Cardinals QB sidelined by rib cartilage damage


Cardinals QB sidelined by rib cartilage damage

PHOENIX (AP) Kevin Kolb's star-crossed career in Arizona has taken another hit.

The Cardinals announced Tuesday that Kolb has rib cartilage damage and will be sidelined for ``an unspecified period of time.''

Kolb, who took over when starter John Skelton went down in the opener and directed the game-winning drive, had the team at 4-2 despite weak play by his offensive line that had him sacked 22 times in the last three games.

The job will revert to Skelton, who beat out Kolb in the preseason and just now is returning to health from a sprained left ankle. Skelton was active on Sunday for the first time since the injury.

Kolb also has a sprained sternoclavicular joint. Known commonly as the SC joint, it connects the breastbone to the collar bone.

The damage was discovered in an MRI on Monday. The exam did not show any fractures on the ribs or sternum, which would have been far more serious.

The injury comes with Arizona entering arguably the toughest stretch of its schedule.

Kolb will miss Sunday's game at Minnesota and most likely the Oct. 29 Monday night showdown at home against San Francisco. The team is at Green Bay on Nov. 4, then has a bye week before traveling to Atlanta.

Kolb was hurt trying to make it to the line of scrimmage on a busted play late in the Cardinals' 19-16 overtime loss to Buffalo on Sunday. He changed the call to a draw play at the line of scrimmage but running back William Powell didn't realize it. That left the ball in Kolb's hands. He tried to scramble but was tackled a yard shy of the line of scrimmage, the ball pinned between his ribs and the turf.

The play was not one of the five sacks Kolb sustained, one for a safety. Kolb has been sacked 22 times in the past three games - the last two losses after the team opened the season 4-0, the franchise's best start in 38 years.

In six games, Kolb has completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,169 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions.

It's the third time Kolb has been sidelined with an injury in 22 games since he arrived in Arizona.

Last season, in the Cardinals' sixth straight loss, he went out with a turf toe injury. With Skelton at the controls, Arizona won three of the next four. Kolb returned to lead the Cardinals to an overtime victory over Dallas. But the following week against San Francisco, he took a knee to the head on Arizona's first series and left with a concussion. Kolb didn't play the rest of the season as the erratic but resilient Skelton led the Cardinals to an 8-8 finish.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt declared an open competition between Skelton and Kolb and announced Skelton the winner just before the final week of practice leading to the season opener.

Skelton, though, had to be carted off the field with the sprained ankle in the fourth quarter against Seattle. Kolb, who entered the game to boos from the home crowd, directed the winning touchdown drive in a 20-16 victory.

A stunning win at New England, followed by victories over Philadelphia and Miami made Arizona one of just three NFL teams to start 4-0, but the Cardinals were dominated in a 17-3 Thursday night loss at St. Louis, with Kolb taking brutal hit after brutal hit, including nine sacks.

Last Sunday, in a typically wild Arizona home game, the Cardinals' Jay Feely kicked a franchise record 61-yard field goal to tie it, only to have his 38-yard attempt to win the game deflected. The ball hit the left upright and bounced out.

In overtime, Skelton threw an interception that set up Buffalo's game-winning kick.

Kolb completed 14 of 26 passes for 128 yards against the Bills. He threw for a touchdown and was intercepted once. The scrambler also rushed for 66 yards in 5 carries, 22 on the play before he was hurt.

Skelton, a 6-foot-6, strong-armed pocket passer, is 8-4 as a starter after being drafted in the fifth round out of Fordham. In his career, he has completed 52 percent of his passes for 2,769 yards and 13 touchdowns with 18 interceptions. In his brief time this year, Skelton is 16 of 38 for 194 yards and no TDs with two interceptions.

Like Kolb, Skelton is a Texan - Kolb from Stephenville and Skelton from El Paso.

With Skelton finally healthy, Whisenhunt would have been on the spot to officially name Kolb the team's starter or return the reins to Skelton. Kolb's injury made the decision for him.

Rookie Ryan Lindley, a sixth-round draft pick from San Diego State, is Skelton's backup.


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Wizards go cold late to drop Game 5, as Raptors take 3-2 series lead

Wizards go cold late to drop Game 5, as Raptors take 3-2 series lead

The Washington Wizards lost to the Toronto Raptors 108-98 in Game 5 of their first round playoff series on Wednesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Ice cold: When the Wizards needed it most, their offense failed them. With John Wall running the show, they can traditionally score with the best of them. But from the 4:05 mark in the fourth quarter, they went scoreless for a stretch of three minutes and 49 seconds.

Meanwhile, the Raptors converted turnovers into points to close the game on a 14-5 run. The Wizards shot brick after brick from long range and missed 11 of their last 15 shots. It was a shocking collapse in a game that had been going well for the Wizards.

