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Falcons' Weatherspoon to miss game against Dallas

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Falcons' Weatherspoon to miss game against Dallas

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) Outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, one of the leaders of the Atlanta Falcons' defense, will miss Sunday night's game against the Dallas Cowboys with a right ankle injury.

Weatherspoon, second on the team in tackles and sacks, injured the ankle in Sunday's 30-17 win at Philadelphia.

Coach Mike Smith said after Thursday's practice Weatherspoon and receiver Kevin Cone, who has a groin injury, will miss the game. Weatherspoon did not participate in Wednesday or Thursday practices.

The loss of Weatherspoon, a first-round pick in 2010, is a significant blow to the NFL's only undefeated team. He played on every snap on defense this season before the injury.

``Spoon is a hard guy to replace,'' said safety William Moore. ``With Spoon being out this week, we're going to need for everybody to step up another notch. That's a big loss for our defense this week from a leadership standpoint.''

Weatherspoon had 10 or more tackles in four games this season after setting career highs with 127 tackles and four sacks in 2011.

Smith provided no details on the severity of Weatherspoon's injury. Weatherspoon did not appear to be favoring the ankle when he walked through the lockerroom Thursday when reporters were conducting interviews. Weatherspoon declined an interview request.

Akeem Dent, a second-year player, will be the primary replacement for Weatherspoon.

``It's an opportunity for him to step up and play,'' Smith said of Dent. ``We anticipate he will do a nice job.''

Dent is the starting middle linebacker in the team's base 4-3 defense. But the Falcons play the majority of most games in their nickel defense with only two linebackers and a fifth defensive back, and that leaves Dent out of the equation.

The Falcons' nickel back, Robert McClain, played 90 percent of the defensive snaps against Philadelphia. Dent said he played only seven snaps in the base defense against the Eagles before replacing the injured Weatherspoon in the fourth quarter.

Dent filled in for outside linebacker Stephen Nicholas in the Falcons' 23-20 win over Oakland on Oct. 14 and had a career-high nine tackles.

``The good thing is he's going to be playing the same role he played when he filled in for Stephen,'' Smith said. ``We kept him in his original role. He's very familiar with that role so it's not just training him in one week.''

Dent's playing time is sometimes limited but he said he's always preparing for the chance to take a bigger role.

``Each week I go out in practice and continue to get reps within the nickel package,'' Dent said. ``It's no different for me. I always watch Sean when he's in there and get mental reps if I'm not in the game or not on the field in practice.''

Veteran outside linebacker Mike Peterson would join Dent and Nicholas as the three linebackers if the Falcons play their base defense.

Moore said Dent has played enough to show he can fill in for Weatherspoon.

``I think it's a gift and a curse for Spoon,'' Moore said. ``You definitely don't want anybody going down, but it's going to show the leadership of Akeem and Mike Peterson to step up and raise their level of play.''

Dent, a third-round draft pick from Georgia in 2011, said he always practices as if he could play a bigger role.

``My thing is to always be prepared,'' said Dent,. ``You never know when there is going to be an injury in the game, like what happened last week. Something happened and snap, I'm the next guy in.''

According to the Falcons' statistics, Moore leads the team with 63 total tackles. Weatherspoon has 60 tackles, four tackles for lost yardage, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. His three sacks trail only John Abraham's team-leading seven.

Dent has 24 tackles.

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Bradley Beal eliminated in first round of three-point contest

Bradley Beal eliminated in first round of three-point contest

It was a short night for Wizards guard Bradley Beal in the 2018 All-Star three-point contest on Saturday, as he was eliminated in the first round.

Wearing the Wizards' new 'The District' white alternate jersey, Beal shot a 15 and fell short of the top three spots to qualify for the second round. Suns guard Devin Booker won the contest with a 28 score in the final, beating out Klay Thompson of the Warriors and Tobias Harris of the Clippers.

RELATED: BEST WIZARDS/BULLETS MOMENTS ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Beal's was undone by a slow start. He missed all five shots on the first rack and made just one on the second. He began to heat up at the third rack, but by then couldn't recover.

Here is Beal's full round:

This was Beal's second showing in the three-point contest. He finished second back in 2014 and this year said he was motivated to avenge that loss. He should have plenty more opportunities to participate in the future if he chooses.

The NBA's All-Star Saturday night began with Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie winning the skills competition. He beat Bulls big man Lauri Markkanen in the final round.

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blackhawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blackhawks game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals (33-17-7) take on the Blackhawks (24-26-8) Saturday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 7:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 8:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 11:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 12:30 a.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

7:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
8:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blackhawks
11:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
12:30 a.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Blackhawks game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Alex Chiasson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.