Wizards

Snyder hopeful Klein can start for No. 3 K-State

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Snyder hopeful Klein can start for No. 3 K-State

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) Bill Snyder has always been secretive when it comes to discussing injuries.

Or just about anything else in his program.

The longtime coach at Kansas State said Tuesday he expects Heisman Trophy frontrunner Collin Klein will be able to start the third-ranked Wildcats' game at TCU this weekend, but he once again refused - politely, of course - to discuss anything specific to his star quarterback's injury.

The nature of it, the severity of it, the process by which Klein would be cleared to play - even the timetable involved in making that decision, which must happen soon.

``Let's cut to the chase,'' Snyder said. ``Would I expect him to play? I certainly hope that's the case, and I would expect that to take place.''

Klein was hurt in the third quarter of last Saturday's 44-30 victory over Oklahoma State, likely on one of three straight runs that resulted in his 50th career rushing touchdown.

He remained on the ground an extra moment after a sneak finished off the drive, and then jogged over to the sideline. Klein spoke for several minutes with trainers on the bench, and then his helmet was taken away and he spent the rest of the game watching from the sideline.

All of those signs are indicative of a head injury, which has taken on increased scrutiny across the football landscape, from the professional level all the way down to youths - and is another reason why Snyder was reticent to discuss the details of Klein's injury.

``My interest in our players is beyond football, and I always want to do the right thing for young people in our program, and I think anybody would feel the same way,'' Snyder said. ``I don't want to put any young person in jeopardy. That's why I don't address injuries.''

Sure, the secrecy may give Kansas State a competitive advantage against the Horned Frogs, who will also have to spend time preparing for backup quarterback Daniel Sams.

But the sagely Snyder truly believes that it's in the best interest of Klein to keep him out of the spotlight, which is why the senior wasn't available to the media on Tuesday.

``Collin was perfectly comfortable coming here and visiting, and I wanted to not put him through that,'' Snyder said, ``because I know the bombardment he would have had to endure.''

Klein already had put together another big performance before leaving last Saturday's game, throwing for 245 yards and running for 64. He's averaging nearly 175 yards per game through the air, with 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions, and close to 78 yards on the ground.

He has 17 rushing touchdowns to go with 27 last year, making him the record-holder in the Football Bowl Subdivision for rushing TDs by a quarterback in consecutive seasons.

Considering all that, it's little surprise that he's 20-4 as a starter, and that three more wins would push him past Ell Roberson and Heisman Trophy runner-up Michael Bishop for the most wins by a quarterback since Snyder stepped into Manhattan to resurrect the program in the late 1980s.

If the kid nicknamed ``Optimus Klein'' is unable to start Saturday, the challenge of moving the Wildcats - No. 2 in the current BCS standings - one step closer to the national championship game will fall to Sams, an elusive freshman with more raw athleticism but far less experience.

``He did a nice job for the most part in the ballgame. He was 5 of 6 throwing the ball, managed the game well enough,'' Snyder said. ``The more opportunities you have, the better you get.''

TCU coach Gary Patterson said he wouldn't assume that Klein will play, but he also said that both of the Kansas State quarterbacks present problems with their ability to scramble.

``Sams, the redshirt freshman, as far as I could see, he ran the same plays as Collin does,'' Patterson said. ``They both have patience running the football.''

Kansas State running back Angelo Pease also said that the offense won't change regardless of who is under center, and that the Wildcats have confidence in either quarterback.

``If Collin plays, he plays, if he don't, he don't,'' Pease said. ``The only difference with Collin is he's more of a leader, only because he's more experienced.''

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Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

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Associated Press

Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

The Washington Wizards have an opening on their coaching staff, as assistant Sidney Lowe has left the team to join the Detroit Pistons.

Lowe, according to ESPN, will be the top assistant on new Pistons coach Dwane Casey's staff. 

Lowe spent two seasons under head coach Scott Brooks in Washington. A D.C. native, Lowe starred at DeMatha High School before playing at NC State and then in the NBA.

Lowe was the head coach at his alma mater for five years from 2006 through 2011, but has otherwise been an NBA lifer. He served as head coach of the Timberwolves in 1993-94 and head coach of the Grizzlies from 2000 to 2002.

The Wizards have several coaching hires to make now. They have a new G-League team set to take the court in the fall and will need to hire a staff sometime this summer. 

With Lowe gone, they could choose to promote from within or go outside the organization.

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Nationals look to halt red hot Tampa Bay Rays in 2-game series at Tropicana Field

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USA TODAY Sports

Nationals look to halt red hot Tampa Bay Rays in 2-game series at Tropicana Field

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays, routinely using relievers as starters to deal with a rash of injuries, are pitching their way to victories.

The Rays (37-40) go into a two-game interleague series against the Washington Nationals with the momentum of a three-game sweep of the American League East-leading Yankees. New York hadn't lost three games in a row at any point all season, but the Rays pulled it off, capped with a 7-6 win in 12 innings on Sunday at Tropicana Field.

"That's the best team in the league right now, them and the Astros ... I think coming home from that we had confidence and it all carried over into that series," said Rays rookie first baseman Jake Bauers, who won the game in the 12th inning.

Since beginning their experimental use of relievers as "openers" to start games, the Rays have a 3.07 ERA, and entering Sunday's game, that edged the Yankees for the best ERA in baseball since May 19. They've won five of seven games to again challenge .500, and Sunday's walkoff home run by Bauers was their second this season, after totaling one in three seasons from 2015 to 2017.

The Nationals (41-35) had gone 3-9 in their last 12 games before Sunday night's rain-delayed game against the Phillies, dropping into third place in the National League East. They'll send out Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.08 ERA), who has no wins in his last four starts and his ERA has risen from a sterling 2.10 to 3.08.

Gonzalez lasted only four innings in his last outing, giving up five hits and two runs against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. For his career against the Rays, he's 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA, though he's only faced Tampa Bay once since 2012. That was a rough 2015 start at Tropicana Field, lasting 3 1/3 innings and giving up five earned runs on eight hits, walking more batters than he struck out. For his career at Tropicana, he has an 11.25 ERA.

The Rays will have an actual starter on the mound in Blake Snell (9-4, 2.48), who is in line for an All-Star appearance after the first three months of his season. He has just one loss in his last seven starts, and while he has never faced the Nationals, he has generally fared well in interleague play, going 3-2 with a 2.33 ERA in eight career starts.

Tampa Bay, hoping to build on its current momentum, has a tough week ahead, with two games against Washington, then another four against Houston to close out the homestand.

Washington goes from St. Petersburg to a weekend four-game series at the Philadelphia Phillies before returning home for a week.

The Rays got a head start with a Sunday afternoon game and the Nationals saw their prime-time game delayed by rain, keeping them on the field beyond midnight and still needing to fly to Florida for the two-game stopover.

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