Despite missing the second half of the season opener due to a pesky hamstring injury, star Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker avoided a major setback and has a real chance to play Sunday against the Bills, two team sources tell the Miami Herald.
That of course would be a huge break for the Dolphins, whose receivers struggled to create separation after Parker left the Patriots game late in the second quarter.
Parker appeared in all 16 games in 2019 after struggling injuries the first four years of his career. He said before this season that staying healthy was among his top goals of 2020.
If he can indeed go in Week 2, Parker would presumably draw plenty of attention from Buffalo’s all-pro cornerback Tre’Davious White.
That would help free up Preston Williams, who struggled in his first game back from major reconstructive knee surgery, Jakeem Grant and Isaiah Ford.
Parker caught all four of his targets for a team-high 47 yards Sunday before leaving due to hamstring discomfort. It was the same issue that caused him to miss some two weeks of practice during training camp. However, Dolphins doctors cleared Parker to play in the opener after he practiced all last week.
But when it flared up again Sunday, Parker’s issue left the Dolphins scrambling and left Ryan Fitzpatrick without his favorite target.
“When it’s in-game, it’s always the next guy up,” Dolphins receivers coach Josh Grizzard said earlier Tuesday. “You’ve got a plan for that week and then it’s adjusted to who is filling that. I thought Jakeem did a good job with the opportunities and just being able to step in. Then Mack [Hollins] was able to step in as well, on certain portions of the game to take over as well.
“It doesn’t necessarily change the game plan a ton,” Grizzard added. “Sometimes there are specific things you want them to do. I’m just happy with those guys being able to adjust in-game and keep it moving.”
James, Herro see popularity rise in the NBA playoffs
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — LeBron James’ popularity, even in his 17th season, cannot be argued.
The NBA released jersey-sales and social media data Wednesday, with the Los Angeles Lakers’ star forward atop both lists. James had the top-selling jersey, measured by online sales through the NBA Store, for the period that started when the season resumed on July 30 through Monday’s end of the conference finals.
Rounding out the top five: Dallas’ Luka Doncic, the Lakers’ Anthony Davis, Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. Interestingly, the next two spots on the jersey-sales list were taken by players who weren’t part of the NBA restart at Walt Disney World – Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant.
The top Heat player on the list was Jimmy Butler at No. 10.
The Lakers are also the top team in terms of merchandise sold through the NBA Store’s site, the league said, followed by Boston, Chicago, Miami, Golden State, Toronto, Dallas, Milwaukee, Portland and Denver.
James also has added more than 4.1 million followers on his Twitter and Instagram accounts since games resumed July 30. Miami’s Tyler Herro was second on that list, adding nearly 800,000 followers to his social totals.
Herro, according to the NBA, saw the biggest increase in followers added – 41% – among all players during the conference finals. His Instagram total has nearly doubled since the season resumed, going from 990,000 to 1.7 million.
Herro became the first player born in the 2000s to play in the NBA Finals when he checked in during the first quarter of Game 1.
Former President Barack Obama was among those in the ”virtual” crowd of fans for Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Obama, a huge basketball enthusiast, appeared on the 17-foot video screens that surround the court during the first quarter.
A slew of players with NBA championships also were on the big screens, including Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade. O’Neal won titles with the Lakers and Heat; Wade won three rings with Miami.
The NBA is on pace for more points in these playoffs than ever before.
The record for total points in a postseason is 17,719, set in 2014. The league was up to 16,900 going into Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night – meaning, even if one team sweeps the other in this series, the clubs would have to average only 102.4 points per game for the total-points record to fall.
In terms of points per game, that record is safe – teams averaged 115.8 in the 1967 playoffs. But this season’s clip, entering Wednesday, of 109.7 points per team per game is the highest since clubs averaged 110.4 in 1987.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has always felt close to Chris Bosh, the four-time finalist with the Heat and two-time champion – someone who saw his career end prematurely because of blood clots.
Bosh and this Heat team have been particularly close; Bosh was a regular at games and even was with the team for some workouts before the season was suspended in March because of the coronavirus.
”We need that energy from our alumni,” Spoelstra said. ”I’m not on social media, but I love it and I’ve heard some of it.”
