Derrick Rose may be out longer than expected

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Derrick Rose may be out longer than expected

From Comcast SportsNet
CHICAGO (AP) -- The doctor who operated on Derrick Rose's knee insists the Chicago Bulls' star can dominate again. It will take time, though. Rose faces a recovery of eight months to a year. The assessment by team physician Dr. Brian Cole on Tuesday means the point guard could return around mid-January to early February, or miss next season. The doctor added there is a chance Rose could be back sooner, but "we're not going to rush it." The Bulls had already said Rose has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Cole said there were also two tears in his meniscus cartilage. He said Rose is "doing great," that the surgery went "extremely well" and he can still be an explosive player. "It's impossible to predict tomorrow," Cole said during a news conference at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center. "Statistically, he should be that player and then some. That doesn't mean he's guaranteed. It's a whole lot better than we were accustomed to years ago. The ligament is one thing and the meniscus is another. Getting all the things to heal appropriately is really our goal in the early phases. Then, it's rehab, conditioning -- getting his brain connected to his knee, basically." General manager Gar Forman insisted the Bulls won't rush Rose, that they are more focused on the long term than the short-term hit they'll take without him. The GM is "hopeful" and "optimistic" his franchise player will return next season but isn't sure he will. "In putting this team together, everything was looking at the big picture, long term," Forman said. "I think it's our job to stay focused on that and to continue to look at what we feel is a long window of opportunity to have success and that's how we'll approach it." Rose had surgery on Saturday after being injured two weeks earlier in Chicago's playoff-opening win over Philadelphia, a major blow for a team eyeing its first championship since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen era. The Bulls simply weren't the same without their superstar point guard and bowed out in six games, making them the fifth top seed to lose to an eighth seed. Chicago was closing out a 103-91 victory in Game 1 and Rose was showing his MVP form when everything changed. He came to a jump stop in the lane with about 1:20 left and his leg buckled. He went up again and passed to Carlos Boozer in midair before crashing to the court, sending a chill through the arena. That certainly wasn't what the Bulls envisioned after capturing home-court advantage throughout the playoffs for the second straight season despite a long list of injuries. They were eyeing another big run after losing to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals last season, but with their leading scorer sidelined, they made an early exit, becoming the second No. 1 seed in two years to fall in the first round. Rose averaged 21.8 points and 7.9 assists, but had trouble staying healthy after capturing the MVP a year ago. He missed 27 games because of groin, back, toe, foot and ankle problems that the team does not think led to the ACL tear. "This could be anything from a completely random event -- which in a non-contact injury, most of the time that's what it is -- to maybe conditioning," Cole said. "We'll never know with certainty. My feeling is it's more likely than not a very random even that happened. If you watch the video, you can see ... the forces are just right to tear the ligament." He also pointed out that Rose did not tear the medial collateral ligament, making the preparation for the surgery easier. Cole said patients generally start running about three months after surgery, and trainer Fred Tedeschi said players start shooting around that time. From there, they progress to cutting activities and increase the workload from there. Whether Rose spends part of his offseason working out in Los Angeles as he usually does or stays in Chicago, Tedeschi said the Bulls will have someone with him monitoring his rehab. Cole also said Rose should play once he's ready, that he doesn't necessarily recommend sitting out the season as a precaution. "There's a lot of benefit to playing when he's safe," Cole said. "Whether he has to go 40 minutes, that's a different story. Just getting out there and playing when he's able, that's when his exponential growth is going to come. Lots of athletes go back and play at a very high level but not necessarily initially at the level they were pre-injury." The Bulls were a different team in the playoffs once Rose went down, after going 18-9 without him in the regular season. Making matters worse, they lost center Joakim Noah to a sprained left ankle in Game 3 and fell into a 3-1 hole before injecting some drama back into the series. Besides the injuries to Rose, they were without Richard Hamilton for most of the year because of a variety of ailments. Then, there's All-Star Luol Deng. He played a significant portion of the season with a torn ligament in his left wrist and has said several times that he plans to represent Britain at the Olympics in London. Forman basically sidestepped questions about that, saying, "We want to sit down with him and have that conversation with him and our medical staff. I think it would be premature to speculate on anything until we've had a chance to sit down with him. Obviously, we know it's very, very important to him and we want to support our players. The biggest thing is Luol's health." Forman also said the Bulls will exercise their contract option for next season on coach Tom Thibodeau and will try to negotiate a new deal.

