FOXBOROUGH – (Wire Service Report) – The New England Patriots ruled out tight end Rob Gronkowski for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers due to a chest injury. Gronkowski missed his third straight practice on Friday and the team later listed him as out on the official injury report.
Gronkowski sustained the injury in last Sunday night’s 31-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He took a hard hit from Seahawks safety Earl Thomas and temporarily had to leave the game in the first half. There has been speculation Gronkowski may also have a lung injury. A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter the injury is “not overly serious” and that Gronkowski does not have a punctured lung. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the injury is a perforated lung.
Gronkowski will not make the trip to the Bay Area, leaving Martellus Bennett and Matt Lengel as the two available tight ends on the roster.
Bennett, who has 38 catches for 504 yards and four touchdowns this season, will get the start in place of Gronkowski.
Gronkowski missed two games earlier this season due to a hamstring injury.
The Patriots also ruled out wide receiver Chris Hogan because of a back injury.
The 49ers ruled out outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (ankle) and listed wide receiver Torrey Smith (shoulder) and cornerback Rashard Robinson (knee) as questionable.
Golden State 104, Boston 88
When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, November 18, 2016
Where: TD Garden, Boston
BOSTON – (Wire Service Report) – – A loud fire alarm rang through TD Garden minutes after Friday night’s game. It came about an hour late for the home team. It came after the Golden State Warriors put on a third-quarter clinic — at both ends of the floor.
“I think defensively the third quarter was fantastic,” Kevin Durant said after the Warriors outscored the Celtics 31-9 in the third en route to a 104-88 rout of the Boston Celtics. “That’s high-level defense. We’re flying around, helping each other, getting our hand on basketballs, getting out on transition.
“It was incredible to watch. We’ve got to continue to build on that. Offensively, another 30-plus assist night it was good for us.”
The Celtics went 2-for-17 in the quarter.
Ahead by seven at halftime, the Warriors went on a 24-3 run — capped by an 18-0 streak — to break open the competitive game and power to their sixth straight victory. Boston, still playing without the injured Al Horford (concussion) and Jae Crowder (ankle), were in the game and trailed 55-48 at the break. The Warriors then went wild and improved to 10-2. Klay Thompson scored 11 of his 28 points in the quarter.
Durant, seriously courted by the Celtics before signing with Golden State, scored 23 points and added 10 rebounds and seven assists, and both he and Thompson sat as the Celtics made their little run. Naturally, Durant was booed — loudly during the pregame introductions and then every time he touched the ball.
“I didn’t care,” he said. “I’m always motivated to play, so, no, I was cool.”
Steph Curry avoided a season-low in scoring when he hit a 3-pointer and another basket late, finishing with 16 points (his low was 13), while Draymond Green had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the win.
Curry, who also got a technical foul, was 7-for-16 from the floor, 2-for-10 from 3-point range and also missed three layups.
Down 30 early in the fourth quarter, the Celtics were able to cut their deficit to 12 with 1:50 left.
Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics (6-6) with a season-low 18 points (his previous low was 23), while Avery Bradley scored 17. After the game, Thomas, who sat out much of the fourth quarter and logged 27:35 (with a game Saturday night), said he wasn’t thrilled his team threw in the towel. Thomas was asked about Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia imitating Durant after hitting an outside shot to cap an 18-0 run to blow open a competitive game.
“Yeah, but at that point the game was turned around,” Thomas said. “I guess we gave up. Coaching staff as well. We start subbing. It was bad … we gave up.
“We went into panic mode for whatever reason, and that’s what happened. So I’m upset with that.”
OAKLAND – (Wire Service Report) – Oakland Athletics managing general partner Lew Wolff stepped down Thursday and announced an agreement in principle to sell his interest in the team to the remaining owners. Wolff will transition to chairman emeritus and John Fisher will become Oakland’s new managing partner. The leadership transition was approved by owners during Thursday’s Owners Meetings in Chicago.
“I want to thank Lew for his leadership over the last 11 years,” Fisher said. “His initiative and love of the game of baseball brought my family to the A’s, and we would not be involved without him. Lew has given the organization all of his energy and experience for the last 11 years and I look forward to a new chapter in our working relationship and friendship. It is a privilege for me to steward the A’s at this important moment for the franchise.”
