Big holes for Badgers as season approaches


Big holes for Badgers as season approaches

MADISON, Wis. (AP) Entering his 41st year of coaching, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said he doesn't get nervous, alarmed or excited when people use the word ``replace'' when referring to his basketball team.

``It is amazing how young men step up,'' Ryan said. ``I have all the faith in the world that that is going to happen with this group.''

They are going to have to: The 23rd-ranked Badgers do have some holes to fill.

Although Wisconsin returns 12 of 14 lettermen from last season, the Badgers lost senior All-American point guard Jordan Taylor and over the weekend learned that his replacement, Josh Gasser, will miss the season with a torn ACL in his left knee.

Gasser has started 66 games for the Badgers in his first two seasons, averaging 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He averaged 34.1 minutes last season, contributing 7.6 points per game and shooting 45.2 percent from 3-point range.

The injury is another blow to Wisconsin's depth, as the Badgers are expecting to start the season without forward Mike Bruesewitz. He is expected to be back sometime in November after cutting his leg on the basket support, an injury that required more than four dozen stitches.

``It was really unfortunate what happened to me, but the outcome of this is very fortunate,'' said Bruesewitz. ``There are guys who have drop footed, can't walk for two years and have to give up basketball because they don't have control of their foot. I missed that nerve and was very fortunate.''

Gasser was expected to be the team's starting point guard, a role that, for the time being, will be shared among junior Ben Brust, sophomore Traevon Jackson and redshirt freshman George Marshall, who earned high praise from the Wisconsin coaching staff after competing with Taylor on the scout team last season.

``George understood as quickly as any other redshirt freshman we had that last year wasn't about taking a break,'' said associate head coach Greg Gard. ``He's maximized his opportunity to use Jordan as a teacher as much as possible. He approached every practice like it was his game day, and he bought into that. That will help him.''

Wisconsin will have three seniors - Jared Berggren, Bruesewitz and Ryan Evans - in the paint that own a combined 285 games played and 122 starts. That's given the Badgers some optimism after finishing 26-10 last season, which included a run to the Sweet 16.

``What you always hope for as a team is that you're so well blended that they can't zero in on one or two players and that's what I like about this mix right now,'' said Ryan. ``We have guys that could play well every night and be really good.''

Evans was second on the team in points (11.0 per game) while Berggren tied for the conference lead in blocks with 60, adding 10.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. In the mix will be sophomore Frank Kaminsky (appeared in 35 games as a freshman), junior transfer Zach Bohannon and highly-touted freshman Sam Dekker, who averaged 32.5 points and 13.2 rebounds as a high school senior.

That combination should help a Wisconsin team that led the nation in scoring defense last season - allowing just 53.2 points per game - to be even stingier.

``We have a lot of people that could come off the bench and give us energy at any point in any game,'' said Kaminsky. ``I have a lot of confidence in this team that anyone can step up and be effective in any game. I think that's what makes a good team; having a bunch of people who are committed to one thing.''

The schedule includes 18 games against teams that participated in the postseason a year ago. The season opener is Nov.11 against Southeastern Louisiana.

``We know what we need to do and we know what is expected, having been through it in practice,'' said Brust. ``We now have to go out there and grab it.''

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Expect Aaron Rodgers to be ready for the Redskins despite missed practices

Expect Aaron Rodgers to be ready for the Redskins despite missed practices

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not practice on Thursday. That was a second straight day missed due to a knee injury he sustained in the season opener. However, there is little doubt that he will be behind center at FedEx Field on Sunday when Green Bay takes on the Redskins

It should be clarified that no Packer practiced on Wednesday. Coach Mike McCarthy decided to cancel practice to give his team more recovery time as they played 70 minutes during a 29-29 tie against the Vikings. McCarthy cited the “unusual heat for this part of the country” and decided his team could use the rest more than work. 

But in their required injury report, the Packers said that Rodgers would not have practiced even if the team had held its scheduled session. On Thursday, Rodgers worked with other rehabbing players on a side field.

This sticks with the pattern that Rodgers followed last week. He also sat out practice on Friday before taking part in the team’s one-hour session on Saturday. 

The lack of practice did not seem to affect Rodgers too badly against the Vikings. He completed 30 of 42 passes for 281 yards and a touchdown. Even though he took four sacks, Rodgers got better as the game went on. In the second half, he passed for 201 yards, averaging 8.0 yards per pass attempt. 

Speaking to the Green Bay media on Thursday, Rodgers said that he is concerned about the knee getting worse as the season goes on. 

"Yeah, obviously that's a concern," Rodgers said via "Hopefully it goes the other way though."

All Rodgers knows at this point is that he won’t be 100 percent when he takes the field on Sunday. 

"It just depends on how the week goes with the rehab and the recovery," Rodgers said. "Obviously, I'd love to be better than I was last week as far as health-wise but there's some factors that are out of my control."

Those factors obviously are out of the Redskins’ control, also. There hasn’t been any talk of Rodgers’ knee from Redskins Park this week. They are expecting him to be his usual self although his mobility may be somewhat impaired. 

That doesn’t mean that they will not try to rattle him. It’s always good to get after the opposing QB and deliver some hard hits. When that quarterback is wearing a large knee brace the target on him becomes even bigger and brighter. 

The Redskins’ pass rush has not been very effective so far this year as they have picked up just three sacks. Sunday would be a good time for Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, and the interior line to turn up the pressure. 



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Capitals vs. Hurricanes preseason Game 4: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

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Capitals vs. Hurricanes preseason Game 4: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

The preseason continues after the Capitals' loss in Montreal Thursday night. They are hoping to gain some momentum and dominate in Friday's game.

Even without the home advantage, they hope to take home a win as they face the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes are one of the four teams the Capitals will face in preseason play, along with the Bruins, Canadiens and Blues.

The Capitals and Hurricanes will meet once again, next Friday at Capital One Arena. But first, it's time to get back on the ice for Game 4 of the seven-game preseason schedule.


What: Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

When: Friday, September, 21, 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Capitals-Hurricanes preseason game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

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

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7


7:00 PM: Washington Capitals: My Day with the Cup (R)
7:30 PM: NHL Preseason: Capitals @ Carolina Hurricanes 
10:00 PM: Caps Postgame Live (LIVE)