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Injured LB Mauti preps Penn State for finale

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Injured LB Mauti preps Penn State for finale

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) The large digital timer with the bright red numbers counted down the final minutes of one of the final practices of Penn State's season. Linebacker Michael Mauti hobbled around nearby in sweats and a letterman jacket while his teammates stretched in front of him.

Mauti may not be able to play Saturday because of a left knee injury, but the star senior is still assuming an important role this week as the Nittany Lions get ready for an emotional season finale against Wisconsin.

``For guys that live and breathe the game like that, it's very difficult thing to deal with,'' first-year coach Bill O'Brien said before practice Tuesday.

Mauti doesn't want his injury to be front-and-center this week, not with the team playing its 12th and final ``bowl game'' of the year against the Badgers. Penn State would have been a lock for the postseason if not for the NCAA's four-year ban as part of the penalties for the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Every game is precious then for O'Brien's Lions. Not surprisingly, Mauti will be helping his replacement, promising sophomore Mike Hull, get ready for Wisconsin's tough running game and star tailback Montee Ball.

``The thing about Mike (Mauti) is he's a winner in his heart. He's always going to be a winner,'' center and fellow senior Matt Stankiewitch said. ``Even if he can't play, he's still going to lead.''

Two previous seasons for Mauti have been cut short because of injuries - one to each knee - though the linebacker's college career may not necessarily be over.

Mauti hurt his right knee in the 2009 preseason; two years later he hurt his left knee four games into the season.

O'Brien was asked if a potential sixth year for Mauti, a redshirt senior, was under discussion.

``Yeah, fair question,'' O'Brien said, ``but just way too early for that right now.''

Staying true to form, O'Brien isn't focusing on anything past Saturday.

The Nittany Lions may have four losses, but the team has displayed grit and determination through nearly every second of this challenging season. Few prognosticators though Penn State could even finish this year with a winning record.

A senior class including Mauti and Stankiewitch helped O'Brien keep most of the team together after the sanctions were announced in July.

After keeping mostly an even-keel attitude this year, the emotions are more evident this week for the seniors.

``I just walked out that tunnel right just now,'' senior cornerback Stephon Morris said before speaking reporters inside Beaver Stadium. ``I was just thinking to myself that I have one more time walking out of that tunnel with my team, in front of the great student section, the crowd the alumni.''

Morris, one of the most improved players on the team this season, is out of eligibility after Saturday, so the native of the Washington, D.C., suburb of Greenbelt, Md., will miss Big Ten's newcomer Maryland's conference debut in a couple years.

``The Maryland program, if you go to the state of Maryland, you don't know it's there,'' Morris said. ``They pretty much needed a change, as far as I can say. The needed that ... that's good for the Terrapins.''

O'Brien, who was an assistant at Maryland, also welcomed the additions of Maryland and Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights officially made the jump on Tuesday.

Penn State heavily recruits in New Jersey and the Washington-Baltimore corridor.

``It's going to be competitive, but that's what college football is about, and I think you have to talk about your own program and the way you see that individual fitting into your program,'' O'Brien said. ``Hopefully it's the right fit and to me that's what recruiting is all about.''

But O'Brien can start devoting more attention to recruiting and future opponents in a week. For the next few days, it's all about sending Mauti and the rest of the seniors off with a win against Wisconsin.

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NOTES: Starting safety Malcolm Willis (knee) and backup DT James Terry (foot) were not in uniform and watched from the sideline during a 25-minute portion of practice open to media Tuesday. Both players also sat out last week's 45-22 win over Indiana ... Sophomore Allen Robinson is 106 yards shy of tying Bobby Engram's school record for most yards receiving in a season set in 1995 (1,084). Robinson is also two touchdowns short of tying Engram's single-season touchdown reception record of 13 set in 1993.

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Follow Genaro Armas athttp://twitter.com/GArmasAP

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Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

The Anthony Davis trade will have ripple effects across the NBA, not only on teams, but also on the players involved.

Josh Hart, who was traded from the Lakers to the Pelicans as part of the package for Davis on Saturday, could stand to benefit from the move.

First, here's a look at all of the assets reportedly swapped in the deal, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Now, where does the Silver Spring, Md., native figure in the proceedings?

Hart spent his first two NBA seasons with the Lakers. He averaged 7.9 points in 24.4 minutes per game in his two years in Los Angeles. 

Still, Hart was often the Lakers' third or fourth option at shooting guard behind starter Brandon Ingram and shared minutes with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Bullock and Lance Stephenson. 

LeBron James and the Lakers' win-now strategy left little room to develop Hart last season.

Now in New Orleans, he is part of a franchise rebuilding around presumptive No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. The trade gave the Pelicans both a younger roster and a long enough timeline for success to develop players.

That can only be good news for Hart, giving him the chance to start fresh and impress Pelicans general manager David Griffin and head coach Alvin Gentry with his potential. 

Where the Sidwell Friends alum fits into the lineup depends on several factors.

At first glance, the new-look Pelicans could start Lonzo Ball at point guard, move Jrue Holiday to shooting guard, then complete the lineup with Ingram at small forward, Williamson at power forward and Julius Randle at center. 

If both Ingram and Holiday remain healthy, Hart would compete with Stanley Johnson to be the first wing off the bench for New Orleans.

But if Ingram does suffer recurring issues related to blood clots, Hart could press his case to start. 

The only issue complicating his place in New Orleans' plans is the No. 4 pick that was traded from the Lakers.

If the Pelicans keep that pick and draft a wing player like Jarrett Culver, Hart could find himself on the outside looking in again. 

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Pelicans reportedly trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a huge haul including Lonzo Ball

Pelicans reportedly trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a huge haul including Lonzo Ball

According to a report from ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired Pelicans' forward Anthony Davis in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and multiple first-round draft picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

The announcement comes less than 48 hours into the NBA offseason, although the rumors and speculation of the deal has been a prominent storyline for months.

The much-anticipated deal gives the Lakers the star they've been trying to pair with LeBron James for some time and gives the Pelicans a young nucleus to build around the presumptive No. 1 pick Zion Williamson. 

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Boston Celtics refused to part ways with promising forward Jayson Tatum in a potential trade with New Orleans.

The Celtics had been in the mix for Davis, but with Kyrie Irving likely headed for the exits, Danny Ainge was unwilling to part with his young assets in exchange for the one year remaining on Davis' contract.

Before the Davis domino fell, NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes wrote about how a Davis trade could impact Bradley Beal's value

The Lakers, Knicks and Celtics all appear to want Davis and only one can get him, if he is even traded at all.

If the quest for Davis comes down to those three teams, there will be at least two that lose out.

The Knicks or Celtics now must determine whether trading for Beal is their next-best option behind Davis. 

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