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LA Clippers’ Paul George to have extended period of rest due to right elbow injury

The LA Clippers announced on Tuesday that they are extending Paul George’s period of rest for a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.  The Clippers will see how his elbow responds to determine his timetable for return.

Back on Christmas Day, the Clippers initially said George would be evaluated for the injury in three to four weeks. The seven-time All-Star hasn’t seen the court since Los Angeles beat the Kings 105-89 on Dec. 22.  George was averaging 24.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game on the season prior to the injury.

The Clippers have gone 5-8 in George’s absence, and are also playing without Kawhi Leonard, who is rehabbing a torn ACL in his right knee for the entire season.

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LA Dodgers promote former relief pitcher Brandon Gomes to general manager

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced on Tuesday that they have promoted Brandon Gomes to general manager. The former vice president and assistant GM is the 12th general manager in franchise history. The 37-year-old Gomes has been in the