Cubs

Mariano Rivera has a torn ACL ... and another issue

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Mariano Rivera has a torn ACL ... and another issue

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Mariano Rivera hobbled up to the podium on a pair of crutches he's quickly grown tired of, ready to reveal more news about his health. This time, it was something more serious than a torn knee ligament. Rivera has a blood clot in his right calf, the latest medical problem for the longtime New York Yankees closer who injured his knee last week while shagging fly balls during batting practice. Rivera is on blood-thinning medication intended to dissolve the clot and said Wednesday he is OK, though he was scared when he received the diagnosis. He needs to spend at least a week or two strengthening his right knee before he has surgery to repair his torn anterior cruciate ligament -- but he said that would have been the case regardless of the blood clot. Strengthening the knee now will help when he begins his rehabilitation program after the operation. He must stop taking the blood thinners 24 hours before surgery, he said. The 42-year-old Rivera, baseball's career saves leader with 608, said he can guarantee he will work hard and do "whatever it takes" to return next season. But if his leg doesn't come back strong enough, then he will take it as a sign that it's time to retire. "If it's my call, I don't want to leave the game the way it happened. ... My will and my desire is to stay," Rivera said, adding that he was leaning toward pitching in 2013 even before the injury. "The traveling, I hate it. And the game, I love it." Rivera was injured last Thursday in Kansas City, tearing his ACL and damaging the meniscus in his right knee, when he stumbled and fell while chasing a fly ball during batting practice, a regular part of his pregame routine. He is expected to miss the rest of the season. The following day he announced he was determined to get back on the mound next season and he was examined Monday by three doctors at two New York hospitals as he prepared to decide where to have knee surgery. While he was being examined, Rivera mentioned to the doctor that his right calf was "sore and painful." He was diagnosed with a blood clot and spent Monday night in the hospital, beginning treatment right away. That was the complication Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and Rivera's agent, Fernando Cuza, referred to this week when discussing Rivera's schedule and prognosis. Cashman would not elaborate Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. "I was more concerned with the blood clot than the knee. For a minute I was like, what else is going to happen?" Rivera said. "I was scared because I never hear good things about blood clots. ... I take it like, OK, what do we have to do?" In the worst cases, blood clots can be life-threatening if they travel to the lungs. Rivera said he's not sure what caused the clot, and he didn't even ask. "I know that I've got to deal with it," he said. "They don't know if it happened before or after the trauma of the injury." Rivera planned to speak to his doctor later Wednesday and he will soon go back for a check-up. He hasn't decided on a doctor to perform the knee surgery yet, but he said the clot will not affect the date of the operation. "I really believe if Mo wants to continue to play, he'll play," manager Joe Girardi said. "I mean, obviously he's got to go through a process of rehab here, but I don't see any reason why that's not going to happen and he's not going to get through that, so I look forward to seeing him back in a Yankee uniform." Rivera appeared in good spirits at a 25-minute news conference before the Yankees played the Tampa Bay Rays. Wearing a long-sleeve shirt and jeans, he sat down carefully at a table with a microphone and managed a familiar smile as he faced a room full of reporters. "I just feel old. Walking with these crutches is not fun at all," he said. Later, he joked that would begin running again in 5 or 10 minutes. "I didn't even have chance enough to taste the season," Rivera said. "It will be hard to just put it down and walk away." Rivera said he'll be at the ballpark as much as possible to help his teammates however he can this season, but for the first time in his life he thinks he needs to be a bit "selfish" and focus on his rehab. He said he watched nervously from his couch at home as fill-in closer David Robertson loaded the bases Tuesday night before saving New York's 5-3 victory over the Rays. "It's still tough, though, mentally. These games don't help me. He did a good job," Rivera said. "I was sweating and screaming. It was difficult, but I was screaming at Robby on the TV." And when he returns, Rivera said he'll resume shagging flies during batting practice. "Oh, no doubt about it," he said. "I don't know what the Yankees will do. They might need to tie me up."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

It was a tough day for the North Siders.

