LIU's Boyd to miss rest of season with knee injury

LIU's Boyd to miss rest of season with knee injury

NEW YORK (AP) Julian Boyd's pain is helping him handle hearing bad news for a second time.

The reigning Northeast Conference player of the year found out over the weekend that a torn ACL in his right knee has ended his season eight games in.

It was after his freshman season at LIU Brooklyn that Boyd had gone through something like this before.

Before the 2009-10 season, Boyd, who had been selected NEC rookie of the year, was told he had a heart condition known as noncompaction cardiomyopathy - part of his heart was enlarged. There would be no activity of any kind for months. Finally he was cleared to resume playing basketball. He played like he did before the diagnosis. Many thought he played at a higher level and the Blackbirds won the conference tournament the last two years and the NCAA tournament berths that came with them.

Things were going well for Boyd in his senior season until a play near midcourt in the second half of a win at Rice last Wednesday.

Boyd went for a steal, got tangled up with some other players and his leg was bent the wrong way. Boyd knew he was hurt because of the pain. He was helped off the court. Nobody would know how bad it was until he underwent an MRI.

It was bad. The season was over for Boyd. This was different than the last time he heard words like that.

``This isn't the same even though I'm not playing again,'' the native of San Antonio said. ``This time it's something I can feel. I can feel the pain. Last time I felt fine, felt I could play and was told I couldn't. This time I know I can't play. There's the pain this time. I always want to be on the court but God has a plan and this is part of it.''

The 6-foot-7 forward is second on the team this season in scoring (18.5) and rebounding (6.1). He was one of four senior starters for the Blackbirds (5-4) who were looking at a run to a third straight NCAA tournament berth. It's been slowed now.

``I don't know who took the news harder, me, (forward) Jamal (Olasewere) or Julian,'' said guard Brandon Thompson, another LIU Brooklyn recruit from San Antonio. ``This morning was the worst. It was so easy to break down knowing Julian from back home. We knew we all had to step up to a higher rate without him.''

The first game without Boyd was a 75-48 victory over Manhattan on Sunday. Things were OK with Thompson leading the way with 23 points on 7-for-10 shooting from 3-point range. The Blackbirds held the Jaspers to 30.2 percent shooting overall and outrebounded them 50-25.

Sitting at the end of the bench in a Brooklyn Nets sweat shirt, Boyd cheered for the Blackbirds and his hand was always the last to be tapped by every player who came out of the game.

``It's so hard when you want to get out there,'' he said. ``It was easier today because we played a great game. Close games and things like that are kind of hard when you think you can your help your team.''

The only time there was no visit to Boyd at the end of the bench was when he got up as a timeout was called and started limping toward the players coming off the court. He gave Thompson, who had just hit consecutive 3s to blow the game open, a high-five and a hug.

``I knew I had to step up with Julian out,'' Thompson said. ``We all will.''

There is a chance Boyd may be able to step up himself next season. The process to get Boyd a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA because of the season missed with the heart problem and now the season-ending knee injury has already been started by LIU Brooklyn.

``We will appeal for the sixth year for Julian,'' first-year LIU Brooklyn coach Jack Perri said. ``He fits the criteria because he played in less than 30 percent of our scheduled games this season and because he will miss the rest of the season without a doubt.''

Perri said the loss of a star player like Boyd won't be the same for the Blackbirds as other teams.

``Things are different for us because we didn't necessarily run everything through him,'' he said. ``We still have talented players. We still have three players I consider to have all-conference talent. So I'm not going to change things a ton.''

Boyd is upbeat, like he was three years ago when his season ended before it started.

``It hurt then that night and when I woke up the next day the pain had stopped and I was hoping to get good news. I didn't,'' Boyd said. ``Unfortunately, things happen. A lot of other players can do the same things I did for the team and that's why it's not going to be bad. It will all be OK when we deal with it.''

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Steelers will require fans to wear a mask at Heinz Field, should they be allowed

Steelers will require fans to wear a mask at Heinz Field, should they be allowed

If fans are permitted to attend Pittsburgh Steelers home games this fall, there's one item they can't forget: a mask.

Steelers' director of communication, Burt Lauten, explained the decision to require fans to wear a mask in a statement on Tuesday.

"Our goal is to still have fans at Heinz Field this year with the understanding that social distancing, as well as all fans being required to wear masks, will play a role in the capacity to ensure a safe atmosphere," Lauten said, via ESPN. "We will continue to work with the NFL and public health officials to finalize plans for fans to attend our home games."

Pittsburgh was one of the first franchises to alter its ticketing plans this season, as they decided in May to trim half of their individual game ticket sales due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The news comes just hours after their AFC North rival, the Baltimore Ravens, announced that M&T Bank Stadium will be capped at less than 14,000 fans this fall, should fans be allowed to attend games.


In June, The Athletic reported that the NFL will not place a limit on capacity at games, allowing each individual team to make the decision themselves.

"Attendance will be a state-by-state, county-by-county thing," an anonymous NFL source told The Athletic. "It will not be a one size fits all."

Additionally, the NFL has said that the first 6-8 rows of lower bowl sections, including field-level suites, will be blocked off this fall to help slow the spread of the virus. Those sections will be covered with tarps, which teams can use to sell advertising, similarly to what the Premier League in England has done.

With training camp still a few weeks away, there are a lot of virus-related questions the NFL must answer beforehand.


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Howard is a finalist for 2021 five-star defensive end Korey Foreman

Howard is a finalist for 2021 five-star defensive end Korey Foreman

The Howard University football program has moved a step closer to landing perhaps its highest-ranked recruit in years, if not ever.

Five-star defensive end Korey Foreman trimmed his college choice to seven on Wednesday evening, and the Howard Bison were on the list. The other six schools were Southern California (USC), LSU, Alabama, Oregon, Clemson, and Georgia.

In Foreman's tweet, he explained why Howard, a historically Black college (HBCU), was included in his list.

"I am a young black man that is happy and proud of my race," he wrote. "The Black Lives Matter movement is and forever will be powerful and definitely never forgotten. These are the schools I will now be focusing on the most. Set the standard and .. be different."

The news comes just a week after the Howard basketball program landed five-star Makur Maker, who chose the Bison over Division I schools UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis. Maker was the highest-ranked recruit Howard basketball has landed in its history. Mikey Williams, a top-five basketball recruit in the 2023 class, has already hinted about potentially playing at an HBCU as well.

Foreman, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive end, is projected to commit to USC, according to 247Sports. Foreman is ranked the No. 2 overall prospect on 247Sports recruiting rankings for the 2021 class.

However, if the last few weeks are any indication, Howard can't be ruled out.

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