Venus, Kastles face Capitals in WTT Finals


Venus, Kastles face Capitals in WTT Finals

Venus Williams isn't retiring anytime soon. She curtly addressed the issue in a pre-match interview, but cemented her staying power on the court versus the New York Sportimes in the World Team Tennis Eastern Conference finals.With the score tied at 14 all, heading into the last event, Williams proved why she was a master of her craft. After Ashley Harkleroad broke her to lead 1-0, Venus regained her focus and armed with her serve cruised through the next 5 games, leading the Kastles to a 19-15 victory.The victory allowed the Kastles to extend their win streak to 31 consecutive matches, clench the Eastern Conference title, but most importantly land a spot in the World Team Tennis finals. It marks the Kastles third trip to the finals in the past four years.Williams now has an opportunity to win one of the few titles that has eluded the star during her illustrious career.
On why the Kastles have been so successful, Venus simply said, "because we are the dream team!"While the Kastles were able to edge their rivals, the Sacramento Capitals could prove just as tough in the finals. Washington survived the Capitals in the regular season 21-19 and the Capitals are coming off a solid performance as they swept all 5 sets to beat the Orange County Breakers, 25-15 Friday night in the Western Conference finals.
The Caps will be without marque player Sam Querrey, who is representing the U.S. team in Davis Cup action, but will be joined by Coco Vandeweghe. Vandeweghe is starting to make some noise on the circuit having had a solid run in the Bank of the West Classic, eventually falling to Serena Williams in the finals; 7-5, 6-3. The Kastles are now one win away from completing a second consecutive 16-0 season, which would also draw them within one of the longest winning streak in major U.S. pro sports history. The Los Angeles Lakers won 33 straight NBA games in 1971-72.The Kastles will seek to add to their 2009 and 2011 WTT titles when they meet the Sacramento Capitals this afternoon at 3:30 pm live on NBC Sports Network.

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Tests on Ian Mahinmi's right knee 'came back clean' for Wizards

Tests on Ian Mahinmi's right knee 'came back clean' for Wizards

The Wizards appear to have dodged a bullet with Ian Mahinmi after getting a second MRI on his right knee Friday, but the process for his return has been slowed. 

"Got an MRI," coach Scott Brooks said after practice. "Came back clean. Still experiencing soreness. He'll rest up for a week or so and in the meantime continue treatments and rehab and see how he feels until then. The good news is he showed no structural damage or anything like that."

Mahinmi has played in just one game, Nov. 26, for 14 minutes after returning from surgery to repair cartilage in his left knee. The next day, he experienced discomfort in his right knee. 

"We're anxious to have him on the court and get him back with us," Brooks said after Mahinmi's second MRI on the knee. "We want to be cautions and safe and make sure when he does come back he's at his best."

Mahinmi had been doing some practices and individual work since the flare up and has been day-to-day or questioanble with his right knee. His absences have resulted in starting center Marcin Gortat, who is averaging a career-high 35.4 minutes per game. 

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Injured guard Lewis makes surprise return to practice

Injured guard Lewis makes surprise return to practice

Ravens offensive guard Alex Lewis returned to practice on Friday, almost a month to the day after he suffered a right ankle injury against the Cleveland Browns.

Lewis’ recovery is ahead of schedule, considering coach John Harbaugh initially estimated the high ankle sprain to be a six-week injury. Even as recently as Monday, Harbaugh said Lewis was “a good ways away” from returning.

“He’s done a great job” on his rehabilitation, Harbaugh said after Friday’s workout, adding that Lewis has been at it “practically 24/7. …  To see him back out there today is a real plus. Credit to him.”

Lewis was carted off the field when the injury occurred, leading some to speculate his promising rookie season could be over.

“We’ve been in there working, trying to get treatment, trying to back out there as quick as I can,” Lewis said on Friday. “I want to be part of the fun. I want to get out there and win some games with the fellas.”

Lewis is unlikely to suit up Monday night at New England, and his role after that remains unclear; Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda has taken Lewis’ spot at left guard, in large part because it allows Yanda to play through an injured shoulder.

Lewis was the Ravens starting left guard when the season began, and then started three games at left tackle while Ronnie Stanley was injured. The Ravens went through a stretch where they started a different offensive line in eight straight games, but have now found some consistency with an offensive line group that has not included Lewis.

Yanda is likely to stay at left guard, and veteran Vladimir Ducasse has filled Yanda’s spot at right guard.

Presumably Lewis would be an option to play on the right side, although he said he not played right guard since high school.

“If that’s my calling card, then I’ll do it,” he said.

Harbaugh said given the injuries the Ravens have had up front this year, having a surplus of healthy linemen would be a nice problem to have.

“(Lewis) being added to the mix is going to be a plus,” he said. “We’ll just have to see how it goes as we go forward.”

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