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3 NFL QBs sidelined by concussions on 1 day

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3 NFL QBs sidelined by concussions on 1 day

Next week's big, nationally televised ``Monday Night Football'' showcase could feature a quarterback matchup of journeyman Jason Campbell of the Bears vs. untested Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers. Not exactly the creme de la creme of the NFC.

Why? Concussions, of course.

With so much attention paid to replacement refs and bounty ruling appeals this season, it's an issue that's slipped a bit under the radar lately. But it's hard to ignore this: 25 percent of Sunday's NFL games saw a starting QB leave with a concussion.

Two were Chicago's Jay Cutler and San Francisco's Alex Smith, whose teams play each other next Monday. Both stayed in Sunday's games for several plays after what appeared to be head-rattling hits. Smith even threw a TD pass while playing with blurred vision before he departed, according to coach Jim Harbaugh.

``It's a reminder that you've got to err on the side of caution,'' said Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, co-chairman of the NFL's head, neck and spine committee, who was not familiar with the particulars of Sunday's quarterback injuries. ``The question that I would ask is: Why did Mr. Smith not report this to his team physician, and say, `Hey, I've got blurred vision, is that a problem?' ... We have to educate the medical teams to be really conservative. And we still have to educate players to self-report. If they don't feel 100 percent, they have to be willing to very strongly tell somebody.''

More than 3,500 former players - including at least 26 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame - have sued the NFL, saying not enough was done to inform them about the dangers of concussions in the past, and not enough is being done today to take care of them.

The instructions now used for in-game sideline concussion assessments in the NFL include a box that reads: ``Signs and symptoms of concussion may be delayed, and therefore it may be prudent to remove an athlete from play, not leave them alone, and serially monitor them over a period of time.'' After that, in all capital letters, it reads: ``When in doubt, take a `time out.'''

The NFL looked into the Cutler and Smith cases - and Philadelphia's Michael Vick, the third quarterback who got a concussion this weekend - and came away satisfied that the proper protocol was followed. Players who exhibit any concussion symptoms are supposed to be removed from a game immediately and not be allowed to return to play or practice until fully without symptoms.

``Our medical advisors routinely review with team medical staffs all significant injuries,'' league spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an email. ``In these cases, we learned that the teams handled the injuries properly and removed the players from the game as soon as they displayed symptoms and were diagnosed with a concussion.''

Ellenbogen pointed out that concussion symptoms might take time to emerge. That's apparently what happened with another noteworthy player, Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson, who took a late hit to the head in a loss at the New England Patriots on Sunday.

He was examined Monday - a day after showing what coach Chan Gailey called ``concussion-like symptoms'' on the flight home. Gailey said Jackson will miss Thursday's game against Miami.

After Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy returned to a game in December 2011 despite not being checked for a head injury following an against-the-rules hit to the helmet, the league put certified athletic trainers in booths above the field to watch for injuries and added video feeds on sidelines to make it easier to track dangerous hits immediately.

Aiello said that video was used by the Bears and 49ers to look at their quarterbacks' injuries.

The league spokesman declined to comment on Harbaugh's description of what happened with Smith: The QB threw a TD pass a half-dozen plays after he began experiencing blurred vision on a 1-yard keeper - and a dozen plays after taking a vicious hit from St. Louis linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar.

Smith scrambled to his left and started to slide before turning when Dunbar got him in the back of the neck with 1:10 left in the first quarter. He briefly grabbed his face mask and grimaced but stayed in the game

``He said he had the blurred vision after the quarterback sneak,'' Harbaugh said. ``There's no telling. Did that earlier hit contribute? I don't know. I don't know Alex knows for sure, either.''

Added Harbaugh: ``You don't want him out there with blurred vision. ... He came up from the sneak and he had blurred vision and he felt that it would go away. He came over to the sideline and sat down and felt it would go away and it didn't.''

Bears coach Lovie Smith said Cutler showed no symptoms of a concussion immediately after a helmet-to-helmet hit from Houston's Tim Dobbins in the second quarter. Cutler finished the half, then was held out after halftime. While the play with Dobbins' hit was being reviewed by the officials, Smith said: ``Our trainers talked to him, evaluated him; he was fine from there. Players in the huddle didn't see anything wrong with him at the time.''

Vick, meanwhile, was diagnosed with a ``pretty significant'' concussion, coach Andy Reid said. Reid wouldn't rule Vick out for next Sunday's game at the Washington Redskins; rookie Nick Foles would play if Vick doesn't.

``You've got to get ready for both. We're not too sure what the situation is, so we'll wait and see there,'' Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. ``With the concussion that he had, I don't think you're really sure.''

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AP Sports Writers Janie McCauley, Andrew Seligman, Joseph White, John Wawrow and Dan Gelston contributed to this report.

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

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Associated Press

5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

The Washington Wizards signed point guard Ramon Sessions to a 10-day free agent contract on Thursday. Here are five things to know about the newest Wizards player...

