Tagged in: right knee

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley takes next step in recovery, completes first contact practice

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and wide receiver Kenny Golladay participated in a padded practice Thursday, and Barkley took some contact seemingly without incident for the first time since tearing the ACL in his right knee 11 months ago.

It was the latest step in Barkley’s progression and a mandatory one before he gets into a match, according to coach Joe Judge. The Giants open the campaign Sept. 12 versus the Denver Broncos.

“We did a normal practice safely, and just talked to the guys and [they] gave me some good shots,” Barkley said afterward. “But it’s [about] route running and running routes just to get me back in the flow of things, so I guess you could say yes [I took my first hit].

“But [Thursday] felt good at practice and practicing with everyone on the team. Think that was definitely needed. Just grateful to be out there and just getting ready for the season.”

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Barkley will have to get through another fully padded practice next week before likely getting cleared by doctors.

The Giants don’t practice again until Monday.

Barkley is trending in the right direction and has a strong chance to play Week 1 versus Denver, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. There is optimism, but the Giants have been cautious and still could hold him back. It will ultimately be a team-driven decision.

“This whole process I’ve been a team player listening to the doctors, listening to the coaches, listening to the trainers, knowing that they have my best interest at heart,” Barkley said. “Whatever they feel that is best for me and best for the team, I’m willing to do.”

Barkley was activated off the physically unable to perform list on Aug. 9. He worked his way into live drills for the first time last week during joint practices with the New England Patriots while wearing a red no-contact jersey.

On Thursday, he shed the red jersey for the first time in live drills. Did he feel like his old self out on the field?

“I guess. I feel good. Taking it one day at a time,” Barkley said. “I’m just not even trying to think about do I look like my old self. I’m a very confident player. I know whenever I’m able to get back out there — maybe it might be one quarter, maybe it might be one play — whatever the opportunity is, when I’m back out there, I know I’m going to be able to go out there and be who I am and play how I am.

“Right now, I’m not focusing on if I’m making cuts, saying, ‘Is that how it was before?’ I’m focusing on getting in football shape, just living in the moment, enjoying the moment and playing football again.”

There isn’t much time left. The Giants have 10 days and just four practices before their season opener. Only one is expected to be with full pads. Getting through that would help Barkley inch nearer to being ready for Week 1.

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Atlanta Falcons quarterback AJ McCarron ‘heartbroken’ after right knee injury in preseason defeat

Atlanta Falcons backup quarterback AJ McCarron left the game in the second quarter of Saturday night’s 37-17 defeat to the Dolphins with a right knee injury at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.

While Falcons coach Arthur Smith didn’t want to speculate on the exact nature of McCarron’s injury until after the veteran has an MRI, he did not sound encouraged by the possible prognosis.

“I really feel for AJ McCarron,” Smith said. “Any time something like that happens and it’s non-contact, it’s tough when you know what these guys put into it. I feel for AJ. We’ll obviously get the MRI to confirm but he’s heartbroken.

“He had bounced back and he was out there fighting, fighting for his team and trying to get the extra yards.”

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The injury came with 10 minutes left in the first half.

McCarron handed the ball off to running back Qadree Ollison and as he came out of his typical movement following the handoff he grabbed his right knee.

McCarron tried to walk toward the sideline but couldn’t initially get there. Falcons medical staff came to examine him and he walked off to the sideline. Minutes later, McCarron walked slowly to the Atlanta locker room. He completed 3-of-6 passes for 43 yards and had one run for seven yards versus the Dolphins. The run came a play before he hurt his knee.

Smith stated he wasn’t sure whether that play had anything to do with McCarron’s injury. McCarron was replaced by undrafted rookie Feleipe Franks, who he had been battling with for the No. 2 position throughout training camp. Franks, who was initially projected to play the second half, entered the game with 10 minutes left in the first half instead.

Franks completed 4-of-9 passes for 46 yards, no touchdowns and one interception while also rushing three times for 32 yards. He was sacked four times.

“The one thing that Feleipe has shown is that he can extend plays,” Smith said. “I thought he threw the ball a little bit better tonight at times. Still got to push him where he’s had a lot of growth and will continue to grow.”

Smith said in order to develop quarterbacks, you have to play them and that was the philosophy with Franks over the first two preseason matches. Smith said unfortunately the situation Franks faced Saturday — being forced to play earlier than expected due to injury — is what his role would be as a backup quarterback sometimes.