Fisher is the son of Gap Inc founders Donald and Doris Fisher and invested in San Francisco hotels with Wolff before joining the Athletics. He also holds stakes in the San Jose Earthquakes and Scotland’s Glasgow Celtic football club.
Wolff led the $180 million purchase of the Athletics from Stephen Schott and Ken Hofmann on April 1, 2005. He has spent most of his time pursuing a new stadium for the A’s but unsuccessfully was able to relocate the team to proposed new ballparks in Fremont and San Jose.
“It has been an honor serving as managing partner and I thank our fans, staff, and players for the opportunity I’ve had to lead this great organization,” Wolff said.
“John and I have talked in great length about the future of this club and I am ready to pass the reins to him.”
In recent years, Wolff has stated he wants to keep the team in Oakland and in 2014, the A’s signed a 10-year league to stay in the O.co Coliseum, which it shares with the Oakland Raiders.
Under Wolff’s tenure as managing general partner, Oakland has made the playoffs four times. The A’s won AL West titles in 2006, 2012 and 2013 and lost to Kansas City in the 2014 wild-card game.
Since its last playoff appearance, Oakland has lost 94 and 93 games respectively.
Additionally team President Michael Crowley is stepping away from day-to-day operations to advise the ownership group. San Jose Earthquakes President Dave Kaval will fill Crowley’s role while remaining with the Earthquakes.
WASH DC – (Wire Service Report) – (Special to Digital Sports Desk) – Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James announced he will donate $2.5 million to a Muhammad Ali exhibit at the recently-opened Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.
The exhibit, named “Muhammad Ali: A Force for Change,” features Ali’s headgear and training robe from the 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach, where the three-time heavyweight champion who died in June at age 74 trained.
“Muhammad Ali is such a cornerstone of me as an athlete because of what he represented not only in the ring as a champion but more outside the ring — what he stood for, what he spoke for, his demeanor,” James told USA Today.
The exhibit also pays tribute to Ali’s past as a social activist.
James joins fellow NBA legend Michael Jordan in donating to the museum, which opened Sept. 24. Jordan donated $5 million last August.
“I am overwhelmed by the incredible generosity LeBron James has shown,” Ali’s widow Lonnie said in a statement. “This exhibit will enable children visiting the Smithsonian to learn more about Muhammad’s work outside of the ring.”
Carolina 23, New Orleans 20
When: 8:25 PM ET, Thursday, November 17, 2016
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
CHARLOTTE – (Wire Service Report) – This time, the Carolina Panthers figured out to finish the job. In danger of squandering a double-digit lead for the second time in five days, the Panthers held on for a 23-20 victory against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night at Bank of America Stadium.
“You’ve got to keep fighting,” Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said. “A lot of times this year, you’ve seen it go the other way.”
The Panthers (4-6) scored on a few short drives after first-half mistakes by Saints, and they emerged with the victory despite producing only 223 yards of total offense.
“We won,” Newton said. “I’m not going to downplay that we won. … Just finding ways to win, that’s what we have to get back to. It doesn’t matter how we do it.”
The Saints, who trailed by 20 points midway through the third quarter, pulled within 23-20 with 2:52 left on tight end Coby Fleener’s 8-yard touchdown catch of a Drew Brees pass.
New Orleans (4-6) didn’t take another snap until the 14-second mark at their own 14-yard line after a Carolina punt.
“We’ve got to make the tackles, and I think we did that,” Panthers safety Kurt Coleman said of the defense in general. “We didn’t let them get loose.”
Newton threw for one touchdown, completing 14 of 33 passes for 192 yards without an interception. Brees threw two touchdown passes and connected on 35 of 44 throws for 285 yards and one interception. The Saints were held to three points through three quarters.
“Those two turnovers killed us,” New Orleans receiver Willie Snead said. “You know it’s just a big momentum swing in the first half. In the second half, we started clicking a little more, and it put us in position to score.”
The outcome came days after the Panthers wasted a 17-point lead in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Panthers won for the third time in four games, forging a split of the season series with New Orleans.