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Redskins will try in-house options to replace Galette

Redskins will try in-house options to replace Galette

RICHMOND—The Redskins are going to go with the younger players on the roster to fill the void left when outside linebacker Junior Galette went out for the season with a torn Achilles. At least that is the plan for now, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Gruden tried to make it clear that the team was not down about the loss of Galette except for feeling bad for the player as a person.

We're upset, obviously, more so for him as an individual,” said Gruden. “Just watching him work, getting ready from the previous injury, how hard he was training, the attitude he came into the building with and the excitement that he was going to bring to this football team only to see it cut short with another Achilles, I'm devastated . . . for him.”

But Gruden said that the organization is taking the proverbial “next man up” approach.

“As far as this football team, injuries are part of the game,” he said. “We have to rebound. We have Ryan Kerrigan, we still have Preston Smith, we have Lyndon Trail, we have some young guys, Houston Bates. They're going to have to fill the void that he so-called would have filled for us. We still have some good pass rushers in here who are going to produce.”

What about the possibility of converting Trent Murphy, who moved from outside linebacker to the defensive line this offseason, back to a linebacker?

“That could happen,” said Gruden. “But there's so much nickel pass rush nowadays, the amount of time we're in a true 3-4 alignment is very slim, about 30 percent now. We have guys that can fill that void, we want to keep Trent inside for now to play defensive end in our nickel and our sub packages.”

In other words, they aren’t going to make any major moves until they have a good idea of what they have in house.

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Strasburg rebounds, Turner shines as Nats top Indians

Strasburg rebounds, Turner shines as Nats top Indians

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 4-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday afternoon at Progressive Field.

How it happened: Having lost six of eight, with their bullpen wilting and their lineup being openly called out by manager Dusty Baker, Wednesday was about as good a time as any for the Nationals to receive a pick-me-up performance from a starting pitcher. That's exactly what they got, as Stephen Strasburg bounced back from an uneven outing to return to his All-Star form and dominate the Indians in the Nats' 4-1 win on a sunny afternoon in the place now known as Believeland.

Strasburg stared down one of baseball's best lineups and came out on top with seven scoreless innings and just three hits allowed. He was the star in the field. At the plate it was Trea Turner who once again clocked in with a well-rounded effort atop their lineup. Turner went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI.

Daniel Murphy added the Nats' other run on his 20th homer of the season. Jayson Werth walked to set a new career-high of 30 consecutive games reaching base. Ryan Zimmerman landed a single for his first hit since returning from the disabled list.

The Indians got their one run off Felipe Rivero in the ninth inning in yet another scary late-game performance by the Nats' bullpen. After getting the first batter out, Rivero issued a walk and then back-to-back singles, the second an RBI knock by Tyler Naquin. That brought Blake Treinen in to record the final two outs and close out the game for his first career save.

The Nats avoided the two-game sweep at Cleveland and now head west to see Denard Span and the San Francisco Giants.

What it means: The Nats snapped a two-game slide just in time before they play the Giants. San Francisco has won seven of their last 11 head-to-head matchups including the 2014 playoffs. The Nats will play four games there, but will not have to face Madison Bumgarner, a good thing for both their lineup and their pitching staff.

Strasburg deals: Strasburg was untouchable on Wednesday afternoon as he baffled an Indians lineup that was mostly seeing him for the first time. He tossed seven scoreless frames with seven strikeouts and two walks on 110 pitches. It was the 18th time in 19 starts this season that Strasburg has gone at least six innings and the fifth time in his last seven starts that he's gone at least seven.

