RG3 injury: Knee surgery scheduled for Robert Griffin III
(ABC)–Robert Griffin III, the Washington Redskins rookie sensation who dazzled the sports world in 2012, is going under the knife Wednesday morning, reports say.
Griffin is having surgery to repair a torn LCL in his right knee, according to multiple reports. A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that the procedure was expected to last about two hours Wednesday morning.
The person said orthopedist James Andrews planned to repair a torn lateral collateral ligament and examine the state of Griffin’s ACL.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Redskins have not made an announcement about the latest details surrounding the rookie quarterback’s injury.
“It’s hard you definitely don’t want to see a young guy who is so dynamic… Franchise player of our organization,” said Redskins teammate Lorenzo Alexander.
Fans are left wondering if the extent of RGIII’s injuries were kept a secret; early in the season, the Redskins were fined for releasing misinformation about Griffin’s concussion. Then, there were the conflicting reports about whether Andrews had cleared the quarterback to play after suffering a severely sprained knee against the Baltimore Ravens.
“I think they’ve got one goal, and that goal is to win, and they look at the health of that person and determine is he best to win the game, is he in the position injured or not,” said sports marketing senior vice president David Schwab.
Griffin tweeted words of thanks to the organization and his fans early Wednesday morning, “Thank you for your prayers and support. I love God, my family, my team, the fans, & I love this game. See you guys next season.”
Ravens beat Colts 24-9 in AFC wild card, Ray Lewis’ last home game
(ABC)–Ray Lewis’ last ride now will take him to Denver.
Anquan Boldin, Joe Flacco and a staunch Baltimore defense made sure of that Sunday.
Boldin set a franchise record with 145 yards receiving, including the clinching touchdown in the Ravens’ 24-9 victory over Andrew Luck and Indianapolis in an AFC wild-card game.
The win delays star linebacker Lewis’ retirement for at least another week as Baltimore (11-6) heads to Denver next Saturday.
The Broncos beat the Ravens 34-17 three weeks ago.
“I wanted Denver,” Boldin said. “Because they beat us.”
Lewis, who made 13 tackles, even lined up at fullback for the final kneel-down in his last home game of a 17-year career. He then went into a short version of his trademark dance before being mobbed by teammates.
He followed with a victory lap, his right arm, covered by a brace, held high in salute to the fans after playing for the first time since tearing his right triceps on Oct. 14 against Dallas.
“My only focus was to come in and get my team a win. Nothing else was planned,” the 37-year-old Lewis said. “It’s one of those things, when you recap it all and try to say what is one of your greatest moments. I knew how it started but I never knew how it would end here in Baltimore. To go the way it did today, I wouldn’t change nothing.”
The loss ended the Colts’ turnaround season in which they went from 2-14 to the playoffs in coach Chuck Pagano’s first year in Indianapolis (11-6). Pagano missed 12 weeks while undergoing treatment for leukemia and returned last week.
Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who went 9-3 as interim coach, was absent Sunday after being hospitalized with an undisclosed illness. Quarterback coach Clyde Christensen called the plays, but Baltimore’s suddenly revitalized defense – inspired by Lewis’ pending retirement, no doubt – never let standout rookie QB Luck get comfortable.
Sunday’s victory enhanced the Ravens’ success rate in opening playoff games. Flacco now has won at least one postseason game in all five of his pro seasons, the only quarterback to do it in the Super Bowl era.
His main target Sunday was Boldin, who had receptions of 50 and 46 yards, plus his 18-yard TD on a floater from Flacco in the corner of the end zone with 9:14 to go.
“I told (Flacco) before the game I was going to get 200 yards,” Boldin said with a chuckle.
“It’s huge for us. It’s huge for this city, they’ve supported us this entire year and they expect a lot from us. In return, we want to give it to them.”
Baltimore overcame the first two lost fumbles of the season by Ray Rice, too, as John Harbaugh became the first head coach with wins in his first five playoff campaigns.
Backup halfback Bernard Pierce rescued Rice with a 43-yard burst that led to Boldin’s touchdown, and ran for 103 yards.
Flacco also connected with Dennis Pitta for a 20-yard TD and rookie Justin Tucker made a 23-yard field goal.
Indy’s only points came on three field goals by Adam Vinatieri, from 47, 52 and 26 yards. Luck completed 28 of 54 passes for 288 yards. It was the most attempts by a rookie in a playoff game.
Reggie Wayne had 108 yards on eight receptions and moved into second in career playoff catches with 91 – 60 behind leader Jerry Rice. But the Colts, who moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984 – they still are despised here – became the second NFL team to improve to 11 wins following a two-win season and then lose in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Ravens also beat the 2008 Dolphins in a similar scenario.
Both teams were sloppy early on, with Rice losing a fumble, Lewis dropping a potential interception, and Luck being stripped of the ball on a sack.
But Rice atoned with a 47-yard gain on a screen pass, leading to Vonta Leach’s 2-yard touchdown.
That Pro Bowl backfield was bolstered by the kick returns of another Pro Bowl player, Jacoby Jones. He gained 60 yards on kickoff runbacks and 57 on punt returns.
