After two games away from the Verizon Center, the reeling WashingtonMystics return home for a Friday night contestagainst the New York Liberty.Here is what you to know about the Eastern Conference tiltand what the Mystics are up against as they try to snap a three-game losing streak.The matchup: The Mystics (1-4) host the Liberty (2-5), winners of two straight, but losers of fiveconsecutive games in Washington. New York opened with a franchise-record five-game losing streak and had some WNBA observers labeling them the league's worst team before finding a winning formula. However, both of those victories came at home. Beyond simply being winless on the road, the Liberty lost all three games by an average of 21.3 points. New York's issues have been on the defensive end as opponents score 83 points per game, 10 more than the Washington is allowing. If there is such a thing as a must win game this early in the season, this might be it for the Mystics. After the Liberty, they face the 4-1 Indiana Fever before heading out west for a brutalthree-game road swing.Last time out: On the positive side, Washington matched a franchise record for points in a single quarter, scoring 36 in the fourth against with Connecticut. But...the Mystics allowed the Sun to pile up 35 points over those final 10 minutes in a 94-86 loss. The Mystics cut down on their turnovers and used the extra possessions to feed All-Star forward Crystal Langhorne, who finished with a season-high 25 points. Once again, the Sun did the visitors one better as center Tina Charles dropped in 30 points.Jasmine Thomas:Mystics coach has been searching for an answer at point guard throughout the season - well, really, since Lindsay Harding pushed for a trade after the 2010 campaign. Perhaps a new plan of attack can be centered around the hot shooting Thomas, It's at least worth consideration afterlast year's first round pick-in 16 minutes - tallied 17 points, two assists and three steals. Over the last two games, Thomas is shooting a stellar 75 percent (8 of 12) from the field.Washington's fourth leading scorer (7.4) on the season despite playing less than 14 minutes per game, the former Oakton High School star is knocking down a team-high 54.5 percent (6 of 11) from beyond the arc. Lacey needs a distributor more than a scorer at the point and Thomas has that in her game; she finished with over 400 assists at Duke. Right now, any consistent production will do. Milestone: Langhorne grabbed five rebounds against the Sun, including number 1,000 of her five-year career. Capping Pondexter: It may not be as simple as saying "stop Cappie Pondexter, stop the Liberty" - but it's a good start. After failing to score 20 points during any of New York's losses, the assertive guard topped that mark in the two victories, averaging 25.5 points. Pondexter, who finished sixth in scoring (17.4) last season, will see plenty of her former Rutgers teammate Matee Ajavon on the defensive end.
Redskins tight end Jordan Reed, who is in the NFL concussion protocol, has been cleared to return to practice, but he still has some hurdles to clear before being declared ready for game action.
During his Monday news conference Gruden said that Reed, who has missed the last two games with a concussion diagnosed two days after the team’s game against the Ravens on October 9, would practice with the team when preparations resumed on Monday.
However, that doesn’t mean that he will play on Sunday, when the Redskins face the Bengals in London. Reed still has to clear the concussion protocol and his participation in a game is subject to the approval of an independent neurologist.
Reed did participate in practice on a limited basis last Wednesday. But he was held out Thursday and Friday and was declared out for the game on the injury report.
So while the news that he will practice is encouraging as far as his chances of playing against Cincinnati it very much remains to be seen if it will happen.
It looked bad. Third quarter, Lions QB Matthew Stafford goes deep to wide receiver Marvin Jones with Josh Norman hanging on in coverage. Jones and Norman lept for the ball, Jones caught it, Norman's head whipped to the Ford Field turf.
Few were surprised when Norman stayed laying on the field, or when he was escorted directly to the locker room after the play by Washington's medical staff. Diagnosed with a concussion at the stadium, now things get tricky for Norman and the Redskins.
The NFL's concussion protocol requires a series of steps be cleared before a player can return to practice, then another series of steps to play in a game. So far this season, Su'a Cravens and Jordan Reed have sustained concussions for Washington, and neither player made it back inside a week.
Further complicating matters for Norman, the Redskins will practice at their Ashburn facility until Thursday before boarding an overnight flight to London for Sunday's game against Cincinatti. While there are obviously plenty of doctors in London, it's unknown if any are a part of the NFL concussion protocol and are able to clear Norman for the game should he be ready.
"Thursday he'll have to be cleared, otherwise we will have to play without Josh Norman," Jay Gruden said Monday.
On top of all that? How about A.J. Green.
The Bengals star wideout already has 775 receving yards on the season, and on Sunday posted one of the more ridiculous TD catches that will happen all season. It would be hard to envision a scenario where the Redskins staff would not match Green up against Norman.
That is, if the cornerback gets cleared.
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