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Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield has shoulder surgery, eyes return to ‘my true self’

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield says he is on track to getting “back to my true self” after undergoing surgery Wednesday to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.

Dr. Orr Limpisvasti, the orthopedic surgeon for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, performed the surgery on Mayfield’s left shoulder in California.

“Surgery went great. Was a complete success,” Mayfield said in a video posted to social media. “Now it’s on to the road to recovery. It’s one of those steps to get back to my true self. … This is not the end of my story.”

The Browns stated the likely time period for Mayfield’s recovery is four to six months. He will start physical therapy on his shoulder next week and is expected to be cleared by training camp, if not sooner, a source told ESPN.

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Mayfield, who suffered the shoulder injury in Week 2 and played through it for the rest of the season, will start light throwing in April and should be able to participate in the off-season program on a limited basis, the team said.

After the Browns’ Week 17 game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mayfield admitted that he was “pretty damn beat up.”

With Cleveland already eliminated from playoff contention, Mayfield sat out the team’s season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 9.

Even though Mayfield concluded 27th in the league in QBR (35.3) this season, Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry declared last week that the Browns “fully expect” the 2018 No. 1 draft pick to be their starting quarterback in 2022 and “bounce back” from his injury-plagued season.

Mayfield will be entering the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay him close to $19 million in 2022 after the Browns exercised his fifth-year option last offseason.

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Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield to have shoulder surgery ASAP, won’t play Sunday

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield won’t play Sunday versus the Cincinnati Bengals, so that he can move forward with surgery to repair the torn labrum in his non-throwing left shoulder.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Mayfield’s surgery could happen as soon as this week. A league source told ESPN that Mayfield could be back in time to participate in OTAs, which typically take place in May or June around the league.

Mayfield, who has been playing with the shoulder injury since Week 2, admitted following Monday night’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers that he was “pretty damn beat up.” Mayfield was sacked nine times in the game.

“I’ve continued to lay it out on the line when I haven’t been healthy and tried to fight for our guys,” said Mayfield, who’s been playing with a harness on the shoulder to prevent it from popping out of place. “Now it’s time for me to start looking at what’s in the best interest of me and my health.”

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The Browns (7-9) were eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday when the Bengals clinched the AFC North Division title.

Mayfield, who quarterbacked Cleveland to its first playoff triumph in 26 years last season, has struggled since suffering the shoulder injury, ranking 26th in the league in QBR (35.2).

On Monday, he also became the first NFL quarterback since 2019 to throw 10 consecutive incompletions, and the first since 2017 to be sacked at least five times and have five passes batted down at the line of scrimmage in the same game.

On Tuesday, Stefanski acknowledged that the shoulder injury and harness had affected Mayfield’s performance this season, but had no regrets about not giving him an extended rest to recover at any point.

“Throughout this whole thing, we have tried to make the right decision based on all the information available to us,” Stefanski said. “Constant dialogue with our medical staff, with Baker, and throughout have really felt comfortable based on all that information that he was able to play.”

Mayfield is under contract with Cleveland through the 2022 season, with the Browns having already exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie deal.

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Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield confirms he’ll have shoulder surgery

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield confirmed Monday night he will be having offseason surgery to repair the torn labrum in his non-throwing left shoulder, an injury he has played through since Week 2.

With the Browns already eliminated from playoff contention, Mayfield also didn’t rule out sitting for Cleveland’s final match on Sunday versus the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, but he said he would be conferring with his agent and family before making that decision.

“I’m an extremely competitive guy,” Mayfield said following Cleveland’s 26-14 loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. “Now it’s time for me to start looking at what’s in the best interest of me and my health.”

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In another rough outing, Mayfield was sacked nine times by the Steelers, who also intercepted him twice. At one point in the first half, Mayfield failed to complete a pass on 10 consecutive throws, the NFL’s longest incompletion streak since 2019, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Mayfield also became the league’s first quarterback since 2017 to be sacked at least five times and have five passes batted down at the line of scrimmage in the same game.

“It’s not gonna always be pretty or smooth, but I’m a fighter,” he said. “If anybody ever questions how much I want it, just turn on this tape. It wasn’t pretty, but I kept going, kept swinging; that’s who I am, and that’s what I will continue to be.”