The Falcons signed McCarron to a one-year deal for more than $1.21 million on April 30 — hours prior to the second day of the NFL draft — to be No. 2 on the depth chart. A fifth-round pick out of Alabama in 2014 by Cincinnati, McCarron has played in 17 games, starting four and completing 62.6 percent of his passes for 1,173 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions.

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Booker has first triple-double, Suns beat Clippers 120-114

Devin Booker’s first exposure to playoff basketball continues to be a revelation.

Not necessarily for him, but for the rest of the NBA.

Booker had 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for his first career triple-double and the Phoenix Suns overcame Chris Paul’s absence to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 120-114 on Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

“I don’t understand why everyone’s acting surprised at this point,” Suns forward Jae Crowder said about Booker’s big day. “This is his first time on this stage but he’s capable. He’s more than capable. He’re more than ready. He prepares like no other.”

Paul sat out because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Clippers star Kawhi Leonard missed his third consecutive game because of a sprained right knee.

Tied at 93 to start the fourth, the Suns went on a 12-2 run and pulled ahead 105-95 on Cam Johnson’s dunk with 8:08 left. The Clippers wouldn’t go away, though, cutting a 10-point deficit in the final two minutes to 116-114 when Terance Mann hit a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left.

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But that’s where the rally stopped for Los Angeles.

“I have no excuse,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “I thought we played hard and competed. A little credit — they were making shots and we didn’t. But I loved our fight. I loved what I saw.”

Booker scored on a dunk on the next possession to seal Phoenix’s eighth straight triumph, getting a free lane to the basket on the blown defensive coverage.

The sixth-year guard was a surprising omission from the All-NBA teams released a few days ago but he certainly looked the part on Sunday.

He wasn’t worried about where this game ranks among his best performances.

Game 2 is on Tuesday night in Phoenix.

Booker continues to cement his superstar status and was productive and efficient in one of the best games of his career. He shot 15 of 29 from the field, carving apart a defense that had to play just 36 hours after closing out the Utah Jazz on Friday night.

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Roger Federer to miss 2021 Australian Open; planning 2021 return

Roger Federer is withdrawing from the Australian Open while he keeps preparing to return to action after two operations on his right knee, the tournament confirmed on Sunday.

Tony Godsick — Federer’s longtime representative and CEO of their management company, TEAM8 — stated he is working on putting together a 2021 tennis calendar for the 20-time Grand Slam champion, who plans to get back on tour soon after the year’s first major tennis tournament.

“Roger has decided not to play the 2021 Australian Open. He has made strong progress in the last couple of months with his knee and his fitness. However, after consultation with his team, he decided that the best decision for him in the long run is to return to competitive tennis after the Australian Open,” Godsick said in a statement released to the AP.

“I will start discussions this coming week for tournaments that begin in late February and then start to build a schedule for the rest of the year,” Godsick said.

The start of the Australian Open’s main draw was delayed by three weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic and is now programmed to begin on Feb. 8 at Melbourne Park.

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Federer, 39, has spent more weeks atop the ATP rankings than anyone else but is No. 5 after his hiatus. He is training in his usual offseason home of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The choice to delay his comeback came with input from coaches Severin Luthi and Ivan Ljubicic and fitness coach Pierre Paganini.

“We wish him all the best as he prepares for his comeback later in the year,” Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said in a statement confirming that Federer pulled out of the field, “and look forward to seeing him in Melbourne in 2022.”

Federer hasn’t played a tournament match since late January at the 2020 Australian Open, where he was clearly injured while losing in straight sets to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Soon after, Federer played in an exhibition charity event with Rafael Nadal in front of a record tennis crowd of more than 50,000 people at a soccer stadium in Cape Town, South Africa.

Just weeks later, Federer announced he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and would be sidelined for at least four months. He later had a second procedure on that knee and wound up missing the rest of the pandemic-altered season.

One measure of Federer’s popularity: Despite appearing in only six matches in 2020, he recently was voted the winner of the ATP Tour fans’ favorite award for the 18th consecutive time.

Until this knee issue, Federer had his career interrupted only once by an operation — on his left knee in 2016. He sat out the second half of that season, including the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the US Open, but was back at his best when he resumed playing, winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2017.

