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Love's broken hand 'pretty much a freak accident'

Love's broken hand 'pretty much a freak accident'

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Kevin Love's face stayed straight the entire time. Asked repeatedly about the source of his broken right hand, the Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star insisted the story about knuckle push-ups gone wrong was true.

Even Love, though, understood the skepticism.

``I've heard everything,'' Love said. ``But this isn't TMZ. This isn't People Magazine. I think most people are just looking for a story. For me, I know what happened. I'm not trying to get around it. I'm not trying to lie. That's just what happened.''

Love spoke publicly Wednesday for the first time since his injury, which he described as ``pretty much a freak accident'' during a pre-practice workout with his personal trainer at his home on Oct. 17. He said he felt the swelling immediately, tried to perform another weight-bearing exercise and then rushed to see the team's athletic trainer before being sent to the hospital for X-rays that revealed two broken bones.

``I do different series of push-ups all the time. My hand just gave on me,'' Love said, ``and it just broke.''

The suggestion was made to Love that if he was seriously trying to cover up some bad or embarrassing behavior he would've created a more believable tale.

``I would have done some crazy story, the way my mind works. But I can't even think of anything better right now,'' Love said, wearing a white cast on his arm with a freshly shaved head that's part of a breast cancer fundraiser with NFL star Larry Fitzgerald.

The reason he waited a day after he was hurt to release a statement through the Timberwolves, Love said, was that he was too upset to think clearly. Hearing all the woe from fans about the franchise being cursed (Ricky Rubio is likely out for about two more months while recovering from his injured right knee) only made Love's mind spin more.

``I think the human instinct is to kind of take all the pressure and all the blame onto yourself,'' he said. ``I think that's a large part of what happened. I do feel like I'm a big part of this team, and for me not to be out there the first few or several games, it kills me.''

Love is supposed to be out for another four to six weeks. He said he's bracing for the longer end of the timetable, figuring a quicker return would simply be a bonus. If that's the case, he'll miss about a quarter of the season. Love broke his left hand in a preseason game three years ago and missed about six weeks that time.

The Timberwolves open without the NBA's premier power forward on Friday at home against Sacramento.

``I'm going to stay in shape as much as I can, and I'm just going to continue to stay with the team and keep being a leader,'' he said.

Love went back to his California home after the injury and addressed his teammates upon returning.

``You don't ever have to apologize for an injury. He didn't want this,'' shooting guard Brandon Roy said. ``It's just our job to do the best we can early in the year and try to stay above float, because you know when we get him back we've got a really good team.''

Coach Rick Adelman, naturally, said he was more concerned about players such as Derrick Williams, Dante Cunningham and Lou Amundson, who'll take Love's lost playing time.

``It is a big hole in our lineup, but we have guys that are going to commit to do their job, and we have to find a way to win,'' Adelman said. ``That's just the way it is. A lot of teams are facing the same thing. We are no different.''

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Dwight Howard leaves Wizards-Blazers game after aggravating piriformis injury

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USA TODAY Sports

Dwight Howard leaves Wizards-Blazers game after aggravating piriformis injury

While down big against the Blazers on Sunday night, matters got even worse for the Washington Wizards as starting center Dwight Howard exited the game after aggravating his piriformis muscle injury.

Howard initially left the game midway through the second quarter due to foul trouble. Soon after, he went to the locker room with a trainer to get treatment. Howard was clearly frustrated as he walked through the tunnel.

Howard, 32, missed the first seven games of the season due to the injury, a strained piriformis muscle. He was sidelined for all of training camp and the preseason.

The piriformis muscle is located just below the back. Howard has battled discomfort while running, jumping and even sitting while dealing with the injury.

Even when he returned, he told reporters the pain had not completely subsided.

Howard left Sunday's game with two points and three rebounds in seven minutes.

More on this story as it develops...

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With season on the line, rookies Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards carried Ravens to another week

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With season on the line, rookies Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards carried Ravens to another week

This was one of the most interesting weeks the Baltimore Ravens have experienced in a very long time.

Coming off three-straight losses and preparing to face division rivals with their season on the line, their starting quarterback was likely out with an injury, their backup spent an afternoon in the hospital with a stomach illness and job security was the buzz around town. 

But when the clock read one at M&T Bank Stadium and it was do-or-die, two rookies took their team and carried them to a win, literally and figuratively. 

In his NFL start, first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson was 13-of-19 for 150 yards in the air while rushing for 117 yards on 27 attempts.

All afternoon long we were in awe of his speed, and probably at times nervous, by just how confident the rookie was in taking the game into his own hands.

"I thought he played spectacular," head coach John Harbaugh said after the win. "I thought he played winning football. It's tough being a quarterback in this league."

"For a first-time-out rookie in an environment like that...All those operation things, I think, speak to his intelligence, his studiousness, and just his ability to run the show. And that's everything. The playmaking — that comes from God. He made use of that, too. Very proud of that."

Jackson hasn't been one to put his feelings into many words, and in the week leading up to his NFL start, the Heisman Trophy winner continuously remained humble.

When asked how it felt to lead the Ravens to a 24-21 win over the Bengals, Jackson said, "I don't know. Come out with a win. It was pretty good, I guess."

On the Ravens' opening drive, Jackson rushed five times for 46 yards while converting two third downs that ended with a seven-yard touchdown run from Alex Collins. The QB is so fast that according to NFL Next Gen Stats, Jackson reached 15+ mph on 14 rushing attempts. No other player has hit 15+ mph on more than nine rushing attempts this season. 

Plus, his 27 carries were the most by a quarterback in an NFL game since Pittsburgh Steelers' Joe Geri's in 1950. 

"I think he brings a different dynamic to the game. As you can tell, our offense looks totally different, obviously from when Joe [Flacco] is in. It's hard for defenses to game plan for Lamar. And I think that shows with Gus [Edwards] having 100 yards as well. It's good to see, and it's a great win."

That brings us to our next rookie speedster; Gus Edwards.

The undrafted free agent out of Rutgers put up 115 rushing yards on 17 attempts averaging 6.8 yards-per-carry and one touchdown.

"I've got a great coaching staff," Edwards said on getting his big chance and playing well. "I've got a great group of veteran running backs [that] told me to always be prepared, from day one when I came in here, they told me what it was going to be like. This game, a lot of things played into it, and you;you've always got to be ready."

The last time the Ravens had two 100+ rushers in a single game was December 23, 2012 against the New York Giants when Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce ran for 107 and 123 yards respectively.

For a team that had many daunting questions surrounding them just a week ago, two young bloods came out and managed to change the aura in the city of Baltimore, at least for now. 

"It's just a confidence builder to be honest," Willie Snead said on having a quarterback like Jackson. "When we were running the ball how we were, it just gives us so much momentum and a lot of flexibility to do what we want. It was awesome to see that today, and [we] look forward to keep doing it."

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