After a month-long hiatus for the summer Olympics, the Washington Mystics and the rest of the WNBA returns to action this week with the locals playing at Indiana on Thursday. Depending on one's point of view, the break for the Mystics (4-14) was either: Much needed so the players and coaches could analyze and ponder how best to fix the woes of the first half, one that included three losing streaks of at least four games. Or...Poorly timed seeing as the Mystics closed the first half with a rousing 70-53 win at New York, their largest margin of victory on the season.Sure, you can point to the latter position with some legitimacy, but the overall ills during those initial 18 games cannot be denied. Slow starts were a repeat offender; Washington did not own a lead at the end of the first quarter until the 13th game of the season. Spotty point guard play certainly did not help generate consistent early offense.The one constant on offense and on the boardsremains forward Crystal Langhorne, who topped the team in points (16.6) and matched Michelle Snow with a team-high 6.7 rebounds. The former University of Maryland star combined with DC native Monique Currie for 40 points in the victory over New York and tallied 22 points and 13 rebounds in the Mystics stunning 67-66 win over the Fever (10-7) on June 15.Overall the Mystics offense has been stagnant and simply lacking, averaging a league-low 69 points per game. Currie (10.6) is the only other playing averaging double figures, Matee Ajavon (9.2) is averaging nearly five points a game fewer than she did last season, sinking only 32 percent of her shots. The real issue for coach Trudi Lacey's squad offensively comes with those directing traffic. Free agent signee Dominque Canty went from starting point guardto waived after only five games. Second-year guard and former first-round pick Jasmine Thomas is still transitioning into a floor leader role and the growing pains are evident at times.In-season pick-up Shannon Bobbitt became a 5-foot-3 sparkplug for a while, but she failed to tally a single point in four of her last five games. Natasha Lacy also received time, but nothing stuck. Even if the losses continue to mount, letting Thomas and 2012 first-rounder Natalie Novosel take control of the backcourt at some point could be Lacey's best path.Indiana, led by Olympic Gold medalist and small forward Tamika Catchings, ended the first half in second place behindEastern Conference leading Connecticut. Catchings paces the Fever in points (18.2), rebounds (7.4) and steals (2.0), though the do-everything star missed 10 of 14 shots in the June loss to the Mystics. The two sides square off three times over the final five-plus weeks of the regular season including twice in Indiana where the Fever are 6-3.Meanwhile the Mystics lost seven of eight road games with the win at New York representing the only triumph away from the Verizon Center. Seeing as they open the second half playing six of eight on the road, the Mystics better hope they remembered that winning formula.
The Redskins may have a roster hole to fill at center and according to a report they are set to sign a veteran to do the job.
The Redskins are going to sign John Sullivan, who was the Vikings’ starting center from 2009 through 2014, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. The 31-year-old Sullivan missed all of 2015 with a back injury and the Vikings released him on August 30 of this year.
Per another NFL media report, starting center Kory Lichtensteiger may have to go on injured reserve due to a calf injury he sustained against the Giants on Sunday. Jay Gruden described Lichtensteiger’s situation as “week to week” during his press conference on Monday.
The Redskins will have to make a roster move when the do sign Sullivan, whether it’s Lichtensteiger to IR or something else.
If Lichtensteiger does go on injured reserve it will be the second consecutive year on the shelf for him. He suffered a neck and shoulder injury last year that had him on IR for eight weeks before he returned.
Due to the new injured reserve rules, Lichtensteiger would be eligible to return to the roster after missing eight weeks. The team does not have to designate anyone to return in advance but they can make only one such move during the season.
Injuries racked the Redskins on Sunday, none more severe than the torn ACL sustained by safety DeAngelo Hall. His injury, along with the ankle injury to Bashaud Breeland, leaves the secondary with some holes, and coach Jay Gruden said Monday that the team will look to bring in some players to help.
"We’ll probably need another one for depth purposes," Gruden said of a secondary player.
Enter Josh Evans, a sixth-round pick out of Florida that played the last three years with the Jaguars.
In light of DeAngelo Hall injury, Redskins working out former Jaguars safety Josh Evans— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 27, 2016
In 36 starts for the Jags, Evans piled up 145 tackles to go with five passes defensed and three fumble recoveries. Evans also has good size at 6-foot-1, 207 lbs., a trait Scot McCloughan likes in his secondary. One more thing working for Evans: versatility. He played both strong and free safety positions in Jacksonville.
A workout does not mean a signing, and with the Redskins having to juggle moves along the offensive line in addition to the secondary, there could be a lot of players in and out of Ashburn this week and the coming weeks.