– Blazers’ F Greg Oden (knees) said he plans to take off the entire 2012-13 season to rehabilitate and strengthen his knees. Oden essentially admits that during his second season with the Blazers he “pretty much became an alcoholic” while trying to cope with his best friends’ death after a car accident during college. He’s also had three microfracture knee surgeries, a nude picture scandal, a reportedly unsupportive franchise and extremely high expectations thrown at him. The article is posted on Grantland. Here are a few excerpts:
Even while adjusting to the change in culture, Greg successfully rehabbed his knee and played in 61 games the following season, averaging nine points and seven rebounds in 21.5 minutes. He wasn’t dominating like he had in high school and college, but he provided enough highlights to make Blazers fans feel optimistic about the team’s future. It seemed to me while watching Greg on TV that he would be able to recover from his surgery and in a few years’ time could be one of the premier big men in the NBA. But after longing for a veteran role model the previous season, Greg got exactly what he wanted in his second year, only the results were disastrous. That’s because it wasn’t an NBA veteran who took Greg under his wing in his second season—it was his veteran cousin from the Air Force who moved into Greg’s house in Portland.
“If you know anything about guys in the Air Force, it’s that they drink a ton. My cousin got wrapped up in the NBA lifestyle and threw parties at my house all the time. So I got wrapped up in it too. When I played well, I’d drink to celebrate. And when I played poorly, I’d drink to forget. That second year in Portland I pretty much became an alcoholic.”
After those pictures hit the Internet, Greg says he locked himself in his house for three straight days until Portland personnel knocked on his door and essentially dragged him to the gym for rehab. Going forward, he found it difficult to show his face in public, assuming everyone was thinking about the pictures and laughing to themselves.
“I wish it wouldn’t have happened. But I’m not going to apologize for it. After all, I’m human and there are worse things that 21-year-olds could do. I just got caught up with women throwing themselves at me. When a girl sends me 100 pictures, I have to send something back every now and then. I’m not an asshole.”
– Celtics’ G Paul Pierce (sprained knee) “appears to have aggravated” his sprained knee during Game 5 on Tuesday. Pierce will likely play in Game 6, although his effectiveness is expected to be limited.
– Check out Celtics’ G Rajon Rondo getting testy with a cameraman:
– Red Sox’ manager Bobby Valentine said Wednesday that OF Carl Crawford (wrist, elbow) is close to swinging. Crawford will meet the team in Boston on Thursday and undergo an evaluation at some point this weekend. If his elbow and wrist both check out fine, he should be cleared for baseball activities. The 30-year-old is hoping to return before the All-Star break.
– Nationals’ manager Davey Johnson said Wednesday that RHP Drew Storen (elbow) could begin throwing this week. Storen has been on the DL since the start of the regular season with an elbow injury that eventually required minor surgery. Johnson suggested Wednesday that the 24-year-old could begin pitching in minor league rehab games by the end of this month, indicating that Storen is on track for an early-June return.
– Yankees’ RHP Mariano Rivera (torn right ACL) explained Wednesday afternoon that the reported “complication” involving his knee was actually a blood clot in his right calf. Rivera has been taking blood thinners and should ultimately be unaffected by the clot. He’s expected to undergo surgery at some point soon to correct his torn right ACL.
– According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, extension talks between the D’Backs and impending free agent C Miguel Montero “may start up again soon.” Montero’s camp is hoping to surpass the 5-year/$75M contract given to Cardinals’ C Yadier Molina this spring. The 28-year-old is batting .278 with a .375 on-base percentage and 16 RBI in 27 games played this season for the Snakes.
– Twins’ LHP Francisco Liriano has been demoted to the bullpen. The 28-year-old posted a brutal 9.45 ERA, 2.10 WHIP and 21/19 K/BB ratio across his first 26 2/3 innings (six starts) this season.
– Blue Jays’ RHP Casey Janssen will serve as the interim closer until RHP Sergio Santos (shoulder) returns from the DL. RHP Francisco Cordero was removed from the role after blowing his third save of the season Tuesday night. Janssen has a bloated 5.23 ERA in his first 10 appearances this season, but sports a strong 11/1 K/BB ratio over 10 1/3 innings and owns a 3.21 ERA since the start of the 2010 season. Santos should be back by the end of the month.
