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Bears hit with more injuries


Bears hit with more injuries

Undermanned Chicago was hit with more injuries Sunday in a loss to Seattle, including to star linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Urlacher injured a hamstring in the 23-17 defeat. Cornerback Tim Jennings (shoulder) also was hurt on the Seahawks' winning drive, after receiver Earl Bennett (concussion) and safety Chris Conte (illness) left earlier in the game.

The Bears had already ruled out return specialist Devin Hester (concussion) and guard Chris Spencer (knee) after they were injured against Minnesota. Throw in the torn ACL guard Lance Louis suffered against the Vikings, and the Bears were a short-handed bunch.

Dolphins left tackle Jake Long hurt his left triceps against New England. Long, the top overall pick in the 2008 draft, stood on the sideline in the second quarter with a bag of ice on his arm and didn't return. X-rays were taken, but the team didn't release the results.

Last year he went on injured reserve before the final game because of a torn right biceps.

49ers wide receiver Mario Manningham (shoulder) did not return after getting hurt in the fourth quarter at St. Louis. Coach Jim Harbaugh said the team ``won't know right away'' about the severity of the injury.

Already injury-depleted, Green Bay lost receiver Jordy Nelson (hamstring) and offensive lineman T.J. Lang (ankle). Lang started the first nine games at left guard before moving over to right tackle after Bryan Bulaga suffered a season-ending hip injury.

The Titans lost right tackle David Stewart, who broke his right leg on the opening series against the Texans. Stewart was blocking on a 26-yard running play by Chris Johnson when Texans linebacker Barrett Ruud rolled into his right leg. Trainers put an air cast on Stewart's lower right leg, while a cart quickly came out to pick him up.

Left guard Steve Hutchinson injured his right knee, returned briefly in the third quarter when left tackle Michael Roos got hurt, then limped off the field before returning on the next series. Titans receiver Damian Williams hurt a hamstring missing a pass as he went out of bounds and collided with a security guard.

Houston cornerback Brice McCain, starting with Johnathan Joseph out, hurt his left foot in the first half. Tight end Garrett Graham suffered a head injury.

Jets tight end Dustin Keller left against the Cardinals with an injured left ankle. Keller was hurt late in the opening half, hopping off the field and being checked out on the sideline by trainers before walking to the locker room.

New York kick returner-running back Joe McKnight injured his ribs in the third quarter and didn't return.

Lions rookie receiver Ryan Broyles appeared to injure his right knee midway through the first quarter against Indianapolis. Broyles tore a ligament while he was a senior at Oklahoma, but that was in his left knee.

Colts offensive lineman Joe Reitz left in the first quarter with a suspected concussion.

Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers and safety Abe Elam were sidelined against Carolina. Elam left with a left leg injury and Flowers hobbled to the sideline with a hamstring injury after making a tackle late in the first quarter.

Panthers linebacker James Anderson left with an eye injury.

Already down starter Maurice Jones-Drew (left foot) and backup Jalen Parmele (groin), the Jaguars lost running back Rashad Jennings, who sustained a concussion in the second quarter against Buffalo. Then their leading receiver, Cecil Shorts III, sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter.

The list of injuries is growing for the Bills, too.

Leading receiver Stevie Johnson did not return after hurting his left hamstring in the third quarter. Center Eric Wood hurt his left knee, and right tackle Chris Hairston couldn't finish after hurting his right ankle. Cornerback and return specialist Leodis McKelvin also couldn't finish because of a nagging back injury.

Pittsburgh cornerback Ike Taylor hurt his right ankle in the first quarter at Baltimore and coach Mike Tomlin said FB Will Johnson ``probably has a concussion.''

Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard left against Tampa Bay with an ankle injury.

Bengals rookie CB Dre Kirkpatrick sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter at San Diego. Chargers right tackle Jeromey Clary had a knee injury.


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John Carlson gets the better of John Klingberg in duel of top defensemen


John Carlson gets the better of John Klingberg in duel of top defensemen

One week ago, the hockey world was captivated by the matchup of Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine, two players battling for the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer. Tuesday's matchup between the Washington Capitals and Dallas Stars once again pitted two competitors locked in a point battle together in John Carlson and John Klingberg.

Carlson and Klingberg entered Tuesday's games with 59 points each, tied for the league lead in points among defensemen. In a 4-3 win for Washington, both defensemen delivered phenomenal performances as each recorded two points, two assists for Klingberg and a goal and an assist for Carlson.

Tuesday's game was the latest example this season of Carlson rising to the occasion. He has been at his best when he has been needed the most such as when he was averaging 27:46 of ice time a night while Matt Niskanen was out injured.