Bosh knows what players are feeling at this time of year.
”If I could give any advice to the players participating in this year’s Finals – or anyone with any championship opportunity – it would be to not get too high in the wins, or too low in the losses,” Bosh wrote in his newsletter Wednesday, ”The Last Chip.” ”In the quest to accomplish great things, you have to anticipate that it’s going to be a challenge. And in that challenge, you have to accept that it’s not going to be easy.”
The Lakers — as the higher seed — were the home team for Game 1 of the NBA Finals, and they got a little taste of home on their way from the hotel to the arena Wednesday.
Somehow, they hit traffic.
”We just sat in traffic for some soccer moms waiting to pull into a little soccer tournament,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. ”So that didn’t feel like the NBA Finals.”
LARRY MEETS LOUIS
The Larry O’Brien Trophy now comes with its own case – made by Louis Vuitton.
The NBA and the French fashion company struck a partnership earlier this year to make Louis Vuitton the official Trophy Travel Case provider for the league. The case was hand-crafted near Paris, has brass fixtures and is designed to both carry and display the trophy that’ll be presented to the NBA champions.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Michigan football losing former 4-star recruit LB Osman Savage to transfer portal
Michigan football has yet to play a game in the 2020 season, but the Wolverines have already taken a loss, as freshman linebacker Osman Savage, a four-star recruit, has entered the NCAA transfer portal, the Free Press has learned.
The @Freep has learned Michigan four-star freshman linebacker Osman Savage has entered the NCAA transfer portal.
— Rainer Sabin (@RainerSabin) October 1, 2020
More: Michigan football gets commitment from 4-star LB (2020) Osman Savage
Savage was the 15th ranked outside linebacker in the class of 2020, according toe 247 Sports. The Wolverines signed the 6-foot-2, 225-pound commit out of St. Frances Academy, which is coached by former Michigan staffer Biff Poggi, in Baltimore.
Savage picked Michigan over reported offers from Maryland, Michigan State, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and more. Maryland has recently been encroaching on Michigan’s former stranglehold on St. Francis’ players.
Contact Ryan Ford at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @theford.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football losing LB Osman Savage to transfer portal
Yankees-Indians delayed after MLB’s botched weather decision
Major League Baseball saw its worst weather nightmare come true during Game 2 of the New York Yankees-Cleveland Indians wild-card series.
After delaying the game’s start for 43 minutes while waiting for the rain to arrive in Cleveland, MLB officials made the surprising decision to “play ball” despite what looked like an unfavorable forecast.
Before the full first inning was completed, that decision backfired.
The anticipated rainstorm, accompanied by high winds, moved through as Cleveland came to bat for the first time. The playing conditions were, in a word, miserable.
After Cleveland plated the game’s first run on back-to-back doubles by Cesar Hernandez and Jose Ramirez, the umpires called for the tarp again.
Meanwhile, fans, writers and broadcasters alike called out MLB for botching the decision to start the game knowing that another delay was likely.
What an absolutely botched decision to start this game when they did. What a mess.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 1, 2020
He also noted that it was MLB’s call and they didn’t let the Cleveland people who know Cleveland weather make the decision
— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) October 1, 2020
MLB calls the weather-related shots in the postseason. About an hour ago, a Cleveland-based meteorologist said she expected rain to start at about 7:50ish. The game began at 7:50 after a 45-minute weather delay. https://t.co/6ZhnetK6Pg
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) October 1, 2020
It’s a questionable decision on many levels.
First and foremost, the player’s well being has to be taken into consideration. It’s a lot to ask a pitcher to warm up, pitch to several batters and then sit for an extended time while waiting for the weather to clear. If the cooling off period goes on too long, pitchers are often shut down to protect them from hurting their arm.
In this case, the delay only lasted 32 minutes. That allowed both Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka and Indians starter Carlos Carrasco to continue.
Had the delay forced one or both pitchers to be removed, the competitive balance of the game and the three-game series may have been altered. Given what’s at stake, that’s a situation MLB should try to avoid at all costs.
This time, the league got it wrong. Here’s hoping there isn’t a next time.
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