In addition to the torn labrum, Mayfield has battled left foot soreness and a right knee contusion this campaign. He also has had to wear a harness on the left shoulder to prevent it from popping out of place again.

“I’ve continued to lay it out on the line when I haven’t been healthy and tried to fight for our guys,” Mayfield said. “Right now, I’m pretty damn beat up, to be honest with you. There’s no way around it. I gave it everything I had tonight.”

Mayfield is under contract with Cleveland through the 2022 season, after the Browns exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie contract last offseason for $18.86 million.

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Cleveland Cavaliers’ Ricky Rubio has torn ACL in left knee, done for season

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio will miss the rest of the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee, the team revealed Wednesday.

Rubio, who is under contract through this season, had an MRI on the knee at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health on Wednesday after suffering the injury during Tuesday night’s 108-104 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Cavaliers said they would update his status “as appropriate.”

Rubio also tore the ACL in his left knee during his rookie season in Minnesota in 2012. As Rubio was driving down the lane Tuesday, he maneuvered around Pelicans guard Devonte’ Graham and slipped as he planted his right foot, and his left knee buckled as he fell to the ground with 2 minutes, 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

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Rubio, in pain, immediately grabbed his left knee and signaled to the Cavaliers’ bench for help.

He was not putting any weight on his left leg as he was helped off the floor by teammates Kevin Love and Isaac Okoro.

The 31-year-old Rubio had a major impact in his first campaign123 with Cleveland, providing leadership and depth to a young squad. The Cavaliers have already won 20 games after going 22-50 last season.

His injury is the second significant one to Cleveland’s backcourt. Collin Sexton suffered a season-ending knee injury Nov. 7. At the time, Sexton was the team’s leading scorer.

“Him and I have such a history,” Love said after Tuesday’s game. “I really care for him. … We’re just completely gutted. He was having such a great season.”

In 34 matches this season, Rubio, who was acquired during the summer in a trade from Minnesota, was averaging 13.1 points, 6.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.

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Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson returns to practice with pronounced limp after missing 2 games with ankle injury

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson returned to practice Wednesday with a pronounced limp as Baltimore heads into what is essentially a must-win match versus the Los Angeles Rams.

Jackson, who is dealing with a right ankle injury, is expected to have limited participation on Sunday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said before Wednesday’s practice. Sidelined for the past two games, Jackson will get back on the field for the first time since hurting his ankle on Dec. 12, when Baltimore lost at Cleveland 24-22.

During the half-hour media viewing, Jackson didn’t move around much when throwing to his receivers. When Jackson went from drill to drill, he had trouble jogging. He was officially listed as a limited participant.

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Harbaugh stated Jackson’s availability for Sunday’s game will depend on how he progresses throughout the week. If Jackson can’t play, Baltimore could turn to Tyler Huntley, who is expected to be activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday.

“I’m really hopeful,” Harbaugh said. “I’m hopeful for all our quarterbacks, starting with Lamar. I really want to see him out there on Sunday. I know the fans do, and I know most of all, Lamar does. He’s going to do everything he can to be out there. You can’t make a promise because we don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring.”

The Ravens (8-7) have lost four consecutive games and are currently No. 8 as they try to make the seven-team AFC playoff field. If Baltimore loses to the Rams, its chances of reaching the playoffs will plummet to 8%, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. The Ravens’ postseason chances would increase to 59% with a victory.

The return of Jackson could provide a boost when the Ravens need it the most. Jackson is 37-12 (.755) as a starting quarterback and has led Baltimore to the playoffs in each of his three seasons in the NFL.

Before the injury, Jackson was mired in the worst slump of his career. Since Week 10, Jackson has thrown three touchdowns and six interceptions for a 34.3 Total QBR, which ranks 25th in the league over that span.

But Jackson remains one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL. In his previous game versus the Rams, Jackson threw for five touchdowns and ran for 95 yards in a 45-6 rout in Los Angeles in his 2019 NFL MVP season.

Jackson’s injury has been described as a sprained ankle, but a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Jackson is dealing with a bone bruise.

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Grizzlies throttle Thunder by NBA-record 73-point margin

The game was long decided and the Memphis starters were relegated to cheerleaders on the bench when John Konchar got a steal and headed to the basket.

