– Joe Paterno’s (lung cancer) doctors said Saturday that the former Penn State coach’s condition had become “serious,” following complications from lung cancer in recent days. The winningest major college football coach, Paterno was diagnosed shortly after Penn State’s Board of Trustees ousted him November 9 in the aftermath of the child sex abuse charges against former assistant Jerry Sandusky. While undergoing treatment, his health problems worsened when he broke his pelvis — the same injury he sustained during pre-season practice last year. Family spokesperson Dan McGinn issued the following statement:
“Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications. His doctors have now characterized his status as serious. His family will have no comment on the situation and asks that their privacy be respected during this difficult time.”
Paterno’s sons Scott and Jay each took to Twitter on Saturday night to refute reports that their father had died.
“I appreciate the support & prayers. Joe is continuing to fight.”
Quoting individuals close to the family, The Washington Post reported on its website that Paterno remained connected to a ventilator, but had communicated his wishes not to be kept alive through any extreme artificial means. The paper said his family was weighing whether to take him off the ventilator on Sunday. The 85-year-old Paterno has been in the hospital since January 13 for observation for what his family called minor complications from his cancer treatments. Not long before that, he conducted his only interview since losing his job, with the Post. Paterno was described as frail and wearing a wig. The second half of the two-day interview was conducted from his bedside.
– Penguins’ F Sidney Crosby (concussion-like symptoms) traveled to California Friday to visit with Dr. Robert S. Bray, a neurological spine specialist, as part of his continuing treatment program. Crosby, 24, will undergo a series of tests with Dr. Bray. Crosby has not played since December 5. He accompanied the Pittsburgh Penguins on their trip to Florida last weekend and skated with his teammates for two days. He then went to visit with Dr. Ted Carrick, a specialist in chiropractic neurology, early this week. Crosby spent several days with Dr. Carrick in Atlanta, working on motion and balance, and continued skating there while getting treatments. Stay tuned.
– Bruins’ F Marc Savard (concussion) expressed his frustration with his concussion. ”Right now, the way I’m still feeling and the daily issues I’m having, it’s tough to see a bright future right now. It’s tough. I still have my tough days.” Savard has been experiencing both memory loss and headaches. He’s still signed through 2016-17, but while he’s not expected to retire yet, he’s expected out long-term.
– Flyers’ F Daniel Briere (concussion) has been diagnosed with a concussion and is out indefinitely. In 42 games this season, Briere has 13 goals and 17 assists for 30 points.
– Jets’ F Evander Kane (concussion) has been diagnosed with a concussion. After playing on Thursday, Kane started to complain of headaches on Friday. Head coach Claude Noel said, “He’s feeling better today, but we’re going to play it day-by-day and see how he’s doing. It’s part of the game and it’s another injury for me. You have to deal with people being in or out. How long it’s going to be, you don’t know.”
– Oilers’ D Ryan Whitney (ankle) skated before practice Saturday morning for the first time in weeks. It is the first time he has been on the ice in weeks. He remains out indefinitely, but the fact that he’s on the ice at all indicates progress.
– Blackhawks’ F Patrick Sharp (wrist) is aiming for a January 31 return date, the first game of a nine-game road trip. In other words, he’s at par with his initial timetable.
– Wild’ F Mikko Koivu (shoulder) was seen taking shots in a cage under the stands during Minnesota’s morning practice. He’s aiming to be ready by the All-Star Game.
– Rangers’ G Henrik Lundqvist (Team Alfredsson) and Leafs’ F Joffrey Lupul (Team Chara) have been named the assistant captains for the 2012 NHL All-Star Game. Lundqvist, 29, has a 20-10-4 record with a 1.93 GAA and .936 SV% with four shutouts in 34 appearances. Lundqvist is the only goaltender in NHL history to post at least 30 victories in each of his first six NHL seasons and is on track to extend that mark in 2011-12. Lupul, 28, ranks fourth among all scorers with 51 points (20 goals, 31 assists) in 46 games. Lupul already has set a single-season career high in assists and is two points from matching his previous best of 53, set with Anaheim in 2005-06.
– Canadiens’ D P.J. Subban has been fined $2,500 for his trip on Penguins’ F Chris Kunitz. The incident occurred at 17:21 of the third period of Pittsburgh’s 5-4 shootout win Friday. No penalty was assessed on the play.
– The Maple Leafs dressing room recently called G Jonas Gustavsson “the most interesting man in the world,” playing of the wildly popular Dos Equis commercials.
