Virginia guard Evans could be sidelined for opener

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Virginia guard Evans could be sidelined for opener

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Virginia could be without point guard Jontel Evans when it opens the season at George Mason.

Evans, the Cavaliers' lone scholarship senior, suffered a stress fracture in his right foot while in practice in late September and had surgery Oct. 2. Evans says he expects to be back in about six weeks.

The Cavaliers will also be without Malcolm Brogdon, who can also play point guard, while he rehabs from foot surgery last March. Brogdon says he's not sure when he will be cleared to play.

Evans started all 32 games last season as the Cavaliers reached the NCAA tournament. He was an ACC All-Defensive selection, averaged 7.3 points and led the team with 124 assists and 50 steals.

Virginia plays at George Mason on Nov. 9.

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Joe Ross takes step forward in Nats' win over Diamondbacks

Joe Ross takes step forward in Nats' win over Diamondbacks

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 5-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park.

How it happened: The Nationals beat the Diamondbacks on Thursday and in doing so took another important step towards locking up home field advantage in the NL Division Series against the L.A. Dodgers. But just as pertinent, if not more, were the little things the Nats accomplished in the victory, minor developments that bode well for October.

In Thursday's win, they checked off two important boxes - if you will - that would count as positive signs no matter the final result of the game. One was the leap forward starter Joe Ross took in building his workload. The other was an impressive offensive outing by catcher Pedro Severino, who will now be on the playoff roster as Jose Lobaton's backup with Wilson Ramos done for the season.

Ross stretched out to 90 pitches, the most he's thrown since injuring his right shoulder in a July 2 start against the Reds. He only made it four innings, but making sure he can handle a full start come playoff time is highly important for a team already missing Stephen Strasburg, and with concerns about Gio Gonzalez' ability to go deep in his own start.

Ross may have even showed enough to take Gonzalez' spot in Game 3, depending on what the Nats are looking for in these final games. With one run allowed, he was better than Gonzalez was on Wednesday, and that's despite beginning his day with 32 pitches in the first inning alone.

Severino's highlight was a solo home run to left field in the third inning, a game-tying bomb off Arizona starter Robbie Ray. That got the Nats started in what turned into an all-around offensive effort. Fellow rookie Wilmer Difo also homered, the first of his career. Michael Taylor had three hits, one to drive in two runs.

Anthony Rendon remained hot with a single, a walk and a run. Ryan Zimmerman did the same. Jayson Werth walked and scored. 

Lefty Sean Burnett took over for Ross and got two quick outs, one on a strikeout. He has a 1.80 ERA through nine appearances. Reynaldo Lopez took over for him and was strong through most of his outing, until he gave up a two-run homer to Socrates Brito with one out in the ninth. Lopez finished with two runs allowed in 3 2/3 innings.

The Diamondbacks got their lone run off Ross in the third inning. That was on a single by Jake Lamb, one of three Ross allowed in the frame.

The Nationals got back in the win column and earned a series split against the Diamondbacks.

What it means: The Nationals moved to 93-66 on the season and dropped their magic number to secure home field against the Dodgers to just two games. 

Severino hits No. 2: Severino has only played in 14 games this season, but his impact on offense has been hard to ignore. He's now 8-for-24 (.333) with two homers, four RBI, five walks and five runs. He has a 1.092 OPS. Again, it's a very small sample size, but the Nationals don't need him to produce for months at a time. They just need him to keep swinging it well for a few more weeks. That would go a long way to offset the loss of Ramos.

[RELATED: Wilson Ramos hopes to be back with Nationals]

Difo's first homer: For Difo to make the playoff roster, it would likely require an injury like the one that paved the way for Severino. But the rookie should feel good about the way he's played this season in the opportunities he's been given. Through 28 games this year, Difo is batting .288/.362/.404 with 11 runs, six RBI and six walks. He also made a brilliant diving grab to end the top of the sixth and save a run with Lopez on the mound.

Turner cooling down: With his 0-for-4 effort against Arizona, Trea Turner is now hitting just .214 (9-for-42) in his last 10 games with 10 strikeouts during that stretch. He entered Thursday with a seven-game hitting streak, but because he doesn't draw walks often, his on-base percentage is just .227 in those 10 games. The Nats need him to get back on track before the playoffs, especially given they will be facing tough lefties like Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill without Ramos, who is arguably their best right-handed bat.

Up next: The Nats move on their final series of the regular season, a three-game set with the Miami Marlins in town. Rookie A.J. Cole (1-2, 5.09) will start that one, unless he drops his suspension appeal. And for the Marlins, it will be right-hander Andrew Cashner (5-11, 5.13).

[RELATED: Matt Belisle sounds like safe bet for Nats playoff roster]

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Bradley Beal must clear these concussion protocol steps before practicing again

Bradley Beal must clear these concussion protocol steps before practicing again

RICHMOND, Va. -- The best part of the injury news Thursday about Bradley Beal, who is entering the first year of a $128 million contract, is that it has nothing to do with his lower right leg. But he is in the NBA's concussion protocol.

"He took an elbow to the head. Has a mild conscussion," coach Scott Brooks said of the incident that took place Wednesday. "NBA protocol is 48 hours. Spoke to him this morning, he's feeling a lot better so I'll see how he feels tomorrow."

Beal missed time last season after he was struck in the face by Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics on Jan. 25. He left the floor of that 116-91 loss with a broken nose and a concussion and didn't travel with the team for their next game at the Toronto Raptors. 

MORE WIZARDS: 'THESE ARE MY BROTHERS TO ME'

Beal apparently was struck in the side of the head by center Ian Mahinmi with an elbow and was held out immediately after the incident. 

For the third day in a row, John Wall (knee surgeries) did most of the drills in practice but didn't participate in 5-on-5 drills. 

"We scrimmaged a lot today. We pushed it a little bit to see what their conditioning would be," Brooks said. "I thought they handled it."

For Beal to practice again, he has to get through the protocol:

  • Must be sympton-free
  • Must be evaulated by a physician
  • Must successfully go thorugh increased exertion -- stationary bike, jogging, non-contact drills -- without symptoms
  • Physician must consult Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher before allowing a return to participation with the decision being made by the Wizards