By beating the Wizards in Game 5, the Raptors took a 3-2 series lead which historically means they have nearly an 83 percent chance of winning the series. Those aren't good odds for the Wizards, who can look at one area of the court to blame.

The Wizards made only five threes on 26 attempts. The Raptors, conversely, went 11-for-25 (44%) from the perimeter. The Wizards' five threes were their fewest in a game since Jan. 12.

DeRozan was a killer: As has been the case this entire series, DeMar DeRozan led the charge for Toronto. The perennial All-Star came out on fire with 20 points in the first half alone.

This time, it wasn't just free throws. He was 4-for-4 at the half, but 7-for-13 from the field and 2-for-2 from three. Usually, threes aren't his game.

DeRozan kept it up in the second half to score 32 points on 12-of-24 from the field. That's a pretty efficient night.

Otto looked a bit hurt: Otto Porter, who was held to nine points and four rebounds, didn't appear to be moving very well. He was running around with a limp, which suggests his right lower leg strain is still bothering him.

Head coach Scott Brooks said last week that Porter is 100 percent, but that doesn't seem like the case, unless there was some sort of setback in the time since. Porter, however, is such a smart player and such a good shooter that he can still make the most of his time on the court.

Solid start: The Wizards aren't used to playing well in the first quarter this series. They entered Game 5 with an average deficit of -7.2 points in the first quarter. In this game, however, they led by one point after one.

That was thanks to a buzzer-beater by John Wall (26 points, nine assists, nine rebounds). Ian Mahinmi got the offensive rebound and it set up Wall for a last-second shot. He got to one of his spots and sent it in:

It was just the second time in five games this series that the Wizards have been leading after one. The other time was Game 3, when the Wizards beat the Raptors handily to earn their first win.

The Wizards, though, couldn't finish. They also couldn't protect the ball. At least Wall couldn't, as he committed seven turnovers, one short of his playoff career-high.

Backup PGs: The Raptors again played without point guard Fred VanVleet, their best bench player and a guy who is arguably one of the best backup point guards in basketball. The loss has been evident for the most part, despite his replacement Delon Wright doing a solid job, including with 18 points in Game 5.

On Wednesday, Washington's backup point guard also shined. Despite not playing a single game during the regular season, Ty Lawson continues to make smart plays and create scoring opportunities for others.

He had four assists in this game and made one of the best plays of the night. Check out this move he put on to set up Ian Mahinmi:

And this dude was playing in China like two weeks ago? If he keeps this up, there will be an easy case to make that the Wizards should re-sign him for next season.

Clearly, they want Tomas Satoransky to play more off the ball and the coaching staff hasn't gained full trust in him. Lawson and Satoransky could make a solid reserve backcourt if they have some time to develop some chemistry.

Up next: The Wizards and Raptors are back at it on Friday night in Washington for Game 6. The tipoff time has not been announced, but the game will be aired on NBC Sports Washington.

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Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

The Hershey Bears

Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

The contracts of Hershey Bears head coach Troy Mann and Bears assistant coach Ryan Murphy will not be renewed for next season, the Capitals announced Wednesday. Hershey finished in last place in the Atlantic Division and did not qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

“Troy is a dedicated and hard-working coach and we appreciate all he has done for the Hershey Bears,” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. “At this point, we feel a fresh approach and a change in leadership is needed in order for us to continue to develop our young players towards the next level and for success at the AHL level. We also want to thank Ryan for his contributions to the Hershey Bears and wish him all the best.”

Just two seasons ago, the Bears under Mann were playing the Calder Cup Finals where they lost in four games to the Lake Erie Monsters. Mann served as an assistant coach for Hershey from 2009-2013 and was hired as the head coach in 2014. He led the Bears to a record of 162-102-22-18 during his tenure, good for sixth all-time among Hershey coaches in wins.

Mann coached several current Capitals players in Hershey including Travis Boyd, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos and Philipp Grubauer, among others. Hershey also currently boasts several of the Caps' biggest prospects such as Lucas Johansen, Connor Hobbs, Riley Barber and Jonas Siegenthaler.

Murphy was with the Bears for all four years of Mann's tenure. He started in video development in Mann's first season and was promoted to assistant coach the following year.

“We’d like to thank Troy Mann and Ryan Murphy for their contributions to the Hershey Bears organization,” said Hershey vice president of hockey operations, Bryan Helmer. “While we are looking to move our hockey club forward, today is certainly an emotional day. I had the pleasure of working with both Troy and Ryan behind the bench for two seasons, and consider them to be great people. We wish both all the best in future endeavors.”

Coaching in the AHL is a tough job as coaches are expected to bring the team success while also developing their NHL club's prospects. There are times when the two goals do not necessarily line up which can make it a difficult balance.

Considering how important it is to develop talent from within, AHL coaches are very significant parts of an organization. Getting the right guy in charge of Hershey won't just boost the AHL team, but will help the Caps down the line with developed players.