Vinatieri, familiar with big kicks in the playoffs after winning two Super Bowls for New England with field goals, made a 47-yarder in the second quarter, a 52-yarder as the first half expired, and a 26-yarder near the end of the third period. But he also missed a 40-yarder wide right.
‘Prettiest One’ Ovechkin Back On Ice With Capitals
(CBS)–Alex Ovechkin is back with the Washington Capitals, having made a quick return from Russia once he heard about the end of the NHL lockout.
Ovechkin was on the ice with nine other Capitals players Tuesday morning for an informal skate. The team can’t hold official practices until the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified.
Ovechkin then changed into a T-shirt that read, in Russian: “Am I really the prettiest one here, again?”
Ovechkin got engaged to tennis player Maria Kirilenko during the lockout. He was so pessimistic about the NHL labor talks that he thought he’d be spending the entire season playing in Moscow.
He says the first couple of games back in the U.S. might be hard as he gets used to a new coach and smaller rink.
FedEx Field surface comes under fire
(FOX)–Pete Carroll says the ”field” in FedEx Field is ”horrible.”
Mike Shanahan doesn’t go that far, but he agrees the grass isn’t always greener at the Washington Redskins stadium.
The playing surface was a mess when Seattle Seahawks beat the Redskins on Sunday in the NFC wild card playoffs. There were plenty of bare spots, and dirt was flying with many of the steps taken between the hash marks. Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III and Seattle defensive end Chris Clemons left the game with knee injuries.
”It was horrible,” Seahawks coach Carroll told 710 ESPN Seattle. ”It’s a horrible field. It’s as bad as a field can get for being dry. It’s too bad. It really is. It’s too bad. We deserve better. … It just was worn out. There was a lot of slipping and all that kind of stuff. It’s relative. It didn’t change the game at all in my opinion because it’s relative to both sides. We should just expect to see a better field at that time of year.”
The field has looked scraggly for much of a season that was front-loaded with extra events, including college football games and a Kenny Chesney concert.
”You’d like a perfect field, and it wasn’t a perfect field, we all know that,” Redskins coach Shanahan said.
Shanahan said putting down a new sod in midseason might not have worked. He said he’s seen new sods in San Francisco and Denver that didn’t work out.
”If you do sod right, a lot of times it’s good,” Shanahan said. ”I really thought the field was OK because I didn’t see people slipping during the game. … Therefore I don’t think there’s an advantage one way or a disadvantage one way.”
NFL rules say the home team must certify prior to each game that the playing field meets certain conditions. There is a list of requirements, including an ”Impact Hardness Test.”
Carroll was more diplomatic when he met with reporters later Monday. He said there was a ”lot of loose footing” in the game, but he said he didn’t know if it contributed to Clemons’ injury.
”It’s cool to have the different stadiums have their own uniqueness about it,” Carroll said. ”But there is a point where I think it makes sense that it should be somewhat standardized that it should be equal for everyone, and obviously safety is at the top of everyone’s mind in the league.”
Shanahan said he’d be open to the idea of an artificial surface, but that he likes natural grass.
”We have that here, but for some reason here it’s just not working as well,” he said. ”Anyway, we’ll try to address that for next year.”
Oprah to Interview Lance Armstrong About Doping Allegations
The interview will air next week
(NBC)–Lance Armstrong has agreed to a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey where he will address allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career.
According to a release posted on Oprah’s website on Tuesday, it’s the first interview with Armstrong since his athletic career crumbled under the weight of a massive report by USADA detailing allegations of drug use by the famous cyclist and teammates on his U.S. Postal Service teams.
It’s unclear if the interview at Armstrong’s home in Austin, Texas, has already been taped. Nicole Nichols, a spokeswoman for Oprah Winfrey Network & Harpo Studios, declined comment.
The show will air at 9 p.m. EST on Jan. 17 on OWN and Oprah.com.
Armstrong has strongly denied the doping charges that led to him being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, but The New York Times reported Friday he has told associates he is considering admitting the use of PEDS.
The newspaper report cited anonymous sources, and Armstrong attorney Tim Herman told The Associated Press that night that he had no knowledge of Armstrong considering a confession.
Earlier Tuesday, “60 Minutes Sports” reported the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency told the show a representative for Armstrong offered the agency a “donation” in excess of $150,000 several years before an investigation by the organization led to the loss of Armstrong’s Tour de France titles.
In an interview for the premiere airing on Showtime on Wednesday night, USADA CEO Travis Tygart said he was “stunned” when he received the offer in 2004.
“It was a clear conflict of interest for USADA,” Tygart said. “We had no hesitation in rejecting that offer.”
Herman denied such an offer was made.
“No truth to that story,” Herman wrote Tuesday in an email to the AP. “First Lance heard of it was today. He never made any such contribution or suggestion.”
Tygart was traveling and did not respond to requests from the AP for comment. USADA spokeswoman Annie Skinner said Tygart’s comments from the interview were accurate. In it, he reiterates what he told the AP last fall: That he was surprised when federal investigators abruptly shut down their two-year probe into Armstrong and his business dealings, then refused to share any of the evidence they had gathered.
“You’ll have to ask the feds why they shut down,” Tygart told the AP. “They enforce federal criminal laws. We enforce sports anti-doping violations. They’re totally separate. We’ve done our job.”