His right-handed dunk gave the Grizzlies a 145-67 lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder with 3:02 left and a new franchise record for points in a match.

That 78-point advantage was Memphis’ biggest lead on Thursday night, but by the time it was over the Grizzlies were still 73 points ahead. Their 152-79 victory over the Thunder shattered the NBA record for the largest margin of victory.

“At that moment, I didn’t know it was a franchise record,” Konchar said. “I just kind of saw the lane, and I dunked it. But it’s awesome.”

The 73-point margin easily topped the previous mark, which was Cleveland’s 68-point win over Miami. The Cavaliers topped the Heat 148-80 on Dec. 17, 1991.

“Tonight is not necessarily who we are,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “I think we’ve definitely shown that from a competitive standpoint. This isn’t indicative of who our team is.”

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Memphis used 12 players and nine of them reached double figures in scoring, with Jaren Jackson Jr.’s 27 points leading the way for the Grizzlies. Memphis was without its best player, injured guard Ja Morant.

It was 72-36 at halftime and the Grizzlies just kept adding to the lead.

“I think there was some slippage defensively and I think before you know it, teams are in a rhythm and the game is out of hand,” Oklahoma City’s Mike Muscala said. “We didn’t fight, obviously. You’d rather go out fighting. You would rather go out putting your best foot forward and playing together.”

The Thunder flirted with being on the wrong end of the record last season, trailing Indiana by 67 points on May 1 before rallying — such as it was — to lose by merely 57 points, 152-95.

This was worse. Historically worse.

The Grizzlies set a franchise record for shooting, making 62.5% of their shots. De’Anthony Melton scored 19 points, Santi Aldama scored 18 and John Konchar scored 17 for the Grizzlies, and none of those three players even started.

“Man, it feels great. It feels great to be in the history books, especially in front of our home crowd,” Melton stated. “And we did it one through 15. Everybody contributed, everybody played hard and we all got to get in the game. So, it’s always a blessing.

“We knew with (Morant) going down what we had to do,” Melton said. “We had to step up.”

No Memphis starter played more than 21 minutes. Lu Dort led the Thunder with 15 points, and Oklahoma City shot only 33%.

It was 12-8 after five minutes. From there, there was no stopping Memphis. The Grizzlies outscored the Thunder by 15 points in each of the four quarters.

It was the third consecutive game the Grizzlies have led from start to finish.

The Thunder lost their eighth straight as they continued to play without a number of players, including leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who entered concussion protocol earlier Thursday. Gilgeous-Alexander scored 39 points against the Rockets on Wednesday night but suffered a blow to the head late in the match.

Point guard Josh Giddey, who averages 10.4 points and 5.5 assists, sat out with a non-COVID-19 illness, and the remaining players couldn’t fill the void in Oklahoma City’s offense.

The Thunder had been competitive in their seven straight losses before Thursday night. Their largest margin of defeat was 13 points.

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Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo to have surgery for torn ligament in right thumb

Miami Heat All-Star center Bam Adebayo will undergo surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb, the team revealed Wednesday.

Sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Adebayo is expected to be out for four to six weeks, which would cause him to miss between 15 to 20 matches.

“Can’t do anything about it,” Adebayo stated of the surgery, which will take place Sunday. “It was my only option.” Adebayo, 24, has blossomed into one of the NBA’s best two-way centers, able to switch out onto virtually any guard defensively while also being a hub of Miami’s offensive attack.

Through 18 games this campaign, Adebayo is averaging 18.7 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game.

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He suffered the injury during Monday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets.

The Heat lost again Wednesday night, 111-85 to the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers.

Veteran Dewayne Dedmon stepped into Adebayo’s place in the starting lineup versus the Cavs, scoring 11 points in 31 minutes. Miami is still down another big, forward Markieff Morris, as he’s been out since early November after injuring his neck in a loss in Denver.

“Bam is one of the most dynamic, unique players in the league,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra stated. “There’s not going to be one solution for that. It’s going to take some unique solutions and some thought and we’ll figure it out.

There’s going to be some things we have to do differently. There’s no way that we can make it look the same. He’s an absolute hybrid on both ends of the court, one of the most unique players in the entire association.”