He won the Australian Open again the following year for his sixth trophy there, to go along with eight from Wimbledon, five from the US Open and one from the French Open to complete a career Grand Slam.

While Federer was sidelined this year, Nadal equaled his men’s record for most major championships by collecting his 20th at Roland Garros in October. Federer posted a congratulatory message on social media to Nadal that day, saying he hopes “20 is just another step on the continuing journey for both of us.” Djokovic’s title in Australia this year moved him closer to Federer and Nadal with a total of 17.

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Carolina Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater injures knee in loss to Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered an apparent right knee injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 46-23 loss to Tampa Bay and did not return.

His status for next week’s game versus Detroit is unclear.

“He got up and walked off,” coach Matt Rhule said of Bridgewater, who was given a three-year, $63 million deal in the offseason to replace Cam Newton. “When it comes to knees and stuff like that, I don’t know. I haven’t had a chance to see him. I have no idea [how he is] .”

The injury occurred with 5:24 remaining when Tampa Bay edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul sacked Bridgewater with a twisting tackle around the knees. Bridgewater was slow to get up and then limped to the sideline, where trainers check out his right knee.

After an extended period under the blue tent, Bridgewater walked under his own power to the locker room as the final minutes expired in a match in which the Bucs outscored the Panthers 29-6 in the second half and outgained them 322 yards to 35.

The injury was not to the same knee that almost ended Bridgewater’s career in 2016 during training camp with the Minnesota Vikings.

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Bridgewater, 28, opened the game with 12 consecutive completions and two touchdown passes as Carolina played to a 17-17 halftime tie. He added a touchdown run on a scramble in the fourth quarter after the Panthers (3-7) were outscored 12-0 in the third quarter en route to their fifth straight loss.

Bridgewater ended 18-for-24 passing for 136 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed three times for 16 yards and a touchdown.

He has been among the league leaders in completion percentage all season as he returned as a full-time starter for the first time since 2015. He suffered a horrific injury that required multiligament reconstruction in 2016. Bridgewater was not made available to media after the game for the first time this season.

The Panthers already were without star running back Christian McCaffrey, who suffered a shoulder injury late in last week’s loss to Kansas City in his first game back after missing six straight with a high ankle sprain.

Rhule said on Friday the outlook for McCaffrey playing against Detroit looked good. If Bridgewater can’t go, the Panthers would go with either P.J. Walker or Will Grier. Walker finished Sunday’s game, but both have had stints as Bridgewater’s backup this season.

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Los Angeles Chargers’ Derwin James injures right knee

Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James, who missed 11 matches in the 2019 season, is likely to miss significant time with a meniscus injury he suffered during Sunday’s practice, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

The Chargers delivered an update regarding James’ condition on Monday, confirming that he “suffered a right knee injury during yesterday’s practice” and noting that “he will continue to be evaluated, and a timeframe for his return has not yet been determined.”

Now comes the waiting game of just how long it will be until James can return to the field.

With the waiting game comes options, pending further evaluation, though each of them would see James with an elongated absence. One possibility is a meniscus trim, which could be four or so weeks, or a full repair, which would bring upon several months on the shelf, Rapoport reported.

Multiple reports coming out of camp were that James left practice grabbing his right leg, clearly frustrated, and entered the medical tent.

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Regardless of just how long James is shelved, it’s a difficult turn of events for a burgeoning star who burst upon the NFL scene and has seen it halted by significant injuries in consecutive offseasons.

James started the 2019 campaign on injured reserve with a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his foot.

He returned in Week 13 and started the last five games of the season, tallying 34 tackles.

In 2018, James was an All-Pro and Pro Bowler in a sensational rookie campaign in which he filled up the stat sheet to the tune of 105 tackles, 13 passes defended, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions.

While it’s another discouraging turn of events for James and a huge blow to the Chargers defense, it might well open the door for another opportunity to Earl Thomas, as pointed out by Rapoport. Current Bolts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley previously coached Thomas with the Seahawks. Within the roster, the most liable scenario is that Desmond King, Alohi Gilman and Nasir Adderly are the likely candidates to step into James’ starting role. Nonetheless, for James and the Chargers on a sunny Southern California Sunday, it quickly became a cloudy day ahead of a promising season once again.

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