Beckham Jr. affected by hamstring

January, 26, 2015
Jan 26

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- New York Giants rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who had so many athletic catches that he inspired T-shirts and all forms of Internet creativity in his rookie season, revealed after Sunday's Pro Bowl that he is still affected by a hamstring injury that kept him out of much of the Giants' offseason program, training camp and the first month of the regular season.

Beckham, who still closed out 2014 with 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns, missed the first four games of the season and didn't have a game with more than four receptions until Nov. 3 when he had eight catches for 156 yards against the Indianapolis Colts.

"I was never fully healthy," Beckham said following Team Irvin's 32-28 win over Team Carter in the NFL's all-star game. "... I was just trying to manage it and maintain it. ... It's still not right. [I'm] still working on it."

Beckham added it was a "long process" for his recovery.

The Giants' first-round pick from the 2014 draft (12th overall) finished Sunday's affair with five receptions for 89 yards for Team Irvin, including a full-layout 48-yard catch on a pass from Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in the first half.

Beckham added after Sunday's game that he had actually suffered two hamstring injuries before the season -- one in an early-offseason workout and another in a preseason game. He said he intends to rest in the coming weeks to try to get his leg feeling better.

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[+] EnlargeVontaze Burfict
AP Photo/Al BehrmanBengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict played in five games this past season but finished only two of them because of a rash of injuries.

CINCINNATI -- Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is reportedly recovering from microfracture surgery, a serious procedure performed on knees that have suffered cartilage damage.

The surgeon who operated on Burfict told NFL Network that he is hopeful the linebacker will be at full strength in time for training camp.

"I don't see any reason, if this thing heals like we want and we think it will, why he won't be back like he was," Dr. Neal ElAttrache told NFL Network. "Microfracture has a bad connotation, but there are plenty of guys who have come back and been able to play like before. But it's not really news when it works out."

Houston Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is among players to have most recently undergone the surgery that involves drilling into bone in hopes of developing new cartilage.

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PHOENIX -- Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said his injured left elbow shouldn't be an issue leading up to Super Bowl XLIX.

"The elbow's getting better," Sherman said. "It's getting better. Had a good week of practice.

"It should be good for the week."

Sherman was one of six Seahawks who spoke on the first day of Super Bowl media availability Sunday at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix about an hour after landing in Arizona. He hurt his elbow during the second half of Seattle's 28-22 overtime win in the NFC title game on Jan. 18.

Sherman said that his range of movement is "a lot better than it was earlier."

Sherman's secondary mate, safety Earl Thomas, doesn't expect his shoulder injury to hinder his ability to play in Sunday's Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.

When asked to give a message to the troops watching the game abroad, Thomas, who separated his left shoulder in the first half of the NFC championship, said he won't let it affect his status.

"I'm banged up a little just like you guys probably are," Thomas said. "But just like you guys, I'm going to fight through it, just like you guys do."

Thomas told reporters he can't feel the shoulder injury when he's walking around daily. But Thomas dusted off childhood memories to show his toughness.

After getting a ground ball to the mouth during a baseball game, Thomas said he got stitches in the emergency room. After the procedure, Thomas' father asked if Thomas wanted to return to the field and keep playing.

"I said, 'Of course,' " Thomas said. "This is who I am. This is what I do."

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Patriots have perfect attendance at final practice before trip

January, 25, 2015
Jan 25
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots had perfect attendance in their final practice before heading to Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX.

The Patriots practiced inside the Dana-Farber Fieldhouse for the fourth consecutive day Sunday as they are preparing for Super Bowl conditions.

Rookie center Bryan Stork, who has been dealing with a knee issue, continues to show no noticeable signs of injury, as it looks like he will be ready to play in the Super Bowl.

Players were wearing sweats and shells at practice.

The final event for the Patriots before heading to Arizona is a send-off rally at 11 a.m. ET Monday at City Hall Plaza in Boston.

The Patriots' next practice will be in Arizona.

Patriots mimic Super Bowl conditions at practice

January, 24, 2015
Jan 24
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots had perfect attendance at practice as they practiced inside the Dana-Farber Fieldhouse once again.

The Patriots have held all three practices this week in their indoor practice facility as they prepare for conditions similar to the ones they will encounter in the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona.

Patriots rookie center Bryan Stork, who is dealing with a right knee injury he suffered in the divisional-round victory over the Ravens, continues to practice. Stork’s progress and consistent presence at practice is an encouraging sign, as he would shore up the interior of the offensive line.

Players were wearing sweats and shells.
Six weeks removed from having had microfracture surgery, Houston Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney is still working through the relatively early stages of rehab. He can't put weight on his surgically repaired right knee just yet.

