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Rams WR Danny Amendola back in walking boot

Rams WR Danny Amendola back in walking boot

ST. LOUIS (AP) Danny Amendola was pretty much a decoy last week, limited by a heel injury. The St. Louis Rams' leading wide receiver was back in a walking boot Wednesday and watching at practice.

Though he limped to the locker room, Amendola, who has 51 catches and an 11.3-yard average, was optimistic about playing Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. He was on the field for just seven snaps in last week's victory at Arizona, with one reception for 38 yards.

``I guess we'll see,'' Amendola told the Associated Press. ``It's getting better each and every day, so it's just a matter of how I feel at the end of the week.

``I'd like to say I'm optimistic. I always say I'm optimistic.''

Amendola says he was injured when a defensive player fell on his right leg near the goal line two weeks ago against the Jets. He aggravated the injury making a cut near the end of the first half of that game and was a surprise starter against the Cardinals after being listed as doubtful.

Coach Jeff Fisher said Amendola convinced him and the medical staff in a pre-game workout that he could play. Amendola did not play in the second half.

``It was a group decision,'' Amendola said. ``I didn't get a whole lot of reps but the more I could find a role to help in any way, that was what I was trying to do.''

Center Scott Wells also did not practice Wednesday, likely helping him ease back into the routine. Wells made his first start last week since breaking his left foot in the opener.

Running back Steven Jackson (foot), defensive end Robert Quinn (concussion) and linebacker Mario Haggan (elbow) also did not practice. Like Wells, Jackson was likely just getting a break.

Wells' return strengthened the Rams at two spots with Robert Turner, the stand-in center while Wells was out, moving to left guard. The Rams had a season-best 173 yards rushing with a 5.1-yard average against the Cardinals, including a season-best 139 yards on 24 carries from Jackson.

``I thought they were really good,'' quarterback Sam Bradford said. ``I think it's a credit to them because they haven't been together for long.

``When you've got that original group out there, it's just a little extra, I guess.''

Bradford was more of a facilitator last week, going 8 for 17 for 205 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. He didn't pass much in the first meeting against Arizona, either, finishing 7 for 21 for 141 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Prior to last week, Bradford threw at least 30 passes in four consecutive games, including 44 against the Jets.

Rookie Chris Givens stepped up in Amendola's absence with five catches for a career-best 115 yards and a 37-yard score. Givens is the fastest player on the team and was one of the fastest in this year's draft class. Bradford believes the fourth-round pick out of Wake Forest can be among the league's ``elite receivers.''

``I don't think there is a ceiling for him, I think he can be as good as he wants to be,'' Bradford said. ``He can stretch a defense. We can also throw him a quick screen pass and he can turn that into a big play, too.''

Fisher wasn't surprised that the 49ers announced Colin Kaepernick as their starting quarterback ahead of Alex Smith. Earlier in the week, Fisher said on his radio show that he'd be surprised if Kaepernick did not get the nod.

``When he's in the game, you have to be ready for a slightly different offense,'' Fisher said. ``We're going to do the same thing as we did the first time around, prepare for both of them.''

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

In what is perhaps the most unexpected Stanley Cup Final pairing in recent memory, the Washington Capitals and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are going to make history this year.

Either it is going to be the first expansion team to win a title in their first season, or it will be a team looking to end a 27-year title drought for one of the biggest cities in the United States.

But what it will not be is the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup.

Going even farther back than the Capitals last Stanley Cup appearance (1998), the Georgetown Hoyas and UNLV Rebels met in the 1991 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Sin City took the first, and up until now, the only postseason bout between these two cities. The Larry Johnson-led University of Las Vegas squad powered right past the Hoyas in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.

[D.C. sports and Second Rounds, I know right?]

Coming fresh off the NCAA title in 1990, UNLV waltzed right to the Final Four before meeting their demise against Duke. It also ended up being the last game for Dikembe Mutombo in a Georgetown uniform.

While in all likely-hood this will not be the final game/ series for Alex Ovechkin rocking the red, it may be his last and only chance for him to play this far into a postseason.

In the past two seasons, Vegas has gone from zero professional teams to having a Stanley Cup contender, a WNBA franchise, and lined up to take over the Oakland Raiders in 2020. 

Now time for the Golden Knights' Cinderella story to come up a little bit short. 

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