**Sessions has played for Washington before. He was acquired by the Wizards at the trade deadline in 2015 and played out the 2014-15 season, appearing in 28 regular season games and 10 more in the playoffs. Sessions then spent the whole 2015-16 season with the team before leaving the following summer to sign a free agent deal with the Charlotte Hornets. In 1 1/2 seasons with the Wizards, Sessions averaged 9.2 points, 3.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds. He shot 46 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

**Sessions played one season for the Hornets and spent part of this year with the New York Knicks. The Knicks waived Sessions on Jan. 13. Over the past two seasons in Charlotte and New York, Sessions has averaged 5.7 points, 2.5 assists and 1.4 rebounds while shooting 37 percent.

**This is Sessions' 11th NBA season. In addition to the Wizards, Hornets and Knicks, he has spent time with the Bucks, Cavs, Lakers and Kings. He began his career in Milwaukee after getting selected in the second round of the 2007 draft.

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**Sessions went to the University of Nevada from 2004 through 2007 and left an impressive legacy as one of the best players in the program's history. The school's practice facility is, in fact, named after Sessions. It is called the 'Ramon Sessions Basketball Performance Center' and Sessions donated $1 million towards construction costs.

**Sessions overlapped with former Wizards player JaVale McGee at Nevada. Sessions was in his final season as a junior when McGee was a freshman. The Wolfpack were quite good that year. They peaked at No. 10 in the nation, the highest ranking in school history, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

RELATED: 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT HAS LOADED CLASS

2018 Bubble Watch: Teams are lining up on the edge of the bubble

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USA Today Sports Images

2018 Bubble Watch: Teams are lining up on the edge of the bubble

The 2018 bubble watch has been relatively subdued with the plethora of upsets throughout the latter half of the college basketball season. At the same time, teams that are providing these upsets have slowly worked themselves from being a question mark at the bubble to now solidly in the tournament (ie. Virginia Tech).

Of the major conferences, the Big Ten is up in the air on how the end of February/ beginning of March will play out. Remember, to host their tournament in Madison Square Garden, the conference elected to move it a week earlier than the rest of the power leagues. Will it affect how many teams they have in the big dance? Right now they have four teams in but two more are hovering at the bubble.

READ MORE: BRACKETOLOGY ROUND-UP, RIGHT NOW SYRACUSE IS IN

Aside from the Big Ten, several other teams are striding the line. Many of which have done so all season long. 

Of the teams listed, they are battling for roughly 10 spots in the field of 68.

All rankings and records are as of Thursday, Feb. 22 at 12:00 pm

Oklahoma (16-11, 6-9 Big 12)
RPI: 32     BPI: 43      KenPom: 43    SOS: 12
Could Trae Young’s Oklahoma actually miss the NCAA Tournament? Yes. The Sooners have dropped six straight games and nine of their last 11. Yes, they have racked up the most high-quality wins in the country, but they are in a tailspin. They have beaten Kansas, TCU twice, Texas Tech, and Wichita State, but some of their losses are bad and they are piling up. Of their final three regular season games, two are against bubble teams that are desperate for a respectable win. If they lose out and then don’t make it past the first round of the Big 12 tournament, they are 16-15 (6-12).

St. Mary’s (CA) (25-4, 14-2 WCC)
RPI: 29     BPI: 20      KenPom: 22     SOS: 137
Early season losses to Georgia and Washington State are not as okay as they appeared back in non-conference play. Added to it was their surprising loss to San Francisco has now put the Gaels falling down the slide. Its hard to imagine though a 25-4 team not making the tournament.

Kansas State (20-8, 9-6 Big 12)
RPI: 55      BPI: 47     KenPom: 46     SOS: 73
The Kansas State Wildcats are your typical bubble team. They have beaten everyone in the Big 12 aside from the ranked teams.  They have some good wins but lack a high quality or ‘Quadrant 1’ victory. Their win over Texas on Feb. 21 give them a head-to-head over another team attempting to steal a bubble spot.

Providence (17-11, 8-7 Big East)
RPI: 37     BPI: 72      KenPom: 69     SOS: 20
Being in the Big East will always give a team a strong SOS, but the Providence Friars have lost to teams they should not have. While they have impressive wins over Xavier and Villanova at home, they have a DePaul loss at home that counters one of those wins. Their looming contest against Xavier has now developed into a must-win on Feb. 28.

NC State (19-9, 9-6 ACC)
RPI: 57     BPI: 51      KenPom: 50     SOS: 61
A team that has benefited from a strong conference has been the Wolfpack from NC State. Out of the ACC, NC State had a horrid schedule and even dropped games against Northern Iowa and UNC Greensboro.  However, they have made up for that with some of the most impressive wins in the ACC. They beat Duke, Clemson, and North Carolina on the road to climb back to the bubble watch.