Texans general manager Rick Smith offered this update in an appearance on Sirius XM NFL radio:
"That surgery requires a pretty significant amount of time that you are not weight bearing, and then you kind of gotta work yourself back to it. He's been diligent in his rehab. That's the thing he can control right now. He understands that. It's an arduous process for him because he's limited right now in what he can do. There's just a few exercises that he can do to maintain some of the strength in his leg. Once he gets to the point where he can put weight on the leg again and start to really get into a rehab process, I know he's anxious to do that. He's anxious to make the contributions that we all know he's capable of making. Some of the things, the flashes that we saw even in the preseason, it's important to him that he returns to full health so that he can contribute and help our football team."

Clowney suffered a lateral meniscus tear and articular cartilage damage in a non-contact injury he suffered during the first game of the Texans' season. He had arthroscopic knee surgery to repair the injury, and the Texans had hoped that was all that would be necessary. But when the knee wasn't performing properly, they resorted to microfracture.

Microfracture surgery involves poking tiny holes into the knee to increase blood flow and help the cartilage regenerate on its own. The recovery from that surgery is difficult, the rehab is demanding and the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 draft has a lot of it ahead of him.

Patriots center Bryan Stork back at practice

January, 22, 2015
Jan 22
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots center Bryan Stork, who missed the AFC Championship Game with a knee injury, is dressed in full pads for the team's practice on Thursday.

Stork, the team's fourth-round pick out of Florida State, started 11 games in the regular season in addition to the team's divisional-round playoff win over the Baltimore Ravens. He injured his right knee in the second quarter of the 35-31 win over the Ravens.

Without Stork on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, the Patriots shifted veteran Ryan Wendell from right guard to center and inserted second-year player Josh Kline into the mix at right guard.

The Patriots are practicing in full pads Thursday inside the Dana-Farber Field House, with the indoor practice a break from regular routine. The decision could be a result of the Super Bowl being played in the indoor University of Phoenix Stadium.

Players said the focus of the day will be more about internal corrections than anything too specific to a Seahawks-based game-plan for the Super Bowl. This is the first of four practices for the Patriots before they depart for the Super Bowl on Monday.

The Patriots had perfect attendance at practice.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh's tone regarding tight end Dennis Pitta seemingly went from cautiously optimistic to just being cautious.

Pitta, who has suffered serious hip injuries in each of the past two seasons, saw a couple of specialists last week, and Harbaugh said he couldn't give any updates right now.

"I did get kind of an overview of that report from our trainer that I wouldn’t really want to share until Dennis has had a chance to kind of consider all of the ramifications of it," Harbaugh said. "But I think we’ll have something on that in a couple of weeks, kind of on Dennis’ time frame. We’ll see where that goes.”

Harbaugh indicated in early December that he expects Pitta to make a full recovery, and he said at the end of the season that he was "cautiously optimistic" about his return in 2015.

The Ravens are financially committed to Pitta even if he can't play in 2015. Pitta's $4 million salary is guaranteed unless he chooses to retire, so the Ravens will keep him around whether he's playing or on the physically unable to perform list or injured reserve.

Pitta, 29, became one of Joe Flacco's most trusted targets in 2012, when he set career-highs in catches (61), receiving yards (669) and touchdowns (seven). Since then, he's been limited to seven games in two seasons because of hip injuries.

Other than Pitta, the only Ravens tight end currently under contract who played for the team last season is rookie third-round pick Crockett Gillmore. Owen Daniels, who finished third on the Ravens with 48 catches for 527 yards, is an unrestricted free agent.

Phillip Supernaw, who played six games, is an exclusive-rights free agent and can be retained if the Ravens tender him a contract. The Ravens also signed two tight ends to future-reserve deals this offseason: Allen Reisner and Konrad Reuland.
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas was one of five players who did not practice Wednesday, but cornerback Richard Sherman was a full participant in practice.

Thomas suffered a separated shoulder in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, but finished the game and said he will play in the Super Bowl.

Sherman suffered a sprained elbow in the game, but reiterated Wednesday that he will play against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Sherman said before practice he planned to wear a brace in practice, but probably would not need it for the game on Feb. 1.

Also not practicing Wednesday were right guard J.R. Sweezy (ankle) and long snapper Clint Gresham (neck). Both men played the entire game Sunday.

Running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive end Michael Bennett took their usual day off from practice Wednesday, but are not injured.

Starting right tackle Justin Britt, who missed Sunday's game with a knee injury, was a full participant in Wednesday's practice.

Andy Dalton added to Pro Bowl

January, 20, 2015
Jan 20
[+] EnlargeAndy Dalton
AP Photo/Michael ConroyAn injury to Aaron Rodgers allowed Andy Dalton to be named to this year's Pro Bowl teams as an alternate.

CINCINNATI -- Andy Dalton is headed to the Pro Bowl.

An injury to Aaron Rodgers allowed the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback to be named to this year's Pro Bowl teams as an alternate, the Bengals announced Tuesday. It will be the second time in his career Dalton has been named to a Pro Bowl team.

