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Penn St. attacks claims by ex-assistant McQueary

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Penn St. attacks claims by ex-assistant McQueary

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) Penn State's lawyers asked a judge Tuesday to throw out a whistleblower and defamation lawsuit filed by a former assistant football coach who testified he saw Jerry Sandusky attack a boy in a school shower more than a decade ago.

Mike McQueary's lawsuit is too vague and does not meet legal standards to support claims of defamation and misrepresentation, the university wrote in a court filing.

McQueary has sued the university for millions of dollars, claiming in an October complaint that then-president Graham Spanier made him a scapegoat in 2011 after Sandusky, a retired assistant football coach, was arrested on child molestation charges.

``It is not enough that the alleged victim of a statement be embarrassed or annoyed, he must have suffered the kind of harm which has grievously fractured his standing in the community of a respectable society,'' wrote Penn State attorney Nancy Conrad.

A phone message seeking comment from McQueary's lawyer, Elliot Strokoff, was not immediately returned.

Sandusky, who spent decades at Penn State under longtime coach Joe Paterno, was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving a lengthy state prison sentence. He maintains his innocence.

Last week, he appeared in a central Pennsylvania courthouse for a hearing on his claim that he did not get a fair trial, in part because his lawyers lacked time to prepare. A judge has not yet ruled in that matter.

Conrad's new filing said that a Nov. 5, 2011, news release by Spanier, in which he expressed ``unconditional support'' for outgoing athletic director on leave Tim Curley and retired vice president Gary Schultz, did not relate to McQueary and did not defame him by innuendo.

McQueary alleges he lost his job because he cooperated with prosecutors, and that Spanier's statements suggested McQueary had lied about the 2001 shower attack. He is seeking reinstatement, a bowl bonus, back pay and benefits, among other things. His salary had been $140,000.

McQueary's ``claimed innuendo can only be obtained by means of a tortured and unreasonable construction,'' Conrad wrote.

Curley and Schultz were arrested along with Sandusky, charged with perjury and failing to properly report suspected abuse. The state attorney general's office recently added more counts against them, and charged Spanier for an alleged cover-up of complaints about Sandusky. All three men deny the allegations and await a court hearing.

McQueary told jurors in the Sandusky case that he arrived in a team locker room late one Friday night and saw Sandusky with a naked boy in the shower, leading him to conclude Sandusky was raping the child. He said he heard a ``skin-on-skin smacking sound'' and described the encounter as extremely shocking.

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Otto Porter's status in doubt for Game 6 against Raptors

Otto Porter's status in doubt for Game 6 against Raptors

There appears to be at least some chance the Wizards will be without starting small forward Otto Porter when they host the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of their first round playoff series on Friday night in Washington.

Porter, 24, continues to deal with a right lower leg strain. The injury is located on the outside of his calf and will require further testing from the Wizards' medical staff to determine his status.

Head coach Scott Brooks addressed the media on Thursday and did not rule out an MRI.

"We don't know as of yet, but he's banged up. So, hopefully we will find out some good news and see how he feels tomorrow," Brooks said.

Porter first suffered the injury on April 10 against the Celtics in the Wizards' penultimate regular season game. He missed the regular season finale, but has appeared in all five games of the Wizards-Raptors series.

Brooks did not make it seem likely that Porter will miss Game 6, but expressed uncertainty.

"Anything is possible," he said. "We hope for the best."

Porter appeared hobbled in Game 5 and has at other times this series as well. After the first two games of the series, Brooks was asked about Porter's health and said that he was "100 percent." It's unclear if Porter suffered a setback in the time between, but clearly that isn't the case anymore.

Porter is averaging just 10.0 points in this series, down from his 14.7 per game season average. Ideally, the Wizards would be getting more than that from their third scoring option.

"We need Otto," Brooks said. "We need Otto to be more of a nine or 10-point scorer for us to win this series."

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If this year is going to be different, the Caps cannot go down 0-2 in the series again

If this year is going to be different, the Caps cannot go down 0-2 in the series again

In last year’s playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Capitals won two out of the last three games and three out of the last five…and still lost the series. That’s because they lost both Game 1 and Game 2 to fall into a 0-2 hole, much like they did against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round this season.

The Caps know if this year is going to be different, they cannot afford to fall into a similar hole again.

“It's always harder to dig yourself out of a hole,” head coach Barry Trotz said after Thursday’s morning skate. “You're room for error is a lot less and it wears on you.”

“If we've learned anything from last year, you lose two it's tough to climb out of that,” Jay Beagle said. “Then this year first round, lose two, it's tough to climb out. It makes the series really hard. You always feel like you're chasing and no room for error.”

It did not cost them against Columbus as Washington was able to rattle off four straight wins to advance to the second round. Overcoming a two-game hole against the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions, however, is a taller task.

For only the second time in franchise history, the Capitals were able to overcome a 0-2 series deficit when they did it against the Blue Jackets. That means it doesn’t happen very often.

Chances are you won’t be able to overcome a deficit like that against Sidney Crosby and Co.

And that’s what makes Game 1 so important.

Washington is at home, opening a series against their arch rival, the Penguins will be without both Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin and the game will be played with the memory of how a 0-2 hole cost the Caps the series last year.

To call it a must-win would perhaps be an overstatement. It is a best of seven after all. But it’s still not that far off.

“We've got to just make sure we're looking at game one, we're not looking ahead,” Beagle said. “We've got to go after them in this first game and really try and take it to them in our rink.”

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