Redskins

No surgery required for Love's broken hand

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No surgery required for Love's broken hand

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Timberwolves got a bit of good news Thursday when doctors told All-Star Kevin Love that he wouldn't need surgery on his broken right hand.

The bad news is they still have to figure out a way to replace his 26 points and 13 rebounds a game for the next six to eight weeks.

Love said in a statement Thursday that he broke his right hand while doing knuckle push-ups the day before in a pre-practice workout. The injury means the Wolves will be without their two best players - point guard Ricky Rubio isn't expected back until mid-December at the earliest because of a torn ACL in his left knee - for the first month of the regular season, and possibly longer.

``Although I'm disappointed that this injury happened, I will work extremely hard to stay in shape and return to the court as quickly as possible,'' Love said.

The situation is similar to what Wolves coach Rick Adelman had to deal with in Houston, when he lost stars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming for extended stretches.

``I was just shocked,'' Adelman said when he was told of Love's injury. ``I couldn't believe it. Here we're trying to get ready and then we have something like this happen. I learned a long time ago. I've had so many injuries to good players, I've started to think maybe it's me.''

Adelman chuckled just a bit after uttering those words, but figuring out how to move on without his leading scorer and rebounder and without getting buried isn't going to be easy.

His options, however, are many. Starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko can move to the power forward against some teams, with Dante Cunningham, Lou Amundson and Derrick Williams also available to fill in.

If anyone thought it was Williams' spot by default, Adelman shot that down Thursday.

``Why would people assume that?'' Adelman asked. ``He's certainly one of the guys that has to play there, but it's going to be him, Dante, Lou, Andrei may play some there. That's what we're going to have to find out the next three games and the practices, what's the best way to go.''

Williams spent most of the summer reshaping his body and working on his ball-handling so he could earn more minutes at small forward with Love getting the bulk of the time at power forward. But he has done some of his best work at power forward, including a 22-point, 10-rebound performance against the Lakers on March 9 when Love couldn't play because of back spasms.

``I think it's a big opportunity for myself as well as DC and a few of the other guys on our team that can play multiple positions,'' Williams said. ``It really does (stink). He's a two-time All-Star and the best player on our team. We're just going to have to do without him, same without Ricky. We can't make any excuses.''

Williams impressed the coaches with his work ethic and aggressiveness early in training camp, but Adelman still wants to see more consistency from the No. 2 overall pick in last year's draft.

``It can't be one night, one game someone plays well and two games later he doesn't do anything and he gets lost out there,'' Adelman said. ``I'm looking for consistency from all those guys.''

Adelman was able to lead the Rockets to the playoffs when McGrady and Yao were injured, and the Timberwolves maintain that remains the goal in Minnesota this season.

``I'm hoping our guys respond like the guys in Houston did,'' he said. ``We can still win and we can still be successful. We just have to find out how we're going to do it. Guys have to step up.''

The Wolves have three more preseason games before opening the regular season at home against Sacramento on Nov. 2.

Adelman will spend that time exploring different combinations and lineups to try to find the right mix.

``He's obviously a big piece of our puzzle,'' Cunningham said. ``Right now we're dealing with a team coming together. For him to go down right now is definitely a blow to our team. But we're going to pick it up and move forward.''

If Adelman has his way, all workouts going forward will be push-up-free.

``I think that should be taken out of the repertoire for sure,'' he cracked. ``In fact, all push-ups. Anything to do with the hands. I looked over and saw Ricky doing push-ups after I heard about it. I said, `No, let's stop there.'''

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Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter:http://twitter.com/APkrawczynski

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10 Questions for 10 Days: After Josh Norman, what's the plan at cornerback?

10 Questions for 10 Days: After Josh Norman, what's the plan at cornerback?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

No. 7: Do the Redskins have a 1,000-yard WR?

No. 6: Is Shawn Lauvao the concern, or is the issue bigger on the O-Line?

No. 5: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?

No. 4: After Josh Norman, what's the plan at cornerback?

In a way, the Redskins are quite lucky. Not every team in the NFL has an unequivocal No. 1 corner. Washington has that in Josh Norman

His interception numbers in 2017 did not get the job done, but he still played quite well. Norman got targeted significantly less than the league average, which means NFL quarterbacks actively chose not to mess with former All Pro. 

Still, Norman needs more interceptions than last year. He grabbed none, and he will admit that he must create more turnovers. 