He will be one of four Bengals in Arizona for the all-star game on Sunday, joining defensive tackle Geno Atkins, receiver A.J. Green and punter Kevin Huber. Green and Huber were voted into the Pro Bowl last month. Atkins made the cut on Friday as an alternate, earning the spot vacated by Detroit's Ndamukong Suh, who had to bow out because of injury.

Rodgers has been hampered by a calf injury the past few weeks and is coming off Sunday's 28-22 overtime loss of the NFC Championship Game.

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Sherman, Thomas expect to play SB

January, 19, 2015
Jan 19

Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl defensive backs Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas both are expected to play in Super Bowl XLIX despite suffering injuries in the NFC Championship Game.

Sherman told ESPN's John Clayton that an MRI taken Monday revealed an elbow sprain. The star cornerback suffered the injury in the second half Sunday but remained in the game as the Seahawks rallied for a 28-22 overtime victory against the Green Bay Packers.

Thomas dislocated his shoulder in the first half Sunday and also underwent an MRI on Monday.

"Both those guys were in dire straits if they could play [after the injuries Sunday] and they didn't flinch," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday. "Not for a second. Their courage and heart couldn't have been more evident. Their willingness to throw their body out there was so impressive. Earl had a brace on his shoulder, and Richard couldn't straighten his arm out."

Carroll did not provide an update on Thomas, but a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter in a text message that "Earl will play in the Super Bowl, don't even waste any time on the story."

Sherman and Thomas both previously had said Sunday that they will play in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.

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Earl Thomas has dislocated shoulder

January, 19, 2015
Jan 19

Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas is expected to play in Super Bowl XLIX despite dislocating his shoulder in Sunday's NFC Championship Game.

Thomas will undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the injury.

"Earl will play in the Super Bowl, don't even waste any time on the story," a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter in a text message Monday.

Seahawks star cornerback Richard Sherman also is scheduled for an MRI on Monday after injuring his elbow in Seattle's 28-22 overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers. Both Thomas and Sherman said they will play in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.

Thomas was injured in the first half and had his shoulder placed in a harness. Once the harness was in place, Thomas was able to return and play the rest of the game.

"I know who I am, I'm a warrior," Thomas said Sunday. "If I can play, I don't care if I can't function really well. I know if I can help the team I'm going to be in there."

Sherman was initially diagnosed with a sprained elbow, although doctors were unsure Sunday whether the Pro Bowl cornerback had a nerve impingement, a source told ESPN.

ESPN NFL Insiders John Clayton and Ed Werder contributed to this report.

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Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas both suffered injuries in the team's 28-22 overtime win against the Green Bay Packers in Sunday's NFC Championship Game.

Sherman suffered an elbow injury in the fourth quarter while Thomas injured his shoulder in the first half. The extent of the injuries is unknown and both players will have MRIs on Monday.

Both Sherman and Thomas said they will play in the Super Bowl.

On the opening play of the fourth quarter, Sherman ran over to tackle Packers running back James Starks along the Seahawks' sideline after a 32-yard run. Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor ran to the sideline and collided with Starks and Sherman. Immediately, Sherman felt something was wrong with his left elbow.

Trainers along the sidelines were yelling at him to see what was wrong. Sherman stayed on the field despite being in pain. Sherman clenched his left hand and played through the problem, not missing a play.

"I could still position myself to be in coverage," Sherman said. "It happened on the play I chased James Starks to the sidelines. One my teammates went through us."

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The following are the inactive players for the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game:

RB James White
OL Jordan Devey
C Bryan Stork
WR Josh Boyce
WR Brian Tyms
DE Zach Moore
DT Chris Jones

Quick-hit thoughts: A 6-for-7 success rate on predicting inactives, with a good hit on Tyms. The mild surprise is Jones, who was probable with an elbow injury. But when the Patriots promoted defensive tackle Joe Vellano from the practice squad Saturday, releasing tight end Steve Maneri to make room, that was a tip-off that Jones might not play. Jones is more of a penetrating presence on the defensive line than a hold-the-fort run-defender. Vellano could fill that role. With the Patriots making two receivers inactive, and with Jonas Gray active, the game-day roster goes heavier at running back which could signal a power running approach is part of the team's thinking.

WR Griff Whalen
RB Trent Richardson
CB Sheldon Price
OT Xavier Nixon
C Jonotthan Harrison
OLB Bjoern Werner
NT Zach Kerr

Quick-hit thoughts: Werner is a first-round draft pick from 2013 who started 15 games during the regular season, so his status comes as a major surprise. Still, the Patriots viewed rookie Jonathan Newsome and seven-year veteran Erik Walden as the Colts' top pass-rushers. Otherwise, no major surprises here.
SEATTLE -- Randall Cobb spent three hours at an area hospital on the eve of Sunday's NFC Championship Game.

Jay Glazer, part of the Fox TV broadcast crew, reported moments before kickoff that doctors feared the Green Bay Packers receiver had appendicitis.

A Packers spokesman had no further information but said that Cobb is expected to play against the Seattle Seahawks. The team announced no starting lineup changes.