– Padres’ LHP Cory Luebke (strained left elbow) will get a second opinion on his left elbow from Dr. Lewis Yocum on Thursday. Luebke was placed on the DL last week, but an MRI revealed ligament damage. Season-ending Tommy John surgery is on the table, but he’ll get a second opinion before a course of action is decided.
– The Royals have placed LHP Jonathan Sanchez (left biceps tendinitis) on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 8. Sanchez was lit up for six runs over three innings in his most recent start, and has an ugly 6.75 ERA and 18/22 K/BB ratio across his first six outings.
– During an appearance on WEEI in Boston on Wednesday, Red Sox’ manager Bobby Valentine said that 3B Will Middlebrooks will not play the outfield. Valentine told reporters Tuesday that the idea of using Middlebrooks in the outfield has been discussed internally, but general manager Ben Cherington later expressed hesitation about a possible position change. The 23-year-old has never played a game in the outfield in his professional career, and the majors isn’t the place to learn it. Middlebrooks will likely be optioned back down to Triple-A Pawtucket once 3B Kevin Youkilis (back) returns, and if he’s able to play the field, could get called up again later this season.
– Check out this Padres’ fan who gets a foul ball stuck in his beer, then chugs it anyways:
– Pirates’ RHP Joel Hanrahan (personal) will be placed on the bereavement list Friday due to the death of his grandmother. Hanrahan will be excused for a minimum of three days to attend the funeral and spend time with his family. The 30-year-old has a 4.66 ERA in 9 2/3 innings this year and blew his first save on Tuesday night.
– Padres’ RHP Joe Wieland (tightness in right elbow) will be placed on the DL. An MRI showed no structural damage.
– The Ducks have signed F Saku Koivu to a 1-year/$3M extension. The 37-year-old gets a $500K raise from this previous two seasons. He recorded 45 points in 2010-11 and dropped to 38 points this past campaign after scoring 52 in his first year in Anaheim. He led the team with a 52.4% faceoff percentage on 1233 total draws.
– Flyers’ F James van Riemsdyk’s new deal kicks in next season and will pay him an average salary of $4.25M over the next six years. The 23-year-old forward will be making $500K more than leading teammate Claude Giroux, despite enduring an injury-plagued campaign in 2011-12. JVR played in 43 games due to various injuries and ended up with just 11 goals and 13 assists. There also remains a chance that he’s moved this summer in order to help clear some cap space for the Flyers.
– Blues’ G Jaroslav Halak (high ankle spain) will use the summer to recover from his injury. Halak was hurt when teammate Barret Jackman inadvertently collided with him in Game 2 of the first round against the Sharks, and was forced to miss seven of the team’s nine layoff games. Head coach Ken Hitchcock said, ”Jaro has got long rehab ahead of him. He’s got a lot of work to do before he can get back on the ice and participate.” Both Halak and G Brian Elliott under contract for the next two seasons and will likely tandem again in 2012-13.
– The Stars have hired former GM Bob Gainey as a consultant to GM Joe Nieuwendyk. Gainey worked seven years as GM of the Canadiens before stepping down and assuming an advisory role under general manager Pierre Gauthier in 2010. Both were let go by the Canadiens on March 29 after the club failed to make the postseason. He returns to the team he led to a Stanley Cup as GM in 1999. He first joined the Stars as head coach of the Minnesota North Stars in 1990 and became GM in 1992. Gainey said,
“I do see it in a similar way to what I was doing with the Canadiens over the last two years. My scope will probably be broader with the Stars, but I see it as observing and familiarizing myself with the players and then hopefully offering some guidance that maybe others haven’t seen. I would like to be able to say, ‘I see this in a player,’ or ‘Maybe we could shape this player in this direction.’ Those are areas where I believe I can help.”
– The NHL’s Board of Governors has approved unanimously the sale of the Blues to a group headed by Tom Stillman.
– Predators’ F Alexander Radulov (crack in knee) said on Wednesday that he had been playing hurt and that he’ll require off-season surgery. “I got an offer to go to World Championships, but … I just want to get healthy first because I don’t have a contract. It’s a difficult situation. … I just want to get healthy and go from there … get stronger, work on my game, just be better, you know? It was (all) season. It wasn’t bad pain, but I could feel it. It doesn’t bother my game… It’s all fine.” Radulov is expected to go back to Russia now that his contract with the Predators is up. He spent the last four seasons overseas.
