Redskins

Adelman pays reeling Timberwolves a visit

201301142239815412184-p2.jpeg

Adelman pays reeling Timberwolves a visit

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Eight days after first leaving the Minnesota Timberwolves to be with his hospitalized wife, Rick Adelman met with his team on Wednesday morning.

The coach wanted to offer some words of encouragement to a reeling team that has lost four in a row and appears to be succumbing to a litany of injuries that just keeps getting bigger.

Adelman also got some words of support as well before leaving again to be by his wife's side as she deals with an undisclosed illness.

``We miss him and we know he's going through some hard stuff,'' point guard Ricky Rubio said. ``But we are with him and we support him any time.''

Adelman has missed the last five games after his wife, Mary Kay, went to the hospital to seek treatment. The intensely private Adelman has not disclosed any specifics of his wife's ailment, and there remains no timetable for his return. Mary Kay was still in the hospital on Wednesday and assistant Terry Porter planned to coach the team for a sixth straight game on Thursday night against the Clippers.

While Adelman has been away from the team, the Wolves have crumbled. They lost all four of their games on their most recent road trip, each one by double digits. For a team that prided itself on overcoming so many injuries early in the season and never getting blown out in the losses they did incur, the recent run of decisive defeats has set an ominous tone for a team that doesn't seem to be getting any healthier.

All-Star Kevin Love will miss at least the next two months with a right hand that was broken for the second time this season. Swingman Chase Budinger won't be back for at least another six weeks after injuring a knee in November, and anything from Brandon Roy this season would appear to be a bonus at this point.

Rubio also hasn't been the same dynamic player he was before tearing the ACL in his left knee last March, and a different player seems to miss practice or a game every week with an illness. Andrei Kirilenko, Alexey Shved and Lazar Hayward all were out on Wednesday, leaving the Wolves with eight players for practice.

``We're going through some tough times,'' guard J.J. Barea said. ``We've just got to stay together, keep fighting, keep fighting. Try to steal a couple games here and there and hopefully at some point everybody comes back and we can make a run.''

Some of the biggest problems of late have been on defense. The team started the season playing some of the best defense it has in years, putting them in the top five in points allowed for most of the first month. As injuries have piled up, and the schedule has gotten tougher, the Wolves have fallen apart on that end. Their opponents have topped 100 points in seven of the last eight games and the weary Wolves were outscored 63-21 in fast-break points in losses to San Antonio and Dallas.

``We've just got to come ready to play,'' forward Derrick Williams said. ``Even though we're down and we're hurt and a couple guys are playing hurt, we've just got to do what we have to do. Just get out there and play for each other, play for the fans and deal with what we have right now.''

Adelman has received a lot of the credit for helping the Timberwolves move from a perennial doormat in the Western Conference to one that started the season with playoff expectations. He's been watching the games while he's been away, calling his assistants to offer advice and encouragement. He finally got face-to-face with the players on Wednesday, and he told them he was proud of the fight they've shown while dealing with so much adversity.

``It was good for the guys to see him and for him to talk to the guys,'' Porter said. ``It felt good to have him here, have him talk to them and just give them an update on everything and kind of let them know.''

The team seemed to get a lift from Adelman's appearance, but the hard reality is they play the Clippers twice in the next two weeks and also have difficult games against the Rockets, Hawks and Nets coming up before the end of the month.

``He said we have to stay together,'' Rubio said. ``We've been through a lot of stuff this year and there's no excuses to stop now. We're just going to go forward with the players we (have) and get it all together.''

---

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

Quick Links

In addition to being an NFL player, Bryce Love can now call himself a Stanford graduate

In addition to being an NFL player, Bryce Love can now call himself a Stanford graduate

Bryce Love hopes he'll have the opportunity to carry many footballs in his NFL career. But this past weekend, the running back picked up something that'll be just as, if not more, valuable than the attempts he'll be getting on Sundays.

How's a college diploma from Stanford sound? Pretty solid, right?