“He’s so interesting it’s crazy. Remember in the commercial, he’s like riding a horse on his bare feet, like standing on the horse and it’s running…I think Monster could do that. I think he could easily do that. He’s a master of so many things; he’s sick at ping-pong, golf, he can do anything and he just has his own style to doing it which makes him super-interesting. And he’s Swedish and quiet, so it’s just so mysterious you know what I mean?” said F Colby Armstrong.
“I’d love to get inside the mind of him (Gustavsson). You just pick apart all the different thoughts and the stuff that he doesn’t say, you could see it because I think he’s holding a lot in. He’s a quiet, mysterious man,” Armstrong said.
“He takes jabs at the guys, he’ll chirp back and forth. We’re all buddies with him. He’s the guy that you always want to be around,” D Luke Schenn said.
– Vladimir Tarasenko of SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL pulled off one of the craziest skills competition shootout goals ever. Tarasenko–literally–had the puck on a string. Check it out:
– The Giants have offered RHP Tim Lincecum a 2-year/$40M contract extension, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports. Lincecum’s camp countered with 2-years/$44M, so they appear to be in the same ballpark. Earlier this week, Lincecum requested $21.5M and was offered $17M by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged. Lincecum is due to hit free agency after the 2013 season and has two years of arbitration remaining.
– During an appearance on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on Friday, Pedro Gomez reported that Indians’ RHP Fausto Carmona was outed several weeks ago on a popular radio show in Santo Domingo by the mother of the real Fausto Carmona. According to the report, Carmona (aka Roberto Hernandez Heredia) had been paying the family of the real Carmona for the use of his identification and refused to increase payments after the Indians picked up his $7M club option. The U.S. government then began an investigation following the interview, and arrested Heredia when he went to apply for his work visa earlier this week. The Indians have refused comment on the situation, saying only that they are in the process of “still gathering information.” Stay tuned.
– The Rockies have acquired SS Marco Scutaro from the Red Sox for RHP Clayton Mortensen. Mortensen, 27 in April, has a 5.12 career ERA in the big leagues. Boston frees themselves from Sctuaro’s $6M salary for 2012, which will likely go towards adding a starting pitcher, possibly RHP Roy Oswalt. Scutaro, 36, will start at second base this year in Colorado. He batted .299/.358/.423 in 445 plate appearances last season. Mike Aviles and Nick Punto will presumably platoon at shortstop for the Red Sox until prospect Jose Iglesias is ready. Oswalt is said to be seeking a 1-year/$8M deal. The 34-year-old posted a 3.69 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 23 starts last season for Philly. The Tigers are also said to have interest in him.
– The Red Sox have signed RHP Daniel Bard to a 1-year contract, avoiding arbitration. The 26-year-old went 2-9 with one save and a 3.33 ERA last season.
– Marlins’ RHP Josh Johnson (shoulder surgery) is scheduled to begin throwing off a mound early next week. Johnson has been limited to flat-ground work over the past several weeks, but he’s now ready to take the next step. “I’m feeling really good. I’ll throw two (bullpen sessions) this next week and then three every week from there on in. Everything is going according to plan.” He should be at 100% by Opening Day.
– The Mets are “making a run at signing” OF Cody Ross, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Ross was looking for a 3-year contract when this offseason began, but he has since lowered his demands. The 31-year-old batted just .240/.325/.405 last season for the Giants, but he slugged 14 home runs in 121 games and has a strong .912 career OPS against lefty pitchers.
– Details regarding Lakers’ G Kobe Bryant and his ex-wife are beginning to surface. In their divorce settlement, Vanessa reportedly received $75M and three of the five mansions the two used to share. The National Enquirer also reports that Kobe cheated on Vanessa with over 100 women. Of course, back in 2003, Vanessa backed Kobe following a rape trial that went public. Given that the two didn’t sign a prenuptial agreement, Vanessa had every chance to bail then and take him for everything he’s worth.
– Mavericks’ F Dirk Nowitzki (knee) is being shut down for the next four games in order to work on his conditioning and rest a sore knee. He won’t return until Sunday, January 29 at the earliest.
– Nets’ F Damion James (right foot) will have surgery on Tuesday to replace the screw in his surgically-repaired foot, and is out indefinitely. The screw has given James trouble since last season and even the extended offseason didn’t eliminate the problem.
