krug and Backes all practice, won't play vs. Devils

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Marchand, Krug and Backes all practice, won't play vs. Devils

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins are getting closer to a healthier lineup, but it won’t be in time for the Thanksgiving Eve road tilt against the upstart New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

Brad Marchand (upper body), Torey Krug (upper body) and David Backes (colon surgery) all skated in red no-contact jerseys at practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena, so none of those three banged-up B’s will be making the trip to Jersey. Anders Bjork (upper body) didn’t practice and is obviously out vs. the Devils as well, but Ryan Spooner might be a possibility after making it through his first full practice since tearing his groin almost six weeks ago.

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If he can make it through Wednesday's morning skate without any problems, Spooner will likely be a game-time decision against the Devils after missing the past 14 games.  

The Bruins have continued to indicate that Marchand is in the concussion protocol, though it appears the Bruins agitator is dealing with both upper body and lower body issues. Marchand was encouraged by the progress he’s making while returning to practice, so perhaps the B’s could get back one of their leading scorers sooner rather than later.

“I feel pretty good. It’s good to be back with the guys and feel like you’re a part of the team,” said Marchand, who has missed five of the past seven games after returning for the home-and-home against the Maple Leafs. “It’s frustrating whenever you miss games and you miss time away from the team, but they had a great road trip and they’re playing well. It would be nice to be back in the lineup consistently and be back with the team...it’ll come.”

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Devils based on practice Tuesday:

Heinen-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Cehlarik

Vatrano-Spooner-Nash/Szwarz

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

Beleskey-Marchand-Backes

 
Chara-McAvoy

O’Gara/Postma-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Miller

 
Rask

Khudobin