– Penguins’ D Zbynek Michalek (hip) underwent successful surgery on Wednesday and is expected to be ready for the start of the 2012-13 season. Michalek was listed as questionable to play in Game 6 against the Flyers, but still played–he didn’t reveal that he was hurt until after the Pens were eliminated. Michalek recorded 13 points, 144 blocked shots and an even rating in 62 games this season.
– Browns’ GM Tom Heckert said on PFT Live that he sees No. 3 overall pick RB Trent Richardson as a workhorse back. ”I think it’s pretty safe to say we draft a guy third overall, he’s going to be the guy…We thought he was such a special player, we thought it outweighed any, you know, hesitations about whether the running backs, how long they last, and all that stuff. He scores a lot of touchdowns. We think he’s going to score a lot of touchdowns for us.” Richardson will take early-down carries and should be involved on passing downs.
– Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday that the team has no plans to trade CB Mike Jenkins (shoulder surgery). Jenkins will rehab his shoulder and enter training camp as Dallas’ No. 4 cornerback. “Jenkins is not only this year, but a long-term player here as far as I’m concerned…a vital part of our plan.” Jenkins is entering the final year of his contract.
– Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugerman says RB Adrian Peterson (ACL, MCL, meniscus surgery) won’t be a lock to play in Week 1. ”I love Adrian. But let’s make this clear: I’m still not going to be quoted as saying he’s going to play in the first game. That’s not fair. I don’t know that.” Sugarman added that the goal remains to play Week 1, “but only if he’s functionally able to do it.” Already running fast in a straight line, Peterson is expected to begin cutting on his knee this week.
– After meeting with new OC Todd Haley, Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger believes the team has no intention of reverting to a run-heavy, smashmouth offense. ”In these meetings I’ve had with coach Haley he’s all about the no-huddle, and using our wide receiver weapons, and throwing the ball, and stuff like that. So I’m still confused [about the run-heavy perception].” Given that RB Rashard Mendenhall (ACL surgery) is out, a pass-heavy offence is expected. Haley’s Cardinals finished second in the NFL in pass attempts in his only two years as offensive coordinator.
– The Texans have agreed to terms with QB John Beck. Gary Kubiak’s offensive scheme is similar to Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahans’, so there shouldn’t be much of a learning curve. That siad, the 31-year-old is not the answer to any of their problems. Beck appeared in four games last season (three starts), and completed 60.6% of his passes with a 6.5 YPA, two touchdowns, and four interceptions. He’s expected to be the third stringer in Houston.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, the original plan was for Brock Lesnar to appear on last week’s RAW and quit himself, but the decision was made to bring Paul Heyman in instead. It was widely reported that Monday’s RAW was rewritten several time throughout the day in the hours leading up to the show, and Heyman’s segment was one of the parts that was constantly being edited. As for how the Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H storyline will play out, a match is currently scheduled to be the main event of SummerSlam. Beyond that, there’s a lot of secrecy surrounding the feud, with only a limited few Vince & Stephanie McMahon, John Laurinaitis, Triple H and Brock Lesnar among those in the know–even the WWE writing team is in the dark about how everything will fall into place.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, with John Cena recently turning 35 years old, there has been talk that Vince McMahon is already on the hunt for his next “John Cena.” Over the past 30 years, Vince has hand-picked Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H and now John Cena as the top babyface in the company. At 66 years old, he is still calling the shots in WWE with a hand in virtually every aspect of the company, but will be delegating more responsibilities to Triple H and Stephanie as time goes on. It’s been said that the next top baby face to carry the torch in WWE could be Vince’s final hand-picked face of WWE.