– Jazz’ F Derrick Favors has been fined $25K for throwing a ball into the stands during the third quarter of a 94-91 loss Thursday night against Dallas. The incident occurred with 24.8 seconds remaining in the third in a physical game that saw four technicals called. Favors, a second-year pro, acknowledged he lost his cool after getting called for another offensive foul.
– The Rams have hired Brian Schottenheimer as OC. Schottenheimer will replace Josh McDaniels, who came under heavy criticism during his one season in St. Louis. He’ll have to re-buold QB Sam Bradford, and turn around an offence that scored a league-low 193 points in 2011.
– Colts’ owner Jim Irsay tweeted that the club expects to decide on a new head coach next week.
“The (hash)1 pick debate will rage on,what a great year to have it..the HC search is wide ranging n thorough,decision by mid 2 late next week.”
– WWE aired a commercial during Friday’s SmackDown advertising the return of Randy Orton (back) for next week’s show. Orton has been sidelined since December 28.
– Jim Ross was involved in an automobile accident on Saturday. He was not injured. Ross tweeted:
“Bad day..got hit by a pickup..totaled my Escalade or so body shop thinks. Seat belt and airbag saved me.”
– Skip Sheffield competed as his Terminator gimmick “Ryback” in the opening match at Friday’s WWE SuperShow in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He defeated Alex Riley with a series of power moves and a spear.
– WWE Hall of Famer Tully Blanchard appeared on Busted Open, which airs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Sirius 92 and XM 208 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
Why Barry Windham was chosen over other members for the WWE Hall of Fame: “The most dynamic group that we had was with Barry. You had more guys that could perform with more opponents. Big, small, all sizes and that was the most powerful group we had. Lex Luger was an addition. He was just coming in to work for Crockett as Ole was on his way out. So it was a place to put Luger to try to get him instantly to a star status since he had such a great look and it worked and it worked for quite a while. But when we switched him to babyface and Barry came back as a heel you had four guys that who could perform with Andre the Giant or the Rock and Roll Express or The Road Warriors. We could go out with all shapes and sizes and go out and tear the house down, and that is where your dynamics and your benefit for your promotion came.
Triple H possibly inducting The Four Horsemen: “He just shared with me in brief that he watched and appreciated everything we did, not just we, but he was talking about me specifically. Before he got into wrestling or at the start of his career, as he went in, if that is what he watched and that is what he molded himself after, then he would have a great amount of input on how the images of the Four Horsemen blended together and affected him.”
Thoughts on JJ Dillon: “JJ is definitely one of the finest managers in my opinion, if not the best manager that the wrestling business has ever had, and I have known some good ones. But a lot of the very good ones were fighting for center stage with talent many times, and JJ never did that. He complemented everything that was done and not taking away from what the guy was doing in the ring or what the guys were doing in the ring. That made it very, very simple to go out and perform, just like you’re out there by yourself or in a tag team match and JJ could put the gas to the fire when you needed it.”
What he expects the night of the Hall of Fame: “Right now the biggest honor is to be in the WWE Hall of Fame, in the wrestling business. There will be twenty thousand people at the American Airlines Center that Saturday night watching it. If I am still on this earth, I’ll be there, and I’m planning on having my four children there with me. They were born after my wrestling career and they have not really grabbed hold of the fact of what I used to do. With the magnitude of this setting and with Wrestlemania and Saturday night and Fan Axxess. My children have never seen me in that big of a setting. They have been in a couple of autograph settings with me, but this is going to be a little eye opening for them.”
– Kofi Kingston partnered with Mason Ryan against WWE Tag Team Champions Epico and Primo at Friday’s Raw live event in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Ryan took the pinfall following the Backstabber. WWE announced Tuesday that Kingston’s “Air Boom” partner Evan Bourne would be suspended for 60 days for his second violation of the company’s Talent Wellness Program.
– Former WWE Diva Maryse Ouellet turns 29 today. Following her release from last October, she announced plans for a clothing and jewelry line called House of Maryse.
– TNA star Mr. Anderson returned to the ring at Friday’s live event in Worcester, Massachusetts. Several other TNA stars also returned to action, including Garrett Bischoff (losing to Robbie E.) and Shannon Moore (he won a 3-way match with Kid Kash and Jesse Sorensen). Anderson, sporting a new look, teamed with Rob Van Dam to defeat Mexican America. Check out this video footage of Anderson’s return:
– The January 19th episode of TNA Impact Wrestling scored a 1.20 cable rating with 1.68 million viewers. Hour 1 did a 1.20 rating while hour 2 did a 1.19 rating.