Preps Talk

...but lose one star player for the year

944563.jpg

...but lose one star player for the year

From Comcast SportsNetFOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski needs surgery on his broken left arm, a person with knowledge of the injury told The Associated Press.Gronkowski was injured on the Patriots' eighth offensive play of Sunday's 41-28 victory over Houston. He previously missed five regular-season games and is done for these playoffs.The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not released details of the injury."I'm not sure," coach Bill Belichick said after the game when asked if Gronkowski had broken his arm.Asked if Gronkowski had been taken to a hospital, Belichick said, "Look, I just walked off the field."He also said "he wouldn't have played if he wasn't ready" and that "the doctors handle the medical decisions."The Patriots also lost running back Danny Woodhead for the game when he hurt his thumb carrying the ball on their first offensive play. The club provided no update on his condition.Rookie defensive end Chandler Jones hurt his ankle later in the game.The Patriots will be home against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship game next Sunday with the winner advancing to the Super Bowl two weeks later.Gronkowski had broken his left forearm while blocking for an extra point near the end of New England's 59-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 18 and underwent surgery. He missed five games and returned for the regular-season finale, a 28-0 win over the Miami Dolphins.He was reinjured just 6:44 into Sunday's game on a deep pass down the right sideline from Tom Brady. Gronkowski fell out of bounds as the pass dropped incomplete.He sat on the bench, writhing in pain, while talking to team doctor Thomas Gill before heading to the locker room.Brady provided no information on the condition of one of his most important teammates."I don't know anything about that," Brady said. "I haven't heard anything."Gronkowski's teammates said that the team would miss him but that other players have to contribute."It's hard to replace a player like him because he's a freak of nature," tight end Aaron Hernandez said, "but everyone has to step up and everyone has to keep making plays so we can keep it rolling. (He) definitely helps me out because so much attention is on him."It's a big loss and you can't replace a player like him."Last season, Gronkowski's status was listed as questionable for the Super Bowl just 48 hours before the New York Giants 21-17 victory. He had suffered a high sprain to his left ankle two weeks earlier in the Patriots' 23-20 win over the Ravens in the AFC championship game. That hampered him in the Super Bowl in which he had just two catches for 26 yards after a season in which he had 105 receptions, 15 of them in the other two postseason games.After the season, he had arthroscopic surgery on the ankle.On Sunday, backup tight end Michael Hoomanawanui got more action once Gronkowski left."I just saw him a little bit ago," Hoomanawanui said. "A guy with that much talent, it stinks. There's no other way to put it. I went down with a knee injury last year that ended my season and you never want to see that for anyone, for an opponent, but let alone a guy that you spend a lot of time with each and every day."Asked if Gronkowski would miss the rest of the postseason, Hoomanawanui said, "I haven't heard yet. He looks like he was hurting. I'm sure we'll find out here soon enough."

IHSA Football Playoff Pairings Show Roundup

IHSA Football Playoff Pairings Show Roundup

CLASS 1A

Revealing the Class 1A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 1A Bracket

CLASS 2A

Revealing the Class 2A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 2A Bracket

CLASS 3A

Revealing the Class 3A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 3A Bracket

CLASS 4A

Revealing the Class 4A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 4A Bracket

Predicting Class 1A-4A

CLASS 5A

Revealing the Class 5A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 5A Bracket

CLASS 6A

Revealing the Class 6A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 6A Bracket

CLASS 7A

Revealing the Class 7A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 7A Bracket

CLASS 8A

Revealing the Class 8A Bracket

Analyzing the Class 8A Bracket

Class 7A and Class 8A Predictions

 

In ugly home opener, Lauri Markkanen gives a glimmer of hope

In ugly home opener, Lauri Markkanen gives a glimmer of hope

Keeping the game simple is often a tough task for rookies entering the NBA, but it seems Lauri Markkanen has been a quick learner in that aspect.

Through two games he’s probably the lone bright spot, especially after the Bulls’ cringe-inducing 87-77 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in their home opener at the United Center.

Jumper not falling? Okay, go to the basket.

“It wasn’t falling so I tried to get to the rim a couple times,” Markkanen said. “At the end, I was like let’s do it and I connected on a 3-pointer, I felt more open just because I was at the rim. I think that helped.”

He was asked what the difference was in the second game of his career compared to the first.

“I mean the crowd was chanting for us (tonight),” Markkanen said, referring to Thursday in Toronto.

He wasn’t attempting to display any dry wit but applying common sense seems to work for him, even though he’s been thrust into a situation after an incident that doesn’t make any sense.

With Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic out for the foreseeable future, playing a game-high 37 minutes will be more common than anomaly.

“Whatever your minutes are, you gotta play them to the best of your ability,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s being allowed to play through some mistakes right now. He’s gonna play heavy minutes every night.”

He only shot five of 14 but achieved his first double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds after a 17-point, eight-rebound debut against the Raptors Thursday.

No, someone didn’t open a door for a draft to come into the United Center on that three-pointer that went wide left, but it didn’t stop him from being assertive and continuing to look for his shot.

There was plenty of muck, easy to see on the stat sheet. The 38 percent shooting overall, the lack of penetration, the 29 percent shooting from 3-point range and 20 turnovers.

It’s not hard to imagine what Markkanen will look like with competent and effective NBA players around him, along with a true facilitating point guard that will find him in this offense.

“Markkanen is a wonderful player,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s aggressive, he’s smart and obviously, he can shoot the ball. He’s just going to get better and better as he figures things out.”

He received a crash course, facing the likes of Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay Saturday night. On one instance, Gay drove baseline and made Markkanen buckle with a 3-point play.

Aldridge had 24 shots in 32 minutes as a new focal point with Kawhi Leonard out with injury.

So he’s not getting treated with kid gloves, nor is he backing down from the assignments.

“He didn’t shoot the ball well but he battled,” Hoiberg said. “He had a tough assignment with Pau, who’s gonna be in the Hall of Fame one day. Good experience. He guarded Aldridge, Rudy Gay some. He battled, he fought them.”

Even with the airball, had the moment that gives the Bulls fans hope, when he drove on Gasol, spun and hooked a lefty layup while being fouled by the veteran in the first half—giving the United Center faithful something to have faith in for a moment.

“Sometimes you get labeled as a shooter. That’s the label Lauri had,” Hoiberg said. “But he really is a complete basketball player. He’s versatile, he can put in on the deck. He slides his feet very well for a guy that’s seven feet tall, someone his age. Yeah, he’s learning on the fly. He’s gonna have ups and downs, as young as he is. He’s gonna have some struggles at times. But he’s played pretty darn well for everything he’s been through, understanding two days ago he’s gonna be in the starting lineup.”

And for all the bad air around the Bulls right now, from the on-court product to the off-court drama that seems to follow them around like Pigpen, it would be even worse if Markkanen’s first two games had him looking like a corpse, or someone who would be a couple years away from reasonably contributing to an NBA team.

“He’s good, he’s very good,” Gasol said. “I like him. I like his game.”