“It wasn’t pretty at all,” Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson said. “We have to learn how to put teams away.”
Carolina played the final minutes Thursday night without star linebacker Luke Kuechly, who was taken from the field on a cart with 4:41 remaining to be evaluated for a concussion. Carolina didn’t have a sustained drive until opening the third quarter by going 51 yards in 14 plays, scoring on a Graham Gano’s 42-yard field goal for a 23-3 advantage.
The Saints’ only third-quarter possession included two fourth-down conversions and 16 plays, but they ended with Wil Lutz’s 30-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter. New Orleans was within 23-13 with 11:22 to play after Brees’ 9-yard touchdown pass to receiver Brandon Coleman, with a four-play drive covering 51 yards. Saints running back Mark Ingram was placed in concussion protocol after a 13-yard rushing play midway through the third quarter.
The Panthers lost defensive end Mario Addison to a fourth-quarter foot injury.
Carolina held a 20-3 halftime lead with plenty of help from the Saints.
“It’s all about execution,” Snead said. “Executing the offense like we know we’re good at doing. We just need more consistency week in and week out.”
CAMBRIDGE, Mass – (Wire Service Report) – A Harvard Law School report published Thursday said medical personnel caring for NFL players should no longer report to team management or coaches. The 493-page report titled “Protecting and Promoting the Health of NFL Players: Legal and Ethical Analysis and Recommendations” was released following a two-year study by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics.
“Our report shows how the various stakeholders might work together to protect and support NFL players who give so much of themselves — not without benefit, but sometimes with serious personal consequences — to one of America’s favorite sports,” said Glenn Cohen, professor of law at Harvard Law School and co-lead of the law and ethics initiative as part of the study. “NFL football has a storied history and holds an important place in this country. The men who play it deserve to have their health safeguarded and their health concerns addressed. We hope our recommendations in the report serve as a catalyst for this important work.”
Approximately 175 doctors work with NFL teams. Players and teams have a shared interest in player health, the study noted a player might feel compelled to return quicker than recommended from injury and the role of a doctor as a team employee creates a conflict of interest in those decisions.
“The intersection of club doctors’ dual obligations creates significant legal and ethical quandaries that can threaten player health,” the report said.
Instead of trainers and doctors directly communicating with teams about player health, the report proposed a written “Player Health Report.” The report would include the condition, recommended participation level in practice and games and estimated time before a player can return to full participation.
In the report’s proposal, separate team doctors would have access to the “Player Health Report” and consult with team officials but would not handle treatment.
The “Player Health Report” is one of 76 recommendations.
The report also recommended that doctors treating players should be chosen by a neutral committee with representation from both the NFL and NFL Players Association. It also recommended that health issues should not be used in collective bargaining negotiations and there should be a separate short-term injured reserve for any player diagnosed with a concussion.
According to the Washington Post, Jeffrey Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of health and safety sent researchers a 33-page response rejecting the idea NFL doctors have conflicts of interest. He described the proposed changes as “untenable and impractical”.
The NFLPA funded the research, although Harvard officials insisted the research was independent of player or league influence. Further reports regarding other legal and ethical issues affecting player health are scheduled to be released.
BOSTON – (Wire Service Report – Special to Digital Sports Desk) – Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, taking advantage of injuries to the Dallas Mavericks backcourt, put on a one-man show down the stretch at TD Garden Wednesday night.
With Deron Williams, J.J. Barea and Devin Harris all out with injuries by game’s end, Thomas, who had been quiet most of the night, exploded for 20 points and a dynamic assist in the final 6:01 to carry Boston to a 90-83 victory over the Mavericks.
Thomas, who hasn’t scored fewer than 23 points in a game this season, was 3-for-13 from the floor through three quarters and then erupted, finishing with 30 points (22 in the fourth quarter), six assists and four rebounds.
With no real guards to cover him, Thomas fouled 7-footer Andrew Bogut out with a 3-point attempt (he hit the three free throws) and then drove past 6-11 Dwight Powell on the next two possession.
Thomas heard chants of “M-V-P” as he hit two free throws with 41.4 seconds left.
He scored all but four of Boston’s points down the stretch. Avery Bradley, who finished with 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, scored the other points, one a slam dunk off a behind-the-back Thomas feed.
Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews did their best to keep the Mavericks alive, but with Dirk Nowitzki on the bench in street clothes and the guards hurt, Dallas (2-8) just ran out of gas. Barnes finished with 28 points, and Matthews had 22.
Kelly Olynyk was the only other double-figure scorer for the Celtics, with 10 points.
Williams, who returned to the Dallas lineup after missing four games with a calf injury, logged 9:34 in the first half, didn’t score, missed all three shots, two from 3-point range, then left the game and didn’t return.
Berea, who had been starting in place of Williams, went to the floor in pain with a left leg injury in the fourth quarter and was helped from the floor. He had nine points and six assists in 28 minutes off the bench.
There were no free throws in the second quarter, with Dallas taking just one in the half — and that one was on a technical foul on a defensive three-second call. The Celtics (6-5) were 2-for-6 from the line. The two teams that had gone to the line the fewest times in the league combined for seven attempts in the half.
The Celtics held a 39-31 halftime lead as Dallas shot just 31.1 percent from the floor in the first 24 minutes.
It took more than two minutes for either team to score in the third quarter but Boston, which led by as many as 12 in the first half, used a 7-2 run to lead 46-34.
The Mavs then took their first free throw after an actual foul with 7:18 left in the third quarter — and four straight foul shots and a basket by Barnes cut the lead to six.
Dallas took its first lead of the game with 8:14 left in the game and actually led by four with 6:16 remaining.
Thomas, who also had five of Boston’s 19 turnovers, then took over, starting his run with a 3-pointer.
NOTES: F Dirk Nowitzki (Achilles) and G Devin Harris (toe) remained out for the Mavericks. On Nowitzki, who missed his fifth straight game, coach Rick Carlisle said: “He’s not going to play. He worked out this morning hard. He’s getting closer, but he’s not there yet.” … The Celtics were still missing F Al Horford (concussion) and F Jae Crowder (ankle), but both should be close to a return, with Crowder expected to practice Thursday. Coach Brad Stevens said both players had “a great workout” earlier Wednesday. … The Mavericks host the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. The Celtics complete their two-game homestand against the Golden State Warriors on Friday before they depart on a three-game road trip.
BOSTON – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – Boston Red Sox right-handeder Rick Porcello was named the 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
At 22-4 (.846), Porcello led the majors in wins and ranked second in winning percentage behind Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez (.882, 15-2). The 27-year-old became the 17th pitcher ever to win as many as 22 games in a season for the Red Sox, the first to do so since Martinez went 23-4 in 1999. Porcello began the season with a 20-3 record, becoming the first pitcher in franchise history to win at least 20 of his first 23 decisions.
Porcello’s honor is the seventh Cy Young Award in Red Sox history. Porcello is only the fourth Boston pitcher to earn the honor, joining Jim Lonborg (1967), Roger Clemens (1986, 1987, 1991), and Pedro Martinez (1999, 2000). He received eight of 30 first-place votes and totaled 137 points, finishing ahead of Detroit’s Justin Verlander (132 points) and Cleveland’s Corey Kluber (98 points).
After going 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA for the Red Sox in 2015, Porcello led the majors in 2016 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.91 and ranked among American League leaders in ERA (5th, 3.15), WHIP (2nd, 1.01), innings pitched (4th, 223.0), opponent batting average (6th, .230), strikeouts (8th, 189), complete games (T-3rd, 3), and walks per nine innings (2nd, 1.29). His 26 quality starts were the second-most in the American League, as well as the second-most by any Red Sox pitcher in the live ball era (since 1920), trailing only Roger Clemens’ 27 in 1990.
The Red Sox went 25-8 in Porcello’s career-high 33 starts, including 17-3 in his final 20 outings. He was 8-0 during a stretch of 13 starts from May 22-July 29, the longest win streak of his career. In 17 starts against American League East opponents, Porcello was 11-2 with a 3.28 ERA (43 ER/118.0 IP) and a 7.47 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Each of his final 10 outings against the division was a quality start (beginning June 28), as he went 7-1 with a 2.63 ERA (21 ER/72.0 IP) in those games.