Oh, how about a college diploma from Stanford in human biology? Yeah, probably something worth hanging up on the ol' fridge, huh?

Well, that very hard-earned and impressive degree is what Love is now in possession of:

Drafted by the Redskins in late-April and walking across the stage at Stanford in mid-June, Love is doing well for himself recently. He passed up the chance to enter the draft early to ensure he graduated, and now he has.

His college GPA isn't known, but once you find out his high school GPA was 4.5 (that's apparently possible) and add that to the fact that he was able to finish up school out west while also churning up yards for the Cardinal, you can imagine it was very, very good. And if his yards-per-carry average as a pro matches or exceeds it, then the Redskins will be thrilled.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

Quick Links

Nationals introduce first round pick Jackson Rutledge, who is ready to work

jacksonrutledge2.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Nationals introduce first round pick Jackson Rutledge, who is ready to work

WASHINGTON -- Jackson Rutledge may still be years away from the majors, but as the Nationals' 2019 first round pick toured the team's ballpark for the first time on Monday, he sure looked the part as a big leaguer.

At 6-foot-8, Rutledge towers over everyone currently on the Nationals' roster. He's got prototypical pitcher size with a fastball that reaches triple digits.

Like any pitcher recently drafted, no matter the round, there is a good chance Nationals fans will not hear Rutledge's name again for quite some time, if they hear it again at all.

In the previous eight years, the team used their first pick in the draft on a pitcher six times. Only two of them - Lucas Giolito and Erick Fedde - have pitched in a Nationals uniform, and only Fedde is currently on their roster.

Rutledge, 20, will begin his journey with the Gulf Coast League Nationals. He heads there on Friday, hoping it will not be long before he is back in Washington.

"This is my first time in D.C.," Rutledge said. "Amazing stadium."

Rutledge signed his first contract with the Nationals on Monday and passed a physical in the morning. In the afternoon, he walked around the clubhouse and on the field during batting practice, introducing himself to manager Davey Martinez and players who could be his future teammates.

Rutledge has said in various interviews since being drafted earlier this month that he looks forward to playing with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, the Nationals' three ace starters. 

This was his first glimpse at them in-person.

"Meeting all the big league guys was really cool," he said. "I just want to be one of those guys that has that success."

If there was any impression Rutledge left on Monday, beyond his height, it was his eagerness to learn. He cited several of his mentors over the years, former big leaguers like Andy Benes who coached him in summer ball and Woody Williams, an assistant coach at San Jacinto Community College. He mentioned Tom Arrington, head coach at San Jacinto, and his attention to detail.

Rutledge even had praise for Ross Detwiler, a former Nationals pitcher whom they took in the first round of the 2007 MLB Draft. He explained how Detwiler taught him a changeup grip during an offseason workout that he has continued to use.

Those are the people, he says, who helped him arrive at this unexpected place in his life as a first-round draft pick.

"If you asked me a year and a half ago where I would be, I probably wouldn't say the first round. It worked out really well because of how hard I worked," Rutledge said.

His college numbers were certainly impressive. Rutledge held a 0.87 ERA with 134 strikeouts in 13 starts. As a freshman at Arkansas before transferring, he posted a 3.45 ERA in 12 starts.

Rutledge is now looking forward to taking the next steps in his development. He said working on his curveball and changeup will be the focus while he's in the GCL. He wants to add weight and muscle to prepare for next year, his first full pro season. 

Assuming he does someday return to Washington as a big league pitcher, Rutledge said to expect a guy who likes to work fast but without a lot of emotion.

"When things are going well, I really feel in control of the game. I feel like I'm setting the game at my own pace and hitters feel uncomfortable because of that," he said. 

"I'm not a guy that's going to get up and start yelling and give energy like that, I'm more of a consistent kind of flat body language sort of guy."

Nationals fans will hope to get to know him better someday. For now, it's down to the minors to learn the ropes as a prospect.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: