Nationals

Falcons' Abraham, Robinson hurt in loss to Bucs

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Falcons' Abraham, Robinson hurt in loss to Bucs

The Atlanta Falcons hope they won't be without a few key defensive stars in the playoffs.

Defensive end John Abraham, the Falcons' top pass rusher, left the game with an apparent left ankle injury in the fourth quarter of Atlanta's 22-17 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday. Abraham couldn't put his weight on the ankle as he was helped off the field.

Abraham's injury came after starting cornerback Dunta Robinson suffered a head injury in the first quarter and did not return. His helmet hit Doug Martin on the running back's 3-yard gain. Robinson walked off the field and was escorted to the locker room.

Despite the Falcons (13-3) already having clinched home-field advantage, coach Mike Smith chose to stick with his starters all the way. Smith, who didn't think the injuries to Abraham and Robinson were serious, wanted his team to gain momentum since it will have a first-round bye in the playoffs next week.

``You want to go out and play your best,'' Smith said. ``To go out there and not play your best is counterintuitive to guys in that locker room and it's counterintuitive to us as football coaches.''

Smith said he never considered removing his starters after Abraham's injury.

``Absolutely not,'' he said. ``We've said from the very beginning that we were going to continue to play this game to win.''

In other injuries around the league, Indianapolis lost starting guard Joe Reitz in the first half of the Colts' 28-16 win against Houston with a head injury. Texans linebacker Daryl Sharpton left with a hip injury, while fellow linebacker Tim Dobbins left in the second half with what coach Gary Kubiak thought was a shoulder injury.

In New Orleans, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton appeared to injure his lower left leg in the fourth quarter of the Panthers' 44-38 win. Newton's leg was caught awkwardly under defensive end Turk McBride on a hit shortly after Newton had thrown. Newton returned after missing several plays to complete a touchdown drive.

Cincinnati safety Chris Crocker hurt his right thigh while trying to make a tackle in the first quarter of the Bengals' 23-17 win over Baltimore and didn't return. He said the injury wasn't serious.

Chicago tight end Matt Spaeth left the Bears' 26-24 win over Detroit with a concussion.

Miami tight end Anthony Fasano and linebacker Kevin Burnett left the Dolphins' 28-0 loss to New England in the third quarter and were evaluated for concussions. No results were announced.

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How will MLB's new extra inning with a runner on second rule work strategically?

How will MLB's new extra inning with a runner on second rule work strategically?

Major League Baseball is going to be bizarre in 2020. A 60-game schedule. The designated hitter in the National League. No fans.

But the change a lot of baseball fans might have the toughest getting used to is the tweak to extra innings. Each team will begin each extra inning with a man on second base. The crew from the Nationals Talk podcast had differing opinions on the new rule.

“I absolutely love it,” NBC Sports Washington's Nick Ashooh said.

Team reporter Todd Dybas did not agree.

“The rule is dumb. It goes against everything that baseball is about.”

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Chase Hughes broke the tie. “I’m a no on the rule too. I’m with Todd.”

What about the strategy of starting with a man on second base? Could team's exploit or alter the ending of the previous frame to set up a new inning? 

The rule states: “The runner placed on second base at the start of each half-inning shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding that half-inning’s leadoff hitter.”

Dybas wondered if it would be wise to end the previous inning on purpose if a speedster is at the plate with two outs.

“Would it behoove [Giants'] Billy Hamilton to make the final out? So the next inning he would start at second base?” Hamilton is a career .242 hitting but has 299 stolen bases in 809 games played. 

RELATED: COULD MORE OPT-OUTS BE COMING? 

Frustration will also be inevitable. “I can’t wait to hear from the players on the first team to lose by that rule,” Hughes said. “What are they going to say?” 

2020 has already thrown us plenty of curveballs, the changes to baseball will just be a couple more the sports world will have to adjust to. 

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Charles Barkley jokingly admits he doesn't know anyone on the Wizards besides John Wall and Bradley Beal

Charles Barkley jokingly admits he doesn't know anyone on the Wizards besides John Wall and Bradley Beal

Without John Wall, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, Washington's three best players, the Wizards hopes of making the playoffs in the NBA's Orlando restart have taken a hit.

On Thursday, Wizards coach Scott Brooks joined the Inside the NBA team on TNT, where Charles Barkley genuinely asked him who has to step up for the team when the games begin.

Brooks' response was unexpected, yet also hilarious. Here was the exchange:

Barkley: "Obviously, without John and Bradley, your two best players, give us two names that really need to step up for you guys."

Brooks: "Well, I think we should play that game where you name two guys on our team besides those two guys." 

Barkley: "Let me tell you something, I don't know anybody on your team! So I want you to tell us two players on your team."

To Barkley's credit, much of the national media has not paid any attention to the Wizards this season. The team only had one game on national TV this season, a November clash with the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers.

RELATED: ISH SMITH SAYS BUBBLE FOOD ISN'T THAT BAD

When basketball does resume, the Wizards are six games back of the Orlando Magic for the eighth spot in the East. Washington needs to make up two games over the final eight contests in order to force a play-in game for the conference's final playoff spot.

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