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Lions, Browns both desperate for wins entering Sunday’s game

The starting quarterback is injured and won’t be close to 100% — if he even plays. The passing game isn’t producing nearly enough big plays or points and the season has grown desperate.

The Cleveland Browns have similar complications.

Shaken by an embarrassing, humbling 38-point loss at New England last week, when Patriots coach Bill Belichick seemed to enjoy toying with his former team, the Browns (5-5) head into Sunday’s matchup versus the Lions (0-8-1) without any more wiggle room in a season going sideways.

Their hopes of winning the AFC North, making the playoffs and perhaps a Super Bowl title run seem a bit far-fetched at the moment. But in a nonsensical season in which elite teams are few and far between, anything seems possible.

“We’re within striking distance,” said Browns left guard Joel Bitonio, who has been on more than a few roller-coaster rides in Cleveland since 2014. “We’re not where we want to be, but we have everything left. There’s a lot less room for error now, but we’re good.”

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Actually, it’s hard to figure out the Browns — one of the NFL’s most talented yet unpredictable teams.

Two weeks ago, they overpowered Cincinnati 41-16 while playing their most complete match this season.

A week later, it was just the opposite as the Browns couldn’t do anything right.

The past few days have been filled with corrections and reflection.

“It’s a humbling process,” said quarterback Baker Mayfield, who expects to face the Lions despite shoulder, foot and knee injuries. “It’s very easy to look around and try to find excuses, but when it comes down to it we have seven more games right now to be able to figure out how to make it work.

“And we have a lot of division games in front of us, and that’s the most important part.”

The Browns aren’t good enough to take anyone lightly, especially the Lions, who managed a 16-16 tie last week at Pittsburgh and were within a missed field goal in overtime of shocking the Steelers.

Detroit returned from its bye week emphasizing the run on offense and playing with the same intensity on defense that has kept the Lions in most games.

Bitonio played on Cleveland’s 0-16 team in 2017, when the Browns lost twice in OT and lost four other games by four points or less.

He said the Lions will not be overlooked.

“They play as hard as anybody,” said Bitonio, who has warned his younger teammates about the pitfalls of overconfidence. “It’s not like you’re at Alabama, just walk in and beat a team. Records don’t mean anything. You come out, you have to perform. “You just have these games where it’s like, ‘Oh, this team should win.’ But it’s the NFL, so anything can happen.”

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Houston Texans QB Tyrod Taylor ready to return, to start Sunday vs. Miami Dolphins

Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor will start on Sunday versus the Miami Dolphins, coach David Culley said Thursday.

Taylor has not played since the second quarter in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns when he injured his left hamstring. Culley stated Thursday that there haven’t been any setbacks with Taylor’s hamstring injury and that the quarterback is finally healthy enough to play.

From the beginning of Taylor’s time on injured reserve, Culley said that Taylor would return as the Texans’ starter and that he gave Houston the best chance to win.

“Coach [Culley] said early on that I would be the starter when healthy and thankful that he stood by that,” Taylor said.

Taylor has seen the opposite come true too many times before. In 2018, Taylor left a Week 3 game with a concussion and was replaced by then-rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Browns won the game, and Mayfield kept the starting job.

And in 2020 with the Los Angeles Chargers, Taylor was named the starting quarterback going into the season. Taylor cracked two of his ribs during the Chargers’ first offensive drive in the season-opening win over the Cincinnati Bengals but finished the game.

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The following week, a Chargers team doctor tried to give Taylor a pain-killing injection just before kickoff and accidentally punctured Taylor’s lung.

Rookie first-round pick Justin Herbert started that game and every other game the rest of the season. He went on to collect Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Taylor said when he suffered his hamstring injury this season, he initially thought about his injury history and the fact it happened again.

“But that thought hasn’t necessarily resonated since then,” Taylor said. “It was unfortunate that it happened … but I can’t control it. You have to shift your mindset to getting back healthy and doing the things day in and day out so you stay on track so I could get back out and still be able to perform at a high level.”

Taylor, who was placed on injured reserve before Houston’s Week 3 game, said he was initially told it would be a four-to-six week window to come back from his injury.

