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Jackets' Smith hopes to play in ACC title game

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Jackets' Smith hopes to play in ACC title game

ATLANTA (AP) Georgia Tech got a boost Monday when leading rusher Orwin Smith said he's returning to practice and hopes to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

The senior missed last Saturday's 42-10 loss to No. 3 Georgia with a sprained right ankle and didn't practice Monday, but said he ``definitely'' plans to practice Tuesday and hopes to play Saturday night when the Yellow Jackets host No. 13 Florida State.

``It's still to be determined,'' Smith said when asked about his status. ``I think I will play. We'll just see how it goes day by day.

``It's definitely feeling a lot better than last week.''

The running back's absence was felt, as the Yellow Jackets were held to a season-low in scoring after averaging 47.7 points in three straight wins.

Quarterback Tevin Washington said he hopes Smith can help the offense bounce back.

``Orwin has made a lot of plays in his career,'' Washington said Monday. ``I feel like not having him, it was a vacant spot there. He's a senior, he's a leader also on the team. We have young guys ready to step up and make plays, too. I think we have a host of guys ready to step up and make plays. I just feel like going forward with him there it gives us a better chance at being successful.''

Georgia Tech (6-6) is a two-touchdown underdog and will need its spread-option offense to be at full strength against Florida State's tough defense.

In a matchup of strengths, Georgia Tech is No. 3 in the nation in rushing, and Florida State ranks fourth against the run.

On Sunday, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson wasn't sure if Smith would return this week.

``He didn't play Saturday, so I wouldn't have any reason to think there's any change in him,'' Johnson said before adding, ``We'll know Monday.''

Johnson said it was not his decision to hold Smith out against Georgia.

``I never decided on Orwin,'' Johnson said after the game. ``I thought he was going to try it today. He didn't dress and try it. I guess with the trainers they decided he couldn't go.''

Smith tested the ankle in pregame warm-ups and then was not in uniform.

``It actually came down to the game time,'' Smith said Monday. ``I did try to give it a go. I warmed up before the game. It just wasn't up to par to feel like I could contribute in a way I needed to.''

Smith's value to the offense has become more apparent through the season. He had no more than seven carries in the balanced rushing offense through the Yellow Jackets' first eight games. He had 10 or more carries in the next three games.

The senior has 75 carries for 673 yards and leads the ACC with his average of 9 yards per carry.

Smith's career average of 9.4 yards per carry is the highest of any active Football Bowl Series player with at least 1,000 yards rushing.

``He leads on offense, along with Tevin,'' linebacker Quayshawn Nealy said. ``He's a big part of our success and we really are looking forward to having him back this week.''

Smith ran for 11 touchdowns in 2011, when he had 615 yards rushing and averaged 10.1 yards per carry. He has only five rushing touchdowns this year.

Washington leads the team with 18 rushing touchdowns. His backup, freshman Vad Lee, is second with nine.

Smith said being able to look forward to the ACC championship game was the only consolation when he couldn't play in Georgia Tech's fourth straight loss to Georgia. But he said he wasn't held out last week just to help his chances of playing against Florida State.

``This game didn't really dictate if I was going to play last week, but it was in the back of my mind,'' Smith said. ``If I could have played last week, I definitely would have been out there with those guys.

``Just to have the opportunity to have one more week to keep me going, it did kind of brighten me up a little bit. I still had a shot to get out there and play for something much, much bigger than that rivalry game.''

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After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

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Associated Press

After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

The Redskins are very thin at running back right now. 

Today at practice the Redskins had three running backs on the field. Rob Kelley and Kapri Bibbs are fully healthy while Chris Thompson is limited as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered last November. 

Injuries have hit the depth at running back. The most recent casualty was Martez Carter, who was waived with an injury designation. 

The move was surprising since Carter had some good runs against the Jets during their preseason game on Thursday and he did not appear to be injured during the game. 

Coach Jay Gruden did not offer any more details as to what the injury to Carter was, only that he is no longer with the team. 

Also sidelined with lower leg injuries are Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall. According to media reports, Perine will be out one week and Marshall for two to four. Gruden would not confirm the timelines, saying only that they are undergoing treatment and the timetable for their returns in unknown. 

The Redskins will bring in some running backs to try out on Sunday. They will need at least one and probably two in order to get through the upcoming preseason game against the Broncos on Friday. 

In other personnel moves, the Redskins waived linebacker Jeff Knox and defensive end Jalen Wilkerson and signed offensive tackle Kendall Calhoun, defensive back Darius Hillary, and wide receiver Allenzae Staggers. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

 

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Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

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NBC Sports Washington/USATSI

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.

Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother. 

Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.

After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth. 

The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.

She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.

💛 @aleksandrovechkinofficial #hello #hellorussia @hello__ru

A post shared by Nastasiya Ovechkina (@nastyashubskaya) on

Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!

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