Redskins

Nadal keeps expectations low before comeback

Nadal keeps expectations low before comeback

VINA DEL MAR, Chile (AP) Rafael Nadal says he's not focused on winning his first match in eight months when he returns next week at the Chile Open.

Nadal said Saturday that results aren't as important for now as reaching ``an acceptable level,'' after a left knee injury forced him to take the longest break of his career.

``After spending more than six months without competing, I'm not thinking about become No. 1,'' Nadal said at a news conference. ``It's something that even when I'm in good shape and starting the year, I don't plan, so I'm not going to plan it now. My objective now is to go week by week and do the best I can in every game I play.''

The 11-time Grand Slam champion said his knee has improved but it still hurt sometimes and he's going to remain ``humble and patient'' in his comeback. He's also scheduled to play in the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo starting Feb. 11 and the Mexico Open in Acapulco beginning Feb. 25.

Nadal is one of the best clay-court players in the history of the game, but he began downplaying his performance in Latin America before he even stepped foot in Chile.

Nadal's first test in the Andean country comes Tuesday in doubles with Argentine Juan Monaco, followed by his opening singles Wednesday.

The clay tournament in Vina del Mar is expected to be safe ground in preparation for the French Open, the only one of the four Grand Slams that takes place on clay and which Nadal has won seven times - more than anyone in history.

Nadal hasn't played since losing in the second round to Czech Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June.

The 26-year-old Spaniard said he'd passed six blood and urine doping tests since then. In the wake of cyclist Lance Armstrong's doping admission, Nadal said he supports strict controls to keep tennis clean.

``Above all, the sport must be clean. We must have certainty that the rival in front is as clean as I am,'' he said. ``I don't have any problem with having controls every week to combat what has happened in other sports. Tennis continues to be a clean sport as it has been throughout its history.''

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Follow the AP's Luis Andres Henao on Twitter:https://twitter.com/

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PIC: Adrian Peterson has arrived at Redskins Park

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USA TODAY Sports

PIC: Adrian Peterson has arrived at Redskins Park

With Derrius Guice out for the season and Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall both sustaining injuries during the Redskins' Week 2 preseason game vs. the Jets, the Burgundy and Gold may be in need of some help at running back. Enter seven-time Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson.

One of the best running backs to ever play the game, Peterson has rushed for 12,276 yards and 99 touchdowns over a 11-year career.

Peterson's visit is part of the team's contingency plan if they do indeed become very thing at the running back position. Jamaal Charles and Orleans Darkwa have also been at Redskins Park for visits. 

"Well we want to bring them in to get physicals on them just in case,” said Gruden.  

Nonetheless, the thought of having Adrian Peterson in a Redskins uniform is exciting. 

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Alex Smith believes that his Redskins teammates are 'all in'

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Associated Press

Alex Smith believes that his Redskins teammates are 'all in'

During the offseason program and training camp we have seen ample evidence that Alex Smith’s teammates have great respect for their new quarterback. Speaking to the media on Sunday, Smith said that the respect is mutual. 

While saying that, nobody really knows how the team will respond when the games count and the pressure is on, but Smith likes what he has seen so far. 

“I think we’ve got guys that are all in,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys that are committed, and I don’t think that’s the case everywhere. I think a lot of times it’s easy not to invest because it’s scary to put yourself out there knowing you might not succeed. I think we’ve got a bunch of guys who are all in, really invested in what we’re doing here, and I think that’s all you can ask for. We’ve got a tough team that’s not afraid of competition, not afraid to toe the line. I think that’s been apparent through camp. Like I said, the proof’s in the pudding. You’ve got to go do it when it really matters.”

Of course, it’s smart to be complimentary of your new teammates when you are under contract with the organization for the next five years, and Smith is nothing if not smart. Still, Smith didn’t seem to be blowing smoke when he talked about how he formed his opinion about the team. 

“I think it’s an accumulation going back to April up to this date,” said Smith. “It’s how he conducts himself, how he carries himself in the locker room, in the film room, in the training room, in the weight room, on the practice field, when you’re in camp riding the shuttle bus together. I mean, you can tell, I think, how invested guys are. You can tell who’s real, who’s authentic. That quickly becomes apparent when you put all those things together. You can see what guys are really made of and who’s faking it. We’ve got a bunch of guys that are all in.”

For the last several years, the Redskins have talked a lot about drafting and signing players with character, guys who as Smith put it are “all in”. They haven’t always hit the mark, but they have collected players like Brandon Scherff, Jonathan Allen, Josh Norman, and others who love the game more than they love what they can get from the game (i.e. a big paycheck). 

To be sure, dysfunction involving players is not entirely a thing of the past. There has been occasional drama such as the sudden Su’a Cravens departure last year, but most NFL team have occasional situations and the Redskins are not one of the teams frequently making headlines for the wrong reasons. 

Smith is another one of those high character guys and he is recognizing that in the approach of many of his teammates. 

This all sounds great in August and, as Smith noted, we won’t really know how the high character will translate when they’re in a tight game during the season. But for right now, it’s good that the quarterback has confidence in his teammates and that could count for something when the chips are down in December. 

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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