Strasburg earned his 14th win of the season, tied for most in the majors. He stepped off the mound with a 2.68 ERA, which ranks seventh among MLB starters.

Turner shines again: Baker was bought an extra few days with his team playing in an AL park when it comes to who is the odd-man out of their suddenly crowded lineup mix. With Zimmerman back, someone - likely Turner or Ben Revere - eventally has to sit. With the way things have gone over the last week, however, it would be a shock to see Turner be on the bench when they go to San Francisco and return to NL play.

Turner has been impressive when given opportunities this year, but this was his best game. He tied a career-high with three hits and set new career-bests with two doubles and three RBI. His best at-bat came in the top of the second after Revere drew a 12-pitch walk to load the bases with two outs. Turner roped a single to left field to score two runs off Carlos Carrasco. That had to bring a smile to Baker's face, as he recently expressed frustration with his team's two-out approach.

Murphy hits No. 20: Murphy pulled another solo homer to right field, as he's been prone to do. This one came in the sixth inning on Wednesday and put the Nats up 3-0. It was Murphy's 20th of the season, which ties Bryce Harper for most on the team. The Nats have two 20-homer players now after only having one in 2015. Harper, though, did hit 42 by himself last season.

Murphy's home run was his sixth in his last 13 games. He has 19 RBI, 11 runs, eight doubles and a .396 BA (19-for-48) during that span.

Murphy also doubled on Wednesday and now has a 13-game hitting streak, the longest by any Nats player this season. It is the second-longest of Murphy's career, just short of the 14-game streak he had from Sept. of 2013 to April of 2014.

Up next: The Nats move on to San Francisco to take on the Giants, who are currently in first place in the NL West. Tanner Roark (9-6, 3.05) will pitch the opener for Washington opposite NL All-Star Game starter Johnny Cueto (13-2, 2.53).

[RELATED: Nats place Stephen Drew on disabled list]

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Gruden says focus with Kirk Cousins is on football, not contracts

Gruden says focus with Kirk Cousins is on football, not contracts

RICHMOND - Talking for the first time since both sides did not reach a long-term deal, Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he and Kirk Cousins will focus on football, not contracts.

"The contract will take care of itself," Gruden said Wednesday from the Redskins training camp facility.

"We won't have any conversations about the contract, any of his future contracts, any of that stuff. All we're going to focus on is this year and him getting better and being the best quarterback he can possibly be."

Earlier this year, Cousins signed the franchise tag offer from the Redskins, a one-year deal that will pay him nearly $20 million for the 2016 season. The club had until July 15 to work on a long-term deal with their quarterback, but none was reached. Reports showed the sides to be quite far apart in negotiations, but Gruden does not expect the negotiations to have any impact on the season.

Gruden said he knows Cousins intends to focus just on football now that the team is in camp, and with it, heightended expectations.

"He's a great football player, made great strides last year," the coach said of his QB. "We're all excited about it but he's got to continue that progress."

Cousins made significant progress in 2015. Named the Redskins starter in August, Cousins relatively average first half of the season was more than eclipsed by his second half. The Redskins finished the season on a four-game win streak to claim the NFC East title, while the team scored at least 34 points in each of their last three regular season games. Along the way, Cousins 4,166 passing yards set a new franchise record.

Despite the strong finish to 2015, some believe the lack of a long-term deal means questions remain for Cousins.

"He's got a year out of film, people are going to study on him and he's going to have to study other people and prepare himself no differently," Gruden said of Cousins. "We're going to coach him no differently."

Defenses will have year of film on Cousins, yes, but the quarterback now also gets the benefit of being the unquestioned starter throughout an offseason. With contract time now over, COusins and Gruden can get back on the practice field in Richmond and continue their progress throughout training camp.

Asked what he wants Cousins to do now, Gruden was clear: "He's got to get himself ready, his body ready, his mind ready to play a tough NFL season."