Redskins

No surgery required for Love's broken hand

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No surgery required for Love's broken hand

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Timberwolves got a bit of good news Thursday when doctors told All-Star Kevin Love that he wouldn't need surgery on his broken right hand.

The bad news is they still have to figure out a way to replace his 26 points and 13 rebounds a game for the next six to eight weeks.

Love said in a statement Thursday that he broke his right hand while doing knuckle push-ups the day before in a pre-practice workout. The injury means the Wolves will be without their two best players - point guard Ricky Rubio isn't expected back until mid-December at the earliest because of a torn ACL in his left knee - for the first month of the regular season, and possibly longer.

``Although I'm disappointed that this injury happened, I will work extremely hard to stay in shape and return to the court as quickly as possible,'' Love said.

The situation is similar to what Wolves coach Rick Adelman had to deal with in Houston, when he lost stars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming for extended stretches.

``I was just shocked,'' Adelman said when he was told of Love's injury. ``I couldn't believe it. Here we're trying to get ready and then we have something like this happen. I learned a long time ago. I've had so many injuries to good players, I've started to think maybe it's me.''

Adelman chuckled just a bit after uttering those words, but figuring out how to move on without his leading scorer and rebounder and without getting buried isn't going to be easy.

His options, however, are many. Starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko can move to the power forward against some teams, with Dante Cunningham, Lou Amundson and Derrick Williams also available to fill in.

If anyone thought it was Williams' spot by default, Adelman shot that down Thursday.

``Why would people assume that?'' Adelman asked. ``He's certainly one of the guys that has to play there, but it's going to be him, Dante, Lou, Andrei may play some there. That's what we're going to have to find out the next three games and the practices, what's the best way to go.''

Williams spent most of the summer reshaping his body and working on his ball-handling so he could earn more minutes at small forward with Love getting the bulk of the time at power forward. But he has done some of his best work at power forward, including a 22-point, 10-rebound performance against the Lakers on March 9 when Love couldn't play because of back spasms.

``I think it's a big opportunity for myself as well as DC and a few of the other guys on our team that can play multiple positions,'' Williams said. ``It really does (stink). He's a two-time All-Star and the best player on our team. We're just going to have to do without him, same without Ricky. We can't make any excuses.''

Williams impressed the coaches with his work ethic and aggressiveness early in training camp, but Adelman still wants to see more consistency from the No. 2 overall pick in last year's draft.

``It can't be one night, one game someone plays well and two games later he doesn't do anything and he gets lost out there,'' Adelman said. ``I'm looking for consistency from all those guys.''

Adelman was able to lead the Rockets to the playoffs when McGrady and Yao were injured, and the Timberwolves maintain that remains the goal in Minnesota this season.

``I'm hoping our guys respond like the guys in Houston did,'' he said. ``We can still win and we can still be successful. We just have to find out how we're going to do it. Guys have to step up.''

The Wolves have three more preseason games before opening the regular season at home against Sacramento on Nov. 2.

Adelman will spend that time exploring different combinations and lineups to try to find the right mix.

``He's obviously a big piece of our puzzle,'' Cunningham said. ``Right now we're dealing with a team coming together. For him to go down right now is definitely a blow to our team. But we're going to pick it up and move forward.''

If Adelman has his way, all workouts going forward will be push-up-free.

``I think that should be taken out of the repertoire for sure,'' he cracked. ``In fact, all push-ups. Anything to do with the hands. I looked over and saw Ricky doing push-ups after I heard about it. I said, `No, let's stop there.'''

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Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter:http://twitter.com/APkrawczynski

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

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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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Will the Caps be able to take advantage of home ice in Game 5?

Will the Caps be able to take advantage of home ice in Game 5?

There's a saying in sports that goes, "A series doesn't start until a team loses at home." For the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets, their series won't start until someone wins at home.

Four games into the series, the road team has won every game. Columbus took Game 1 and Game 2 from Capital One Arena and the Caps answered back by winning Game 3 and Game 4 in Ohio.

"We came [to Columbus] to try to get the first one," Barry Trotz said after Thursday's win. "Did that. We came here to get the second one. Did that. All we've done is just got on even terms."

Now the series is a best of three with two of those final three games in Washington, but how much of an advantage does that really give the Caps?

"We've got to make sure that we're ready to go," Trotz said. "I think we have been since we got here. We've just got to do it at home."

The various playoff struggles the Caps have suffered in the Alex Ovechkin era have been well-documented to this point. One particularly maddening issue is the team's struggles to win at home. Since 2008, the first year the Ovechkin-led Caps made the playoffs, the team is just 28-25 in home playoff games. Since 2015, Trotz's first season as head coach, the Caps are 12-10 in Washington.

Part of that is just the nature of hockey. Upsets are prevalent in the playoffs in the NHL and home-ice advantage does not mean as much as it does in other sports. But it should mean more than 28-25.

Besides having the crowd on your side, home ice also provides matchup advantages. The home team gets the second line change at home, meaning during a stoppage in play the home coach gets the opportunity to see who the opponent puts on the ice before making his own change. For the Caps, this means getting Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen on the ice against Artemi Panarin.

Trotz has matched his top shutdown pair against Columbus' top line all series long. According to Natural Stat Trick, when Niskanen was on the ice in Game 4 he held Panarin's Corsi For percentage to 36.36. When Niskanen was not on the ice, Panarin's percentage shot up to 71.43. 

Theoretically, it should be much easier for Trotz to get those favorable matchups at home. Now all the Caps have to do is take advantage.

"Our home record hasn't been really great in the last little stretch at the end of the season here and obviously the first two games of the playoffs," Trotz said. "We owe it to our fans, we owe it to ourselves to take advantage of that."

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