– According to the PWInsider, there was a ton of discussion within WWE about Triple H accompanying Floyd Mayweather to the ring last weekend in Las Vegas.Earlier this year, WWE Champion CM Punk was forbidden from accompanying UFC fighter Chael Sonnen to the ring when he had a fight in Chicago, so it appears a double standard was in play. Part of the reason Punk wasn’t allowed to appear at the UFC show was because WWE management was concerned nobody would acknowledge Punk as a cornerman, which would hurt his perceived star power. Despite WWE perceiving Triple H as a bigger name than CM Punk, Triple H did not get any mainstream media attention and was overshadowed by singer Justin Beiber, who was also part of Mayweather’s crew on Saturday night.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE is once again looking to sign Mexican wrestlers. With Sin Cara’s career getting off to a very rocky start, Rey Mysterio’s recent issues and even Alberto Del Rio stating that he does not plan to be wrestling in a few years, the company scouting a young, charismatic, English-speaking high-flying Mexican star.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE developmental wrestler Kassius Ohno is currently sidelined due to a cervical sprain. The injury occurred at the April 26 Florida Championship Wrestling television tapings in Tampa, Florida when Antonio Cesaro attempted a twisting dive maneuver onto numerous wrestlers but fell short and on top of Ohno’s head. He finished the match but he was taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
– Sunday on Facebook, “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero slammed Marty Jannetty online again for carelessly striking Balls Mahoney with a chair during a match for independent wrestling promotion Pro Wrestling Syndicate in March. The TNA Wrestling star wrote,
“Have anyone heard from Marty Chairnetty??? You know, the guy that single handily almost did in one night to Balls Mahoney what sex, drugs, and ECW couldn’t do in 20yrs; End His Freaking Career!?!??
“Well, If ya hear from the coon, let’em know that Pope is out of semi retirement for the moment and is hoping that he grow some balls, head to Orlando, do what Pope won’t do, and that’s kiss Hogan’s @ss, and beg for the opportunity to show up on iMPACT WRESTLING OFN and call Pope out. Hopefully he’s dressed in his 1980?s Rockers attire, otherwise Pope may not recognize him! ~ PHS.”
Jannetty caught wind of Dinero’s comments and posted a rebuttal on Wednesday via Facebook: The former WWE Superstar wrote:
“Someone get this word over to big mouth Elijah “The Dope” Burke . it’s really quite simple..take a look at the suicide dive over the top rope on Jerry Lynn(photo below)..Jerry Lynn is one hella competitor, so I brought my A+ game to that match..it took a lot out of me and out of Jerry but,the crowd of 1300 were on their feet cheering BOTH of us on as the match progressed..we gave everything we had in the ring, neither of us had much energy left to walk back to the dressing room, where we were met with a standing ovation. and word in the streets is people have been talking about it ever since..Here’s the thing you need to think about Mr Burke.. I like Jerry he’s a friend, I like Mahoney, he’s a friend(he just couldnt keep up the blistering pace) what that means to you Elijah Butts(whatever your name is this week), things in the ring with you will be a whole hella lot different..now, if you got any “Balls” like your boy Mahoney..stop talking shit and get in the ring with me. You wanna call me out on where? South Compton Street Corners? Sheeit I’ll come there to you, I probably got more friends there than you do..you gonna find out the in the worse way, I aint your average white brother..(b4 anyone hits me up with this being racist over these comments, consider I have a black girlfriend and the Compton comment is because I heard that’s where he was hidding out, or was “hangin out” this past week with TNA.. I tell you you what Mr. Butts, rather than you just bumpin your gums and flapping your yap all negative about me and what you can do about it, let me put it out there like this..ANY PROMOTER, ANYWHERE WANTS TO BOOK A “”STREET FIGHT”” BETWEEN ME MR BUTTS (OR WHATEVER HE CALLS HIMSELF , THE POPE) I’M READY TO SIGN FOR THE FIGHT RIGHT NOW..ANYWHERE..BUT HEY HOW BOUT THIS MR BUTTS, RAHWAY,NJ WHERE YOUR BOY THREW UP, I’M SURE WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO COME THERE IN HIS DEFENSE AGANST ME..BUT THIS IS OPEN CHALLENGE TO ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY, HELL ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!!..POST THIS ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE YOU WANT AND CAN(IN FACT EVERYONE DO THAT, WATCH HOW FAST WE FLUSH THIS RAT OUT).. STEP UP MR BADD AZZ ELIJAH BUTTS..POST THIS ON PLACES YOU RUN YOUR MOUTH.CAUSE WE TALK ABOUT IT, OR WE CAN BE ABOUT IT..I CAN SHOW MUCH BETTER THAN I CAN TELL YOU WHAT’S GONNA HAPPEN TO YO AZZ IF YOU GRAB THE NUTS TO STEP UP IN THE RING IN STREET FIGHT MATCH WITH ME..WAIT,QUIETLY LISTEN FOR A COUPLE SECONDS……..YOU HEAR THAT?…THAT’S THE SOUND OF MR. BUTTS SHITTING IN HIS PANTS RIGHT NOW!”
– Mick Foley stated Wednesday via Twitter that he has been advised to lessen his time in front of a computer due to his history of concussions.
