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No. 2 Alabama coping with another injured receiver

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No. 2 Alabama coping with another injured receiver

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) No. 2 Alabama's once-deep receiving corps has been hit by its third big injury.

The Crimson Tide lost deep threat Kenny Bell to a broken leg against Auburn, marking the third major hit among receivers this season. It has left a thinned-out group facing No. 3 Georgia in Saturday's Southeastern Conference championship game.

Coach Nick Saban said Monday he's considering playing highly touted freshman Chris Black, who had shoulder surgery in August, over the final two games. Black is in line for a redshirt season.

``He's been practicing for three weeks now. Now he's been cleared,'' Saban said Monday. ``So we're going to try to get him some reps because we're getting down to where we only have maybe five guys that have much experience at the position. We still feel good about the guys that we have. We just need to get more guys ready to play so that they can complement each other.

``You'd like to be able to roll guys in and out at that position.''

The Tide (11-1) has been able to do that pretty well this season despite the casualties. DeAndrew White started the first five games before a season-ending knee injury against Mississippi.

Now, Bell has had surgery and is out five or six weeks. Saban said it's up to the team doctors to determine when he can return.

Bell is averaging a team-high 25.4 yards per catch and had the team's two longest receptions, 85 yards against Florida Atlantic and 57 versus Mississippi State.

The biggest playmaker for quarterback AJ McCarron has clearly been freshman Amari Cooper, easily the team leader with 767 yards and eight touchdowns. He has three 100-yard games in his last six games despite being held without a catch against LSU, when he missed the second half with an ankle injury.

``The one you notice is Cooper, obviously,'' Georgia coach Mark Richt said. ``He's the leading receiver. He's definitely the go-to guy, the deep ball guy, made some wonderful plays. Some of the long yardage receptions have been just launching it out there deep and him making a play. He's also caught a couple balls, shorter range balls, made people miss, has taken it to the house or had some big plays.

``He's very versatile. They have a couple other guys that have been outstanding for them, as well.''

Kevin Norwood and Christion Jones are veterans having solid seasons but no other healthy wideout has more than four catches.

Tight end Michael Williams is fourth on the team with 19 catches and tailback Eddie Lacy fifth with 18.

Georgia can relate to Alabama's problems.

The Bulldogs' Marlon Brown and Michael Bennett have both been lost for the season with knee injuries. They were leading the team in receiving at the time of their injuries.

Alabama started preseason camp with plenty of bodies at receiver despite the departure of Marquis Maze and Darius Hanks. The numbers have since dwindled.

``It was really deep. It's a shame that we had a lot of injuries,'' Norwood said. ``Injuries happen. We just got to deal with it the best way we can.''

With Alabama trying to play for a national championship, Black's situation presents an interesting dilemma. One of the nation's top receiving prospects, he enrolled in January and scored on a 44-yard catch-and-run play in the spring game.

Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner has faced him frequently in practice and thinks he could get the job done if needed.

``He's been practicing against us for, like, the last three weeks, giving us a great look of different receivers from different teams,'' Milliner said. ``He does a great job with that. Hopefully, if he can play he'll be a big step for us.''

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Austin Rivers wants to interview Jay-Z and Barack Obama; still cant John Wall on his podcast

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USA Today

Austin Rivers wants to interview Jay-Z and Barack Obama; still cant John Wall on his podcast

Just one episode into his new podcast 'Go Off,' Wizards guard Austin Rivers is already learning plenty about the media world. With plans to become a television analyst when his playing days are done, Rivers is gaining a new appreciation for what it takes to speak at-length without stumbling over his words.

He's also starting to realize one of the biggest pain points for a media member: waiting on guests. Rivers has tried to line up interviews with his teammates and it's been much easier said than done.

Rivers is set to have Dwight Howard on as his first guest, but the original plan was point guard John Wall. Wall, though, has been giving him the runaround.

"That's the hardest thing is getting guests to show up," Rivers said. 

"It's impossible to get John on my podcast. At this point, I just don't expect it anymore. He says he'll do it next week and then the week comes. John has like 15 things to do a day. I don't know what these guys do. I play in the league, too. I know how un-busy my life is outside of this. And I've got a kid. John has a brand to run. He's a different level. Sorry, you can see the frustration on my face with not getting John on my podcast, man."

Rivers hopes to have many of his teammates on. He mentioned Kelly Oubre Jr. and how an interview with Oubre "might be a little out there." He also gave a hint about what his conversation with Howard will be like.

"I'm definitely gonna have some interesting topics to bring up with Dwight. I told him 'listen, you might want to check with your publicist before coming on my podcast.' We only talk about real conversations on here," Rivers said.

