Giants star WR could return as soon as today

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Giants star WR could return as soon as today

From Comcast SportsNet
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has been taken off the physically unable to perform list by the New York Giants and can start practicing with the team. The Super Bowl champions made the move Monday after Nicks passed his physical. The four-year veteran will be limited for his first three workouts. His first could be Tuesday. "I'm very excited about that," Nicks said. "They're letting me know that by the beginning of next week, I can start doing some stuff with the team; some individual and stuff like that. They still want me to take it slow and be smart about it. But I feel good about being out there progressing myself with the team slowly but surely." Nicks missed the first two weeks of training camp at the University at Albany while completing rehabilitation on a broken right foot that he hurt in May during Organized Team Activities. Last week, he started running some pass patterns for trainers and felt good. Nicks fractured the fifth metatarsal of his right foot on May 24. He had a screw surgically inserted into the broken bone the next day. A first-round draft pick in 2009, Nicks caught 76 passes for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He was outstanding in the playoffs, catching 28 passes for 444 yards (a 15.9 yard average) and four touchdowns. Nicks hopes to be ready for the Giants' season opener against Dallas on Sept. 5. "This is an indication that we're right where we should be," Nicks said. "We're on schedule. There have been no setbacks. I'm just going to take it one step at a time and be out there catching passes from Eli (Manning) and eventually get our timing back." The Giants still have three players on the PUP list: defensive tackle Chris Canty, tight end Travis Beckum and linebacker Clint Sintim. New York will have its final training camp practice Tuesday. The players have off Wednesday and then practice will be held Thursday at the team's headquarters in East Rutherford, N.J. They face the Jets in a preseason game on Saturday.

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The NHL's explaination for why the Malkin goal was not overturned and why they are wrong

The NHL's explaination for why the Malkin goal was not overturned and why they are wrong

A crazy second period got a little more insane late with a disputed go-ahead goal from Evgeni Malkin. After Pittsburgh Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist slid into Philipp Grubauer on the goal, Barry Trotz challenged the play for goalie interference.

The challenge was unsuccessful.

The NHL released an explanation of the call:

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee confirmed that the actions of Washington's Daniel Winnik caused Pittsburgh's Patric Hornqvist to contact Grubauer before the puck crossed the goal line. The decision was made in accordance with Note 2 of Rule 78.7 (ii) which states, in part, that the goal on the ice should be allowed because "the attacking Player was pushed, shoved or fouled by a defending Player causing the attacking Player to come into contact with the goalkeeper."

Therefore the original call stands - good goal Pittsburgh Penguins.

You can view the play in the video above.

None of this explanation is incorrect. Winnik trips Hornqvist which causes him to slide into Grubauer. But from my point of view, it's not the trip that's the issue.

As Hornqvist slides into Grubauer, he clearly — and seemingly intentionally — hits and pushes Grubauer's pad with his stick. Unless the rule means that a player can legally do whatever he wants to a goalie so long as he was pushed into him (which we all know is not the case), this goal should have been called back for goalie interference.

RELATED: Eller pulls the Caps even at 5

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Kelly Oubre shows signs of development on both ends vs. Blazers

Kelly Oubre shows signs of development on both ends vs. Blazers

The development of a talent as raw and intriguing as Wizards forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. rarely happens overnight. Usually it's small steps along the way that ultimately add up to a finished product. On Monday afternoon against the Portland Trail Blazers, there were two things Oubre did that may qualify as significant signs of progress.

First, on the offensive end. The Wizards blew out the Blazers after getting off to a scorching hot start in the first quarter. They scored 37 points in the first and 75 in the first half, both season-highs. Oubre helped lead that charge with 10 points of his own in the first quarter on 2-of-3 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 from the line.

He kept it going in the second quarter with a bucket just over a minute in that saw him go around Evan Turner with a crossover. Oubre went right, dribbled behind his back and got to the rim where he finished with contact. 

Oubre, 21, has shown this season he can knock down threes, finish on the fastbreak and scrap for putbacks in the lane. But beating a man off the dribble is a sign of young player growing more confident in his ability to put the ball on the floor.

"He's working on it. He knows that's not his greatest strength," guard Bradley Beal said. "Now he's perfecting it a little bit. He's using it to his advantage. He understands that he's knocking down more threes, so teams are going to run him off the line. He knows that he can now use his athleticism to get to the basket versus having to force up a tough one. He's got a pretty good package going for him. His three-ball is falling and he's starting to put it on the floor, which is even better."

[RELATED: Head-to-head: Wall and Beal best Lillard and McCollum]

Oubre finished with 18 points, just one off of the career-high he set against Bucks on Dec. 10. He finished 5-of-8 from the field, 3-of-4 from three and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. His three threes matched a career-best.

But defense is where Oubre may have taken another step on Monday. Sensing he has a player with unique versatility on the defensive end, head coach Scott Brooks decided to deploy Oubre on Blazers superstar guard Damian Lillard in the second quarter. 

Oubre helped limit Lillard to just 6-of-17 shooting and his contribution was the product of something Brooks had wanted to experiment with.

"Kelly did a great job of getting in his handle and making sure that he didn't get anything easy when Kelly was guarding him in that second quarter," Brooks said.

"I'm definitely exploring it. I'm just trying to find ways that he can impact the game defensively... when he's locked in, he can guard multiple positions. I've been trying to experiment to throw some more point guard responsibilities on him defensively. Nothing against the other guys. It just gives a bigger player on a scoring point guard. I thought he was really good on Lillard."

[RELATED: Beal: "Our fans are awesome and we feed off of their energy"]

With more minutes offered, Oubre has helped improve the Wizards defensively this season. Brooks has often gone with lineups featuring both Oubre and Otto Porter along with John Wall and Beal. He feels those four can easily switch between guarding multiple positions.

This strategy took that to another level. Now Oubre was being asked to guard the smallest and fastest guy on the team.

"I can guard whoever on the court, honestly. That’s how I feel. Whoever they ask me to guard I’m going to guard them, take the challenge and have fun with it," he said. "Just staying down on his pump fakes, making it tough for him, using my length to disturb him and just making sure I keep him in front of me because he’s one of the quickest guards in the league. I think I did a solid job of that."

Oubre won't figure it all out in one afternoon against a struggling team, of course. But his teammates and coaches have pointed out certain times this season where it was obvious to him that he was showing improvement. Monday was one of those times.

"He's steady growing. He's constantly turning into what we want him to be and the kid that we drafted him to be. We just need him to continue to be aggressive," Beal said. 

"I think the biggest thing is that he's definitely transitioned with his humility. He's grounded. He's always wanting to get better. He works hard and it's showing on the floor."

[RELATED: 5 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Blazers]