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Panthers CB Gamble to have MRI on injured shoulder

Panthers CB Gamble to have MRI on injured shoulder

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers coach Ron Rivera said starting cornerback Chris Gamble will have an MRI on his right shoulder to determine if he has a torn labrum, the same injury that sent offensive lineman Mike Pollak to injured reserve earlier this season.

Gamble has been ruled out for Sunday's game against Dallas and Rivera is ``concerned'' he may end up on injured reserve.

``Once he gets the exam and goes through all that we'll determine'' if he goes on IR, Rivera said. ``Probably the soonest we'll know is Monday.''

As if the Panthers (1-4) need any more problems, Rivera also said three-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jon Beason is ``very doubtful'' for the Cowboys game because of a lingering knee issue and that rookie Luke Kuechly will make his second start in the middle.

Beason also sat out Carolina's 16-12 loss to Seattle prior to the bye week.

Kuechly, the team's first-round draft pick this year, played well in his absence with 11 tackles and one interception. That also means Thomas Davis will start at weak side linebacker.

``Jon Beason did very, very limited stuff today, so he's very doubtful,'' Rivera said. ``Luke practiced inside and that looks like the direction we'll have to head.''

When he's played Beason has struggled with knee and shoulder problems which affected his strength and ability to tackle. In a Week 3 game against the Near York Giants, running back Andre Brown bounced off a Beason shoulder tackle and kept on going.

Meanwhile, Kuechly said he's feeling comfortable in the middle.

Kuechly played middle linebacker at Boston College and led the nation in tackles twice.

He started the first four games at weak side linebacker for the Panthers. Rivera said earlier in the season the coaching staff did not want to continue to move him from one linebacker position to the other so as to prevent him from feeling overwhelmed.

``It comes back to an extent,'' Kuechly said of returning to middle linebacker. ``There's still some new things we do on our defense. There are a couple of differences, but for the most part it's similar to what I was used to.''

Rivera said Gamble, who has started 117 games in nine seasons, first injured the shoulder against Atlanta on Sept. 30. He sat out Carolina's game against Seattle the following week. He reinjured it in practice this week.

Rivera called Gamble one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the league.

While Carolina's defense ranks 19th in the league against the pass, Gamble has been fairly consistent with the exception of the Giants game.

He's been targeted 14 times and allowed eight catches for 75 yards with two pass breakups, according to STATS LLC. Six of those passes allowed came in a 36-7 loss to the Giants.

Captain Munnerlyn will start in Gamble's spot opposite rookie Josh Norman. In nickel situations, Munnerlyn will slide to the slot and cornerback Josh Thomas will man the outside.

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With another low shot total for Otto Porter, Coach Brooks says Porter needs to do more to help himself

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With another low shot total for Otto Porter, Coach Brooks says Porter needs to do more to help himself

After a night in which Otto Porter Jr. only took nine total shots, just two of them in the second half, many questions from Wizards reporters in the postgame locker room centered on how the team can get him more involved. This came on the heels of a seven-shot, zero-three outing for Porter against the Heat on Thursday and a preseason in which getting him more attempts was a persistent storyline.

It sounds like some are tired of talking about it. Point guard John Wall, who is part of the equation as the team's main distributor and highest usage player, put it in relatively strong terms.

"This will be the last time I talk about Otto Porter getting threes," Wall said. 

Wall went on to explain how it's a combination of defenses taking away the three-point line for Porter and the flow of the game creating better shots for others. It's a common explanation Wall has given on the matter in recent weeks, and it's understandable.

Head coach Scott Brooks has admitted his own role in Porter not getting enough shots, how more plays could be called for the small forward. But after the loss to Toronto, one in which Porter played just south of 25 minutes, he was a bit more blunt in his assessment.

Brooks believes Porter can be doing a lot more to help himself.

"Gotta get yourself open," Brooks said. 

When asked about Porter playing fewer minutes than usual, Brooks went on about the need for guys to play hard. That warranted a follow-up, as it seemed Brooks was questioning Porter's hustle.

Brooks explained what he meant by that in detail.

"You've got to move. You've got to set yourself up. You've got to run the floor. We got a fast point guard. I don’t know if you guys know that but he’s fast and if our wings aren’t running, what good is it when you’re going to have a one-man break? What makes teams play with pace is guys running." 

"I love Otto. You guys know that. But he has to play faster. He has to. Physically, he’s not going to jump over anybody and dunk over everybody, but he has to get himself into position. He’s a big-time player for us. He’s a glue guy. He makes winning basketball plays. He gets in plays but he has to do that consistently for us. He can’t do it for a half. He has to do it for the entire game. The guy can do it. I’ve seen it. He didn’t do it tonight but he’s going to bounce back. He didn’t do it the first two games but he’s going to bounce back and do it. And we need it.”

Porter, 25, was the Wizards' most efficient player last season, but averaged only 11.5 shots per game. With one of the best three-point shots in the NBA, the numbers suggest he should have a larger role.

The Wizards insist they are trying to get him more involved. In their eyes, it's time for Porter to do his part.

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Bradley Beal honored to pass Gilbert Arenas on all-time three-pointer list

Bradley Beal honored to pass Gilbert Arenas on all-time three-pointer list

Saturday night produced a link between some of the best players in recent Wizards/Bullets franchise history.

With a fourth-quarter three, Bradley Beal surpassed Gilbert Arenas on the franchise list for career triples

Beal, an All-Star last season, has already established himself as one of the best to play for Washington in decades. Afterwards, he paid homage to the man whose record he broke.

"I was always a fan of Gil. He was Agent Zero," Beal told NBC Sports Washington. 

"I loved everything about him; his confidence, his swagger on the floor. Granted, everyone talks about his off-the-court stuff, but what he did on the court is just untouchable. It's untouchable. He's a legend, for sure. Part of me wishes I could have played with him and just learned from him in a lot of ways. That's an accomplishment for me. I'm happy I was able to surpass it because he is a legend, in my opinion anyway."

Arenas' tenure with the Wizards was epic for its highs and lows. At his peak, he was arguably the most dangerous scorer in the NBA. But his downfall both on the court and off has left him as a notorious figure in the game's recent history.

John Wall, who has assisted on many of Beal's three-pointers, played with Arenas back in the 2010-11 season as a rookie. He is happy for his current teammate, who now has a distinct place in the team's history books.

"He's probably the best shooter I've ever played with in my eyes, so it's great to see him accomplish that," Wall said. "He's going to keep setting the bar higher and higher."

Beal passed Arenas in just the second game of his seventh NBA season. He's only 25 years old, so odds are he will keep adding to his franchise record for many years to come.

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