Nationals

Injured Lehigh G McCollum says rehab going well

Injured Lehigh G McCollum says rehab going well

Lehigh guard and preseason All-American C.J. McCollum said rehabilitation for a broken left foot is going well, and that he's started working out in a pool.

But the star senior gave no indication in a statement Saturday of whether he's hoping to return to the court this year for the Mountain Hawks.

McCollum was hurt three weeks ago during a 59-55 loss at Virginia Commonwealth. He said this has been a ``humbling and maturing experience,'' but he's focusing on academics and becoming a better student of the game.

McCollum, at the time of his injury, was leading the country in scoring at 25.7 points.

Still, Lehigh (14-4, 4-0 Patriot) has bounced back with five straight victories since McCollum went down, including a 65-62 win Wednesday at league rival Bucknell.

The Mountain Hawks host Lafayette on Sunday. McCollum had initially scheduled a news conference before the game to give an update on his recovery.

McCollum said he didn't want ``to be a distraction or deflect attention that rightfully belongs to my team. I am focusing on my academics and being the best supporter I can for my teammates. The focus should be on them and the success we're having as a program.''

The injury, he added, may have been a ``blessing in disguise ... This has been a very humbling and maturing experience and this adversity will only make me stronger.''

McCollum and Lehigh gained notoriety after stunning powerhouse Duke in the NCAA tournament last season. His injury was thought to be a blow to Lehigh's chances to win the Patriot League and return to the NCAAs.

But the Mountain Hawk still have savvy veterans from last year's run including senior forwards Gabe Knutson and Holden Greiner, and junior guard Mackey McKnight. They re-branded themselves the conference favorites after beating the Bison on the road.

The school had said McCollum's recovery time of eight to 10 weeks could make him available again by early March, in time for the Patriot League tournament. The team has also warned that could depend on the healing process, and coach Brett Reed has said McCollum's long-term future takes precedence.

McCollum, who has averaged 21.3 points over his Lehigh career, has been considered a potential first-round pick in the NBA draft. Last March, he scored 30 points when 15th-seeded Lehigh upset Duke 75-70.

``Everything is going well and I've heard nothing but positive feedback from trainers and team physicians,'' McCollum said. ``I will continue to be a positive influence on them, helping in every way possible from the sideline.''

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

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MLB Rumors: Josh Donaldson could reportedly end up with a four-year contract

MLB Rumors: Josh Donaldson could reportedly end up with a four-year contract

As the hopes for Anthony Rendon's return to Washington fade fast following Stephen Strasburg's record seven-year $245 million contract, Josh Donaldson comes more into focus for Nationals faithful. 

The Nationals had reported interest in him as far back as mid-November, and if they want to spend big on Strasburg and less on third base rather than spend on Rendon and find a cheaper pitcher, Donaldson represented the most value. 

But every team that misses out on Rendon will probably look right to Donaldson, and that reality is reportedly driving up his price. 

According to Mark Bowman, there is a growing expectation Donaldson will end up with a four-year contract. That might be a problem given he's entering his age-34 season, but for the Nationals, there isn't a major difference between a four-year deal and a two-year deal for Donaldson. 

He's coming off a very productive season in Atlanta, where he hit 37 home runs and drove in 94 runs to go along with a .379 on-base percentage. Realistically, Washington would need at least two years of solid production at third base from him to get ample return on their investment. 

Carter Kieboom figures to be in the mix this season at third or second base, but he's much better suited as a middle-infielder. Then, the Nationals have 19-year-old Luis Garcia on the way as one of their top infield prospects. 

By the time Garcia hits the majors he'll ideally go to third base to join Kieboom and Trae Turner as Washington's infield of the future.

And as Bowman notes, the DH could be coming to the National League by after the 2021 season. If Donaldson can still slug, that's an easy move for him to make and play out the last two years of his deal. 

So while a potential four-year contract can and should cause a bit of sticker shock, the Nationals are constructed where they can take that risk to help their team in the short term should Rendon leave for greener pastures. 

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Stephen Strasburg had a specific request in contract negotiations with Nationals

Stephen Strasburg had a specific request in contract negotiations with Nationals

According to Scott Boras, Stephen Strasburg had a specific request of the Nationals before he signed the largest contract ever for a pitcher. 

"He certainly wanted to make sure that [Nationals Park] was open every day in the offseason so that he can go there and work out," Boras said Monday. 

Per Jesse Dougherty, Strasburg has been working out since mid-November. For reference, the Nationals won the World Series on October 30. No days off. 

It's no surprise the Nationals granted the World Series MVP's request. Strasburg is coming off the best year of his career, and he wants to make sure he can work out all winter in the park he'll spend the rest of his career? What a difficult decision. 

Strasburg may not be the highest-paid pitcher of all time for long. Gerrit Cole will most likely command more years and a higher AAV from whoever he signs with this winter. 

But the more important thing for the Nationals and probably their fans as well, is that Strasburg will wear the "Curly W" for his entire career. And maybe another World Series trophy is in play with him, Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin headlining the best pitching staff in baseball. 

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