Nationals

Bynum's return to practice pushed to December

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Bynum's return to practice pushed to December

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Andrew Bynum's debut with the Philadelphia 76ers may not come until 2013.

Bynum, Philadelphia's 7-foot center, will miss at least five more weeks because of a bone bruise in his right knee and could be held out until early January.

When Bynum was hurt in mid-September, the team initially hoped its newly-acquired star would be ready for the season opener Oct. 31. Late last month, though, the Sixers said he was out indefinitely.

Philadelphia said Monday that the new goal was for Bynum to resume ``normal basketball activity'' around Dec. 10. He would then need 1-4 weeks of conditioning and practice before he can play in his first game for the 76ers.

``It's better than when it started, it's just not quite there yet,'' he said. ``It's not where I want it to be.''

Bynum was allowed to start low-impact exercise after an MRI last week and he did everything from swimming to biking to stay in shape.

The Sixers acquired Bynum from the Lakers in a four-team deal that saw them ship Andre Iguodala to Denver, but he has yet to even practice with them this season.

``We know that Sixers fans are eager to see Andrew Bynum play and shine in a 76ers uniform,'' Sixers general manager Tony DiLeo said. ``We also know that no one is more eager to see Andrew play for the Sixers than Andrew himself. He fully realizes the key contribution he can make to the team. Hopefully, that day is coming soon.''

Bynum, 25, is in the final year of his contact and could sign a five-year deal worth more than $100 million in the offseason, if he's healthy.

Bynum said his uncertain contract status was not playing a role in the decision to rest until he's ready to go out and dominate. However, Bynum said he could play through the bone bruise had the Sixers been in a playoff series.

``As far as getting better, I think this is the way I need to handle it,'' he said. ``It's tough. I want to get out there, I want to play. It's just a roller coaster. Obviously, missing games is not good. I want to be out there, I want to be there with my teammates.''

Without Bynum, the Sixers took a three-game winning streak into Monday's game against Milwaukee.

Bynum has already had surgery on both knees. In September, he went to Germany for injections of plasma-rich platelets that supposedly stimulate healing in arthritis-affected areas in both of his knees.

Bynum won two NBA titles in seven seasons with the Lakers and called their coaching carousel ``crazy.'' The Lakers fired Mike Brown five games into the season, flirted with Phil Jackson then hired former New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni late Sunday night.

``It's tough,'' Bynum said. ``You've got that caliber team, it's a shame what happened. I think he'll be back around.''

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Follow Dan Gelston on Twitter:http://twitter.com/APgelston

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… and if that leads us to Bryce Harper’s potential landing spot, then I present to you the yummiest reasons he should stay with the Washington Nationals.

In a video from TMZ, a paparazzi follows Harper to baggage claim and implores him for any hints toward where he is signing this offseason. The only true answer he got was that Harper likes a place called Steak 48 in Chicago. This surf-and-turf hot spot in the River North neighborhood of downtown Chicago has the audacity to serve “Maryland STYLE lump crab cakes.” Really, Bryce? Will the real thing convince you?!

On that note, let’s start off with the seafood we have to offer. This is the Mid-Atlantic, after all.

How can you work here April-September without eating local crabs in some form? I think that’s impossible. You can choose from hard shell or soft shell, but no shame in either game.

Live Chesapeake blue crabs can be bought at Captain White’s Seafood and other vendors on The Wharf off Maine Avenue. Otherwise, you can sit down and have them steamed for you at Quarterdeck, Ivy City Smokehouse, Bethesda Crab House or Captain Pell’s.

If Harper is more of a soft shell guy, all of those places also serve out-of-the-park crab cakes, but you can’t go wrong with Hank’s Oyster Bar, Old Ebbitt Grill, Chris’ Marketplace, or Clyde’s.

If the star really wants to dive in to local taste, he should eat Chesapeake Bay oysters from the largest estuary in America. My personal favorite selection is at Whaley’s (seafood tower on me, Bryce), but Rapphanock Oyster Bar, The Dabney, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black’s Bar & Kitchen can’t be beat.

I find it hard to believe the team hasn't had an outing at The Salt Line, the lively seafood spot just a short throw from Nats Park where teammate Ryan Zimmerman is an investor and co-owner.

Now that we’ve satisfied Harper’s iron intake, let’s break down his protein. In order to keep the superstar here, I want to make sure he knows that D.C. cares about providing a well-rounded diet.

Barbecued meats in general around here are delectable. Sitting in juxtaposition between the north and south, D.C. restaurants bring a mash-up of styles of smoked and sauced meats. Favorites are Federalist Pig, Hill Country, Fat Pete’s and Hardy’s BBQ truck.

However, if Bryce Harper show he’s as invested in authentic Nationals fans as our season tickets are in him, he should really pick up a half-smoke, the district’s original recipe for a spicy, thicker pork and beef dog that’s aggressively seasoned and sometimes served with chili sauce.

Could you imagine Harper making his announcement to stay over a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl? I think even the panda statue would cry tears of joy.

Another hyper-local taste is mumbo sauce. While proven not originally from here, D.C. natives are enthusiastic about the special sauce. Yum’s is pretty well-known for carrying it.

Time for dessert! I think we can all agree that in the past 10 years, cupcakes have become iconic in the district with Georgetown Cupcakes, Baked & Wired and Sprinkles all having a home in Georgetown. To settle the debate, Baked & Wired is best. They are ranked #1 on Yelp if you don’t believe my own palette.

But what if it’s game night, you ask? D.C. has it’s hearty share of restaurants that are open even after extra innings. The Diner, Kramerbooks, Mandu, New Big Wong, Old Ebbitt Grill, Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Amsterdam Falafelshop and Jumbo Slice are all here to keep you warm at night no matter what you’re craving post-victory. Need I go on?

Bryce reassured Nats fans and TMZ that he is “still a National right now.” Better eat these while you can, Bryce, or you’ll be sorry you didn't sign in one of the best food cities in the MLB.

Do you have any local food or restaurants you think will convince Bryce Harper to stay with the Washington Nationals this offseason? Send them to @NBCNationals or @rmhopmayer. Maybe we can throw together a friends-giving or holiday dinner for those that want him to stay our beloved Guest of Honor.

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Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman caused quite a stir with his comments Sunday about the atmosphere at FedEx Field, and the Redskins cornerback made it clear he plans to do his part in making sure the stadium is packed for Sunday's game against the Texans. 

Norman told reporters Thursday he's going to be giving away "40 or 50" free tickets for the Houston game, online and perhaps even in person.

"Yes, I will be giving out free tickets," he said. "I'll be doing it on my socials as well, I think I'll probably post tonight or something about it."

"Who knows, you may see me coming out and being an early Santa somewhere in the mall or something, just handing out tickets."

And if you are one of the lucky fans who gets a ticket from "Santa Norman," he has specific instructions on how you should behave at Sunday's game:

"Whoever get(s) them, we want them loud and just obnoxious. Just really obnoxious."

Norman joins several Redskins players who have promised to give away tickets to the Texans game.

It may be November, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well at Redskins Park. 

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