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Mayfield Jersey
08-14-2018, 09:21 AM
Post: #1
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鈥?The Green Bay Packers stayed afloat in the postseason race while hoping for nearly two months that Aaron Rodgers would return.News that the two-time NFL MVP was cleared medically to come back from a collarbone injury finally arrived Tuesday night Donte Jackson Panthers Jersey , coming a bit later than coach Mike McCarthy hoped 鈥?but well worth the wait for the playoff-hopeful Packers.Rodgers is in line to start this weekend against the Carolina Panthers.“The strength and the flexibility came back the quickest,” Rodgers said after practice Wednesday. “It was just waiting on the bone to be ready to play.”That clearance finally came on Tuesday night. He didn’t want to go into detail about how much his surgically repaired collarbone had healed.He’s aware of the risks.“Well, we’ve talked about everything, and I’m confident knowing all the information. That’s why I’m going to play,” Rodgers said.So it’s back to a normal week of preparation for the quarterback after making what McCarthy had considered great progress in rehab since getting hurt against Minnesota on Oct. 15. At the time, the Packers warned that the injury could have ended Rodgers’ season.The Packers (7-6) went 3-4 with backup Brett Hundley starting to stay in the playoff race, including a 27-21 victory in overtime last week over Cleveland. They are one of four teams with at least seven wins chasing Atlanta for the second wild-card berth in the NFC.The path to the playoffs remains tough. But Rodgers’ return gives an emotional boost to a locker room that has already drawn confidence from two straight overtime victories.“It’s great having him back, but if the decision went the other way, it’s still status quo 鈥?we still have to win these next three games,” left tackle David Bakhtiari said. “But obviously having one of the greatest players in the game right now makes us better as a football team.”Rodgers is eligible to be activated Friday, eight weeks after initially going on injured reserve. But the preparation has already started. McCarthy said there would be extra individual work in practice.“I feel confident I will be able to go out there and play the way I’ve always played, but I’ve been off for seven games and been out for a while,” Rodgers said. “So it’s going to take getting out there, getting that first pass Cheap Calvin Ridley Jersey , getting that first hit, and I’ll probably settle in.”Rodgers, though, has looked good throwing the ball in brief periods when he has been before cameras, including pregame in Pittsburgh before the 31-28 loss to the Steelers on Nov. 26.He returned to practice on what McCarthy called a “trial return” on Dec. 2, and led the scout team last week. The collarbone was scanned on Monday to determine he was ready to return.The Packers are known for their conservative approach in dealing with injuries. Rodgers is known for his competitiveness.“They laid out the gantlet of what needed to be done, he ran through it,” McCarthy said of the medical staff’s evaluation of Rodgers.“You have to trust the people, the expertise, the care and we all understand the importance of every play coming back in this situation, especially Aaron’s specific injury. … We went through that process and this is where we are today.”It did make for a late Tuesday night of preparation for the coaching staff before McCarthy was finally able to return home.“I have Elf on the Shelf responsibilities and I didn’t get to it (until) midnight last night,” the coach joked.Notes: CB Davon House (shoulder/back) did not practice after leaving last week’s win over Cleveland on a cart because of a back injury. LB Jake Ryan (knee) also missed practice, while S Josh Jones’ absence was not injury related. … CB Demetri Goodson (hamstring) practiced for the first time since being activated from the reserve/physically unable to perform list last week following an unrelated knee injury. … LB Nick Perry (foot/shoulder) was limited after missing last week’s game. … WR Colby Pearson was signed to the practice squad. The rookie out of BYU was initially signed as undrafted free agent in June before being released during training camp in late August. The Minnesota Timberwolves could have used their draft picks in deals to help clear space under the salary cap for potential free agent additions next month.

They needed some high-ceiling young players just as much.

Opting against any deals, the Timberwolves selected Georgia Tech guard Josh Okogie with the 20th overall pick in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday night P.J. Hall Youth Jersey , targeting a tough-minded player with defensive versatility as a primary asset.

”Nothing presented itself that would be better than actually selecting at 20,” general manager Scott Layden said.

The same went for the 48th overall choice, when Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop was still available in the second round. The Big Ten Player of the Year was widely projected as a late first-round pick.

”Having a pick this year was critical for us, just to continue to grow,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”We think we have to have a blend, of young players, players that are in the middle and obviously the older veterans. But having those young guys, it’s important for the team, for the growth of the organization.”

Okogie played two seasons for the Yellow Jackets, averaging 16.9 points per game and shooting 43.7 percent from the field. The 6-foot-4, 213-pound Okogie led the Atlantic Coast Conference with an average of 6.8 free throw attempts per game last season, bringing consistent doses of energy and physicality.

Born in Nigeria, Okogie grew up outside of Atlanta. He was third in the ACC in 2017-18 with an average of 1.8 steals per game and also grabbed an average of 6.3 rebounds per game. Okogie’s wingspan was measured at the draft combine this spring at 7 feet and his three-quarters-of-the-court sprint time was just 3.04 seconds.

With a vertical leap of 42 inches that tied Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo for the highest at the combine, Okogie is capable of guarding multiple positions Cheap Mike Hughes Jersey , an ability treasured by Thibodeau. Toughness is another trait that assuredly attracted Okogie to Thibodeau, conducting his third draft since being hired in Minnesota.

Okogie, who watched the draft with family, friends and teammates in Atlanta, had trouble composing himself when Thibodeau called.

”When he said, `Josh,’ to be honest, I blacked out,” Okogie said. ”I was just like, `This is surreal.’ Everything happened so fast. They called my name. Everybody’s screaming. I’m getting tackled. Crying.”

Depth at the wing positions was a glaring need for the Wolves this offseason, with no backups set yet for Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins. Jamal Crawford and Derrick Rose are set to become free agents.

Perimeter shooting is another priority after Minnesota ranked last in the league with an average of 8.0 made 3-pointers per game. The Wolves were 19th in the NBA with a 3-point shooting percentage of 35.7.

Last year, the Timberwolves used draft night to reshape their roster with a headliner trade for the All-Star Butler that dealt Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and seventh overall pick Lauri Markkanen to Chicago. The Bulls then sent the 16th overall selection, Justin Patton Donte Jackson Youth Jersey , to the Wolves. Patton sat out his entire rookie season with a broken foot. Markkanen made the NBA All-Rookie team after averaging 15.2 points per game.

With little space under the cap, the Wolves could’ve used their first-rounder in a package to trade away some veteran salary, but the pick was also important as a way to cheaply add a rotation-caliber player. Thibodeau has long favored experience on the court, skimping on time for young players, but Okogie has shown an ability to make catch-and-shoot 3-pointers from the corner that could supplement his defense enough to warrant time in the rotation.

”I think I can help from day one,” he said.

The Wolves passed on one of the sharpest outside shooters in this draft class, Duke’s Grayson Allen, but took advantage of a rich pool of wing players to snag Bates-Diop, the leading scorer in the Big Ten as a fourth-year senior in 2017-18 at 19.8 points per game. He was limited to nine games as a junior because of a leg injury and took a redshirt for the 2016-17 season. The 6-foot-7, 235-pound Bates-Diop finished his college career as a 47.2 percent shooter from the field.



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