Regardless, Norman is not the Redskins question mark at cornerback. What happens after Norman is the question. 

Washington moved quick this offseason to lock up Quinton Dunbar off restricted free agency. Dunbar has size and range, and has looked quite capable, in spots. He doesn't have a ton of experience, however, and will be asked to start this fall. The team also signed veteran Orlando Scandrick - from the Cowboys - as a likely nickel/slot corner. 

Second-year man Fabian Moreau will be expected to take a significant step forward this fall. The Redskins would like very much to be able to primarily rely on Norman, Moreau and Dunbar while asking less of Scandrick. 

Don't forget Washington lost Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland this offseason. Fuller got moved to Kansas City as part of the Alex Smith trade, and Breeland remains a free agent.

Redskins coaches won't tell the exact truth, but the the team would love for Moreau to emerge opposite Norman and let Dunbar play in the slot. Or maybe let Moreau emerge in the slot, like Fuller did in 2017, and Dunbar opposite Norman. Scandrick hasn't played a full season since 2013, and the 'Skins brass can't expect that in 2018 for the 31-year-old corner. 

Josh Holsey, Adonis Alexander and Greg Stroman will provide depth at the bottom of the roster. That's two seventh-round picks and a supplemental sixth round pick. While each player provides reasons for optimism, it's hard to think any of the three young players will provide immediate help. They're better focused fighting for a roster spot than a starting spot. 

In 2017, cornerback ranked as a strength for the Redskins. 

In 2018, it's a big question. Elite play from Norman could change much of that equation. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Offense

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Associated Press

Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 22, four days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Training camp preview: Offense

Here are some of the big topics surrounding the offense at Redskins training camp along with some of the things I’ll be observing closely when training camp gets underway on Thursday. 

Alex Smith

The subheadline here doesn’t need any elaboration. The Redskins gave up a top-100 draft pick, a promising player, and $71 million in guaranteed money to get him. When asked about the timetable for Smith picking up the offense, Jay Gruden said, “He has got to get it down by the first game.”

That first game is seven weeks from today. Of course, the process has already started as Smith appeared to have a solid grasp of things in the offseason practices. There is every reason to think that he will look good in Richmond. 

The question is, how much will the coaches push him? Will they focus on him having success on shorter, easier throws to build his confidence? Or will they call plays that test his ability to throw deep? Last year in Kansas City his ability to hit on long passes helped transform him from being an above-average quarterback to an MVP candidate. The Redskins need him to be effective deep starting Week 1 and training camp needs to be the starting point. 

The running back rotation

This is primarily about Derrius Guice, who is the most anticipated rookie running back in team history. The Redskins were 28th in rushing yards last year and they bring back the same offensive line (although hoping for better health) and three of the same running backs. They are counting on Guice to be the difference maker. 

But Guice can’t do it by himself. Gruden will be wary of overworking his rookie, who has an aggressive running style and who was banged up for a lot of his last year at LSU. He also may give Guice a light load if he struggles in pass protection early on. Chris Thompson’s role is set. Where do Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine line up? Does one or the other take most of the first-team reps when Guice is getting a rest? 

The difference between being the third back and the fourth is big. The fourth back on the depth chart is unlikely to be active most game days. The active back could get five to 10 carries per game.

Who’s at left guard?

Is Shawn Lauvao going to be the left guard? It doesn’t seem logical that they would put all their eggs in Lauvao’s injury-prone and frequently ineffective basket. Will Ty Nsekhe line up there? Do they think that Tyler Catalina or Kyle Kalis can push for the starting job? Is a trade in the offing? 

Jordan Reed’s health

This does not need much explanation if you’ve been paying attention the last several years. It would be both a good sign and a major surprise if he starts camp healthy and doesn’t miss any time due to injuries. If he’s out there, there is no question that he and Smith will quickly develop chemistry. 

Wide receiver depth chart

The stakes at wide receiver are similar to those at running back. The top backup behind the three starters, who could be any of Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Brian Quick or Try Quinn, will have a regular role in the offense line Ryan Grant had last year. The fifth guy will rarely play, the player who has the sixth spot will rarely play, and the seventh won’t have a job. 

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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Apparently, some teams are worried that their players are playing too much of the video game Fortnite. No, seriously.

Timeline 

Happy birthday to Redskins running back Quinton Dunbar, who was born on this date in 1992.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 4
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 18
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 41

The Redskins last played a game 203 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 49 days. 

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