The Cubs got obliterated by the Cardinals as Matt Carpenter had a three-homer, two-double day. Ben Finfer, Seth Gruen and Maggie Hendricks join David Kaplan on the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast to talk about the blowout.

Was Jon Lester due for this kind of terrible outing? And do the Cubs have enough to swing a big trade before the deadline?

Plus, the panel discusses Matt Nagy’s first training camp practice in the rain and Roquan Smith’s absence in Bourbonnais.

You can listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Could Bears improve and still lose ground? The MMQB's Albert Breer weighs in on tough NFC North

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USA TODAY

Could Bears improve and still lose ground? The MMQB's Albert Breer weighs in on tough NFC North

NBC Sports Chicago’s John "Moon" Mullin talked with The MMQB's Albert Breer, who shared his thoughts on where the Bears stand — and if they’ll be able to compete — in a highly competitive NFC North.

Moon: The Bears have made upgrades, but they’re in the NFC North and not many divisions are tougher, given the strength at quarterbacks.

Breer: Yes. You look at the other three teams, and they all very much believe they’re in a window for winning a championship. The Packers are going through some changes, but they’ve gotten Mike Pettine in there as defensive coordinator and a new general manager who was aggressive on draft day. I know that internally they feel that’s going to give them a boost, and bringing Aaron Rodgers back obviously is the biggest thing of all.

Minnesota, all the things they did this offseason, signing (quarterback) Kirk Cousins, (defensive lineman) Sheldon Richardson, and they were knocking on the door last year.

The Lions have been building for two years under (general manager) Bob Quinn and (new coach) Matt Patricia, who lines right up with the general manager — the two of them worked together in New England. They really believe that Matthew Stafford is ready to take the sort of jump that Matt Ryan made in Atlanta a few years ago, where you see that mid-career breakthrough from a quarterback that we see sometimes now.

It’s one of the toughest divisions in football, and every team in the division believes that it’s in the position to contend right now.

Moon: We didn’t see a lot of Mitch Trubisky — 12 games — so it sounds possible that the Bears could improve and still lose ground.

Breer: The Lions were pretty good last year. The Vikings were in the NFC Championship game. And who knows where the Packers would’ve been if Rodgers hadn’t broken his collarbone. The biggest change is that Aaron Rodgers will be back, and that’s the best player in the league. It was a really good division last year, and you’re adding back in a Hall of Fame quarterback.

As far as the Bears, there’s going to be questions where the organization is going. It’s been seven years since they were in the playoffs. I think they certainly got the coach hire right. This is a guy who I know other organizations liked quite a bit and was going to be a head coach sooner or later.

And I think he matches up well with Mitch. I think the Bears are in a good spot, but as you said, they’re competing in a difficult environment, so it may not show up in their record.

Moon: A lot of love for the Vikings after they get to the NFC Championship and then add Kirk Cousins.

Breer: A lot of people look at Minnesota and think Kirk Cousins’ll be a huge improvement. And maybe he will be. I think he’s a very good quarterback, top dozen in the league. But Case Keenum played really, really well last year, so it wasn’t like they weren’t getting anything out of that position last year.

The NFC right now is clearly the strength of the league. If you picked the top 10 teams in the league, you could make a case that seven or eight of them are in the NFC. I think there will be NFC teams that miss the playoffs who could be in the Super Bowl coming out of the AFC. There’s a little bit of an imbalance there.

Moon: Trubisky projects as part of a wave of new quarterbacks league-wide, a sea change in the NFL.

Breer: The interesting thing is that this is probably as stable as the league has been at quarterback in a long time. There’ve been questions where the next great quarterbacks will come from, but I don’t know that there’s a team right now in the NFL like you looked at the Jets or Browns last year, where you say that team is definitely drafting a quarterback in 2019.

Everyone either has a big-money veteran or former first-round pick on their roster. One team that doesn’t is the Cowboys, but they’ve got Dak Prescott who’s played really well. Every team in the league has some stability at the position. I think the position is as healthy as it’s been in a long time, and you’ve got a lot of good young prospects.