Carlson's ability to deliver has not gone unnoticed by his teammates.

"John's having just a whale of a year, obviously," Niskanen said. "Monster year. Production, been carrying the load all year. He's been just a stalwart back there for us. He leads the way."

"The numbers don't lie, he's been having an unreal season," T.J. Oshie said. "Definitely on the points side of things, but maybe some parts that don't get talked about, the defensive side of things. He rarely loses a battle. It's very encouraging, it gets the bench going when he plays like that."

After the game, Carlson tried to downplay the notion that he elevated his game in response to playing against Klingberg.

"No," Carlson said when asked if he was motivated by the points race. "I think the guys do a good job of pumping that up in the locker room. I just want to go out there and win. I think we played a good game tonight so that's most important."

But while his words were subdued, his play was anything but.

Despite both players getting two points, Carlson got the better of his counterpart by scoring the game-winning goal in the third period, a one-timer slap shot to beat goalie Kari Lehtnonen, to lead Washington to the win.


Carlson may say he was not motivated by Klingberg, but his play certainly seemed to suggest otherwise.

"I think they both know, they know the stats," Barry Trotz said. "They know who they're lined up [against]. They're proud athletes. You're in a business where there's a lot of alpha males. That's what it is."

Of course, Carlson may not need a matchup with Klingberg to motivate him.

In the final year of his contract, Carlson has picked a good time to set new career highs in goals, assist and points. With a cap hit of just under $4 million, the 28-year-old blueliner will be due a significant raise in the offseason. That price tag continues to climb with every good performance as Carlson continues to cement himself among the league's top defensemen.

"Obviously he's very motivated," Trotz said. "He's in the last year of his contract. He'll be motivated. He's putting out points. He's gotten better and better. He's more poised every year. When he's intense and detailed in his game, he's a top defenseman in the league and he shows it."

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Need to Know: Redskins player quick hitters—Offensive starters

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Need to Know: Redskins player quick hitters—Offensive starters

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 21, 36 days before the NFL draft.  

Redskins starters quick hitters—offense

The last couple of days here I looked at how the depth charts are shaping up with a little bit of commentary (offense, defense). Today and tomorrow I’ll take a closer look at the starters with some quick hitters about each one, starting today with the offense.

QB Alex Smith—The deal is done, and the Redskins have their man for five years at $22.2 million per year or, if they prefer, three years at $23.7 million per. It seems like most fans are behind him but there will have to be a few more wins than losses this fall for that to become permanent.

RB Samaje Perine—He got better as the year went on, averaging nearly a half yard per carry more in the last seven games compared to the first nine. But the 3.4 average per carry certainly did not stop both Doug Williams and Jay Gruden from talking about drafting a running back early.

TE Jordan Reed—According to reports, he is rehabbing well from the hamstring and toe injuries that severely limited him last year. Still, expect him to be kept in bubble wrap until training camp and even then, his action may be limited.

WR Josh Doctson—Did Kirk Cousins look away from Doctson too often, lacking the confidence in him to let him go get the 50-50 balls? Will Smith have more confidence in Doctson? The answers to those questions may determine if the third-year receiver breaks out in 2018 or he continues to tease with flashes of ability.

WR Paul Richardson—He’s capable of the acrobatic catch, which should be fun to watch. Richardson was good with Russell Wilson on the off-schedule plays, maybe he can do the same with Smith.

WR Jamison Crowder—I guess it’s fair to say he had an off year in 2017 but his receiving yardage only dropped by 60 yards from 2016. It will be interesting to see if they keep him in as the punt returner after he averaged 6.3 yards per return (23rd of 25 qualifiers) last year.

LT Trent Williams—The six-time Pro Bowler is still in the relatively early stages of recovering from surgery to the knee that kept him from practicing from about Week 6 on. Don’t look for him until training camp and even then, the early workload is likely to be light.

LG Arie Kouandjio—This is the one offensive position that remains up in the air. Kouandjio has shown some grit as a spot starter but I don’t think the organization views him as a 16-game starter.

C Chase Roullier—Shortly after Roullier got the starting job when Spencer Long went out injured, Jay Gruden said that Roullier would be the Redskins’ center “for a long time”. There is no reason to doubt that at this point in time.

RG Brandon Scherff—His concern no longer is trying to live up to having been the fifth pick of the draft. Scherff has to play well enough to justify his 2019 option-year salary, which will be in the vicinity of $13 million.

RT Morgan Moses—He had surgery to repair his ankles, which were an issue most of last season. Still, he didn’t miss a start. Like Williams, even if he’s ready for training camp, don’t expect to see a whole lot of him.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 27
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 129
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 173

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