“Hamstrings are tricky,” Taylor said. “Typically, you feel good mentally before you actually feel better physically. So, you try to test it, you do as much as you can, but at the same time, you also have to listen to your body. You don’t want to put yourself at a bigger risk coming back too early.”

Taylor injured his hamstring while running in for a touchdown during the second quarter in Cleveland and said he immediately knew something was wrong.

“I knew that I was injured at the time, tried to jog off the field,” Taylor said. “Still in pain, didn’t necessarily know what it was, just knew that something wasn’t right with the hamstring. Went back on for the two-minute drive. Got flushed out of the pocket one time and tried to accelerate and … just tried to get to the halftime and basically see what the doctor said.

“Obviously, I didn’t want to come out. Coach made the decision, thought it was best before I go out there and injured it even more.”

Taylor returned to practice on Oct. 27 but was not ready to return in Week 8.

Before he was hurt in Week 2, Taylor had completed 70.5% of his passes for 416 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Taylor was replaced by rookie quarterback Davis Mills, who went 0-6 in his six starts and completed 67% of his passes with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions.

The Texans have been outscored by an NFL-worst 122 points in eight games this season. Houston’s only victory came against Jacksonville in Week 1 with Taylor under center.

Taylor said it was frustrating being on the sidelines during the losing streak, not being able to do anything about it but “lead in my own way” and help Mills the best he could. On Wednesday, Taylor was able to take part in a full practice in the same way he was before he injured his hamstring.

“I think our trainer told me yesterday … I guess he read our numbers or my numbers from practice and was like you must have been excited yesterday just to be back out there,” Taylor said.

“Yeah, I felt like a little kid running around and being able to just be myself. So, you definitely miss it when you’re not out there.”

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Perez breaks Bench’s home run record; Royals sweep Indians

Salvador Perez hit his 46th home run, breaking Johnny Bench’s record for most by a catcher in a campaign to highlight the opener, then the Kansas City Royals completed a doubleheader sweep by defeating the Cleveland Indians 4-2 Monday night.

Perez hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning of a 7-2 victory, topping Bench’s total from 1970 for the highest total by a player who spent at least 75% of his team’s games at catcher.

Perez also moved into a tie for the major league lead in homers with Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Perez leads the majors with 115 RBI.

“I had never hit 30 in my career,” he said. “So I was looking for 30 homers and 100 RBI. This is a dream come true.” Perez’s career high in home runs was 27, which came in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

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Being in the same company with Bench is something else special for the 31-year-old Perez who has been a mainstay for the Royals since reaching the majors in 2011.

“When you see a Hall of Fame catcher, you try to be just like him,” Perez said. “I’m going to try my best to be one of those guys.”

Royals manager Mike Matheny considered it an honor to witness the moment.

“It’s just hard to get your head around, to be honest,” Matheny said. “The long history in this game and how many great players have come through. For him to do something that nobody’s done, it’s amazing.”

In the second game, Perez hit an early double before striking out against Anthony Gose, a former outfielder who returned to the majors after a five-year absence as a hard-throwing reliever.

Gose pitched 1 2/3 innings, permitting one run and one hit with one walk and one strikeout. Of his 39 pitches, seven reached 100 mph.

The 31-year-old Gose last played in the majors in 2016 with Detroit. He spent parts of five years with the Tigers and Toronto before becoming a pitcher.

“It meant a lot to get the opportunity to go out there again. It’s been a while. I’m excited to be able to have the opportunity,” Gose said.

Joel Payamps, Domingo Tapia, Jake Brentz. Josh Statamount and Scott Barlow combined on a four-hitter in the second game. Tapia (3-0) struck out four in 1 2/3 innings and Barlow pitched the ninth for his 14th save.

The Royals scored twice off Nick Wittgren (2-8) in the first when Carlos Santana drew a bases-loaded walk and Hunter Dozier added a sacrifice fly.

Kansas City scored in the fourth off Gose on a double by Hanser Alberto and an RBI groundout by Sebastian Rivero.

Alberto added an RBI single in the sixth off Bryan Shaw.

Andrés Giménez and Bobby Bradley homered for Cleveland. The Indians were held to four runs in the two seven-inning games after scoring 11 runs on both Saturday and Sunday in victories over the New York Yankees.

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