Rivers says he plans to start with fellow NBA players and then work in special episodes with guests outside of the league and even outside of basketball. He hopes to record an episode with financial advisors to talk about money and investments. He wants to take a deep dive into the AAU circuit and how it can be fixed.

Eventually, Rivers wants to aim very high with his guests. He gave a list of his dream interviews and there are some big names.

"Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade. Dwyane Wade is my favorite player. I'm gonna get Dwyane Wade on my podcast, for sure. I'm gonna go ahead and put that out there," Rivers said.

"Off-the-court, I would love to get Denzel Washington on there. That would be my dream... I want to do a podcast with me and my dad and Jaden Smith and Will Smith. I think that would be really dope, talking about parent-to-son success and how he related to his son to have a work ethic and how my dad did it to me."

Rivers went even higher. He wants to interview a president.

"I guess if I could go the highest, I would go Jay-Z or [Barack] Obama. But let's be realistic, here," Rivers said.

"[Interviewing Obama] would be incredible, bro. I would be so nervous. I'm not there yet, I'll be honest. I need like six or seven or eight more podcasts before I can get Obama on there because I'm gonna be stuttering. I can't do it with Obama yet. I don't know if I could handle Denzel right now."

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Capitals prospect report: Axel Jonsson-Fjallby goes home

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Capitals prospect report: Axel Jonsson-Fjallby goes home

Early in October, reports began popping up saying Axel Jonsson-Fjallby was headed back to his native Sweden to play for Djurgardens IF in the SHL. Those reports were refuted by the team which said that he remained in Hershey and had no plans to return to Sweden at that time.

Just over a month later and Jonsson-Fjallby’s move back to Sweden is official. On Tuesday, the Capitals announced he had been loaned to Djurgardens IF.

Jonsson-Fjallby scored two goals and three points in 15 games with the Bears.

While Jonsson-Fjallby was technically loaned by the Caps, it seems clear going back to Sweden was his decision. Capitals Outsider quotes a Bears spokesperson saying, “We are obviously disappointed, but it was Axel’s contractual right.”

To be fair, Jonsson-Fjallby was adjusting to a new country. That’s difficult. You do not know what a player’s specific situation is when it comes to family or how he is adjusting to living in a new place. Having said that, this was not a good move in terms of his NHL career.

Adjusting to the North American game takes time. Going back to Sweden to play the European game obviously delays that transition.

Not every player has to go to the AHL to adjust. Evgeny Kuznetsov was talented enough that the Caps were willing to bring him along straight from the KHL to the bottom six in the NHL as he adjusted and developed. Jonsson-Fjallby, however, is not Kuznetsov.

When Jonsson-Fjallby is finally ready to return to North America, he will now have to start the process of adjusting to the North American game again, putting him behind all the players in the system that are there now.

He may feel like it is the right move to return home personally, but in terms of his hockey career, this was a step in the wrong direction.

Other prospect notes:

  • Jonas Siegenthaler made his NHL debut on Friday with both Brooks Orpik and John Carlson out with injuries. He was impressive in his first game playing alongside Madison Bowey. He played in his second game on Wednesday which ties him for the franchise lead in games played by a Swiss-born player. He remains with the Caps on their current road trip.
  • llya Samsonov started in both of Hershey’s games over the weekend with Vitek Vanecek still out with an upper-body injury. Samsonov won one of those two games bringing his record for the season to 3-5.
  • Nathan Walker returned to Hershey after the Caps placed him on waivers. He scored in his very first game back on Saturday against Springfield. He also got into a fight in his second game back on Sunday.
  • Riley Barber had no goals in the first six games of the season. Now he has five in the past seven. Over the weekend, Barber recorded a goal and an assist in both of Hershey’s games. He now leads the team in points with 11 and sits third in goals behind Liam O’Brien (7) and Mike Sgarbossa (6).
  • Tyler Lewington has racked up 454 career penalty minutes with Hershey, passing Don Cherry who had 424 while with the Bears. He currently sits second in the AHL in penalty minutes with 54. A lot of fans like Lewington because he is not afraid to drop the gloves, but not all of those minutes are from fighting. Lewington also leads the league in minor penalties with 12.
  • With his goal Friday in a win over Rensselaer, Chase Priskie became Quinnipiac’s all-time leading scorer among defensemen with 29 goals. “It’s great to be in the record books, but at the same time it’s the players that I’ve been able to play with for the last four years,” Priskie said. “Without them, a lot of those goals don’t happen and I can’t give enough praise to the guys I’ve been able to play with that have been able to get me the puck in the right situations. I’ve been able to do the easy part. I just try to come in and do whatever I can to help the team win.”

 

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