Baylor (17-11, 7-8 Big 12)
RPI: 59     BPI: 37      KenPom: 36     SOS: 23
Beating Kansas and Texas Tech at home are really the only reasons the Baylor Bears are in consideration at the bubble. But, they are in the deepest conference in college basketball this season, which gives them a ton of decent wins that they can add to their resume. The Bears realistically have to win out to get into the dance.

St. Bonaventure (21-6, 11-4 A10)
RPI: 25     BPI:  58     KenPom: 68     SOS: 91
As a borderline bubble team, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies have followed that with a nine-game winning streak and a crucial victory over Rhode Island. As long as the Bonnies take care of their own business and make no worse than the semis in the A10 Tournament, they should be good. Guards Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley are overdue for a tournament berth.

READ ALSO: AP POLL SHAKES UP THE TOP 10

Syracuse (18-10, 7-8 ACC)
RPI: 46     BPI: 52      KenPom: 51     SOS: 22
A month and a half ago, the Syracuse Orange had no business being in the bubble conversation. Still, their four best wins are over Miami, Virginia Tech, Louisville, and then Buffalo. They have some work to do in their final three weeks.

Louisville (18-10, 8-7 ACC)
RPI: 52     BPI: 35      KenPom: 37     SOS: 29
The Louisville Cardinals are in a worse spot than Syracuse, they only have one would be ‘Quadrant 1’ win at Florida State from nearly two months ago. With all the drama surrounding this program through the entire 2017-18 season, you have to give it to David Padgett for keeping them in the race.

USC (20-9, 11-5 Pac-12)
RPI: 36     BPI: 50      KenPom: 52     SOS: 49
The Pac-12 could be in extreme trouble. If USC does not make the push into the NCAA Tournament, there will only be two teams from that conference dancing. With an interesting resume, there is not much that jumps off the Trojans record. Then again, there isn’t much that takes away from it either.

UCLA (19-8, 10-5 Pac-12)
RPI: 47     BPI: 60      KenPom: 54     SOS: 66
Their win over Arizona solidified their claim to the bubble. Win-out situation upcoming for the Bruins who have been hurt by a weak Pac-12.

Texas (16-12, 6-9 Big 12)
RPI: 54     BPI:  39     KenPom: 41     SOS: 16
The Longhorns have such a good schedule. They’ve played all of their games close, but few close games against high-quality teams have translated to wins.

Marquette (16-11, 7-8 Big East)
RPI: 58     BPI: 45      KenPom: 48     SOS: 18
The Golden Eagles were sitting pretty until a four-game losing streak and a loss to St. John’s took them out of the conference race. Not much room for error with Marquette as they move closer to Selection Sunday.

Nebraska (21-9, 12-5 Big Ten)
RPI: 60     BPI: 61      KenPom: 57     SOS: 101
A win against Michigan and a six-game winning streak in the Big Ten has the Cornhuskers alive despite a sub-.500 SOS. They still need a Big Ten tournament upset to get in.

Washington  (18-9, 8-6 Pac-12)
RPI: 48     BPI: 109   KenPom: 95     SOS: 37
The only reason the Washington Huskies are in this conversation is because they beat Arizona and Arizona State back-to-back.

Utah (17-9. 9-6 Pac-12)
RPI: 49     BPI: 70      KenPom: 60     SOS: 65
Another bubble team that hasn’t done much. They’ve won the games they should have and only have snagged an upset on Arizona State.

Other teams:

Florida (17-11, 8-7 SEC)
RPI: 64     BPI: 34      KenPom: 29     SOS: 39

Georgia (15-12, 6-9 SEC)
RPI: 70     BPI: 84      KenPom: 71     SOS: 48

LSU (16-11, 7-8 SEC)
RPI: 74     BPI: 64      KenPom: 63     SOS: 47

Temple (15-12, 7-8 AAC)
RPI: 44     BPI: 83      KenPom: 85     SOS: 9

 

Games to Watch This Week:

UCLA at Utah 2/22 – 9:00 pm (ESPN)

Baylor at TCU 2/24 – 12:00 pm (ESPN2)

LSU at Georgia 2/24 – 2:00 pm (ESPNU)

Louisville at Virginia Tech 2/24 pm – 1:00 pm (CBS)

Syracuse at Duke 2/24 – 6:00 pm (ESPN)

Kansas State at Oklahoma 2/24 – 6:00 pm (ESPN2)

No. 12 Auburn vs. Florida 2/24 – 8:30 pm (SECN)

Penn State at Nebraska 2/25 – 5:15 pm (BTN)

NC State at Florida State 2/25 – 6:00 pm (ESPNU)

Oklahoma at Baylor 2/27 – 9:00 pm (ESPN2)

Davidson at St. Bonaventure 2/27 – 9:00 pm (CBSSN)

Providence at No. 4 Xavier 2/28 – 6:30 pm (FS1)