“Strange but true news of the day: two leading concussion experts have advised me to cut back dramatically on my time in front of a computer. So, I’ll have to make some changes, including the amount of time I spend reading and answering my Twitter messages. Hope you understand.”
– With Linda McMahon running for Senate in Connecticut this year, Vince McMahon is once again contemplating a second “Stand Up for WWE” campaign to refute all the negative media coverage he expects his sports entertainment organization to receive. The WWE CEO has told people that the company will be more aggressive toward the persecution from “the liberal media” given what is expected to occur once the Senate race heats up. An individual close to the matter said that if Linda doesn’t perform well in the campaign, the organization will be very outspoken.
– Former WWE diva Chyna was recently interviewed by Brian Socia of The Socia Network (on Philadelphia’s Mix 106.1) and spoke freely about a number of topics, including:
How the porn business and wrestling business relate to each other.
How she got into the wrestling business
If the Triple H break-up shocked her
Did he rise to the to b/c he is with the boss’s daughter
Once Triple H has control of the company, will things change
Her relationship w/ XPac.
Her views on the current business.
Would she ever go back if WWE offered her a contract
Her trouble w/ Vince McMahon.
Her match “Good Housekeeping” match w/ Jeff Jarrett and the controversy surrounding it.
Her thoughts on current Divas Beth Phoenix and Kharma?
– Paul Heyman wrote the following on Twitter about WWE Superstars Jimmy and Jey Uso:
“Amazing seeing @WWEusos … remember, I haven’t been around for half a decade … The last time I saw these two, they were little kids doing splashes off the top rope in the Omni before the show when I managed their Dad. Yes, that makes me old, but I recognize TALENT. @WWEusos are talented. Time for these young Samoans to eat up the competition!”
– According to F4WOnline, WWE is expected to hold a Tag Team Championship Match at Over the Limit where Kofi Kingston and R-Truth defend the titles against either Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger or a multiple tag team match including Epico and Primo and possibly Darren Young and Titus O’Neil.
– According to the PWInsider, Vince McMahon was reportedly encouraged by YouTube viewing numbers for the United States Championship Match between Santino Marella and The Miz before Extreme Rules. He felt with more promotion the numbers could be even higher.
– Former WWE Champion John “Bradshaw” Layfield is pleased with Paul Heyman’s return to WWE. He tweeted,
“Big fan, and friend, of Paul, he’s great talent and mind. Great move by WWE!”
– Alicia Fox, Dolph Ziggler, Hornswoggle, Kaitlyn and Johnny Curtis responding to questions on the worst movie of all-time and “most shocking” WWE moment of all-time in the latest edition of WWE Inbox:
– Via Twitter, Paul Heyman was asked to give his opinion on the best female wrestler. He responded,
“Easy answer. @TheBethPhoenix. And she could rock in MMA, too.”
– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross is back with another blog update, which you can read in its entirety at JRsBarBQ.com. In this entry, JR posted some random thoughts about a variety of topics. Here are some highlights of what JR wrote about:
“Most underrated wrestling faction? Arguably, [Paul Heyman's] Dangerous Alliance. Loaded w/ talent.”
“Keep an eye on Antonio Cesaro who will compete Friday night on Smackdown. Potential impact player”
“Education, intelligence and natural athleticism are three elements that are closely evaluated when looking at potential WWE performers. I still believe ‘IT’cannot be taught but can be cultivated/enhanced.”
“Excited for what I perceive will be a big week in Florida next week. I’m loving working in WWE Development”
– At Tuesday’s SmackDown taping at the Roanoke Civic Center in Roanoke, Virginia, WWE had arena security confiscate signs referencing The Bella Twins at the door. The twin duo parted ways with the company last week. The former Bella Twins changed their Twitter handle Wednesday to nicoleandbri and are now referring to themselves as Nicole and Brianna.
“#BellaArmy as you can see changes have been made! Spread the word that we are @nicoleandbri now! This officially starts the new #BellaEra,” the former WWE Divas stated.
– Ezekiel Jackson responded to a Twitter user relaying an online rumor that misbehavior backstage resulted in WWE abandoning plans to push the SmackDown Superstar again. He wrote,
“Wow, and u witnessed this? Or rumours?”
– The May 5 episode of A.M. Raw garnered a 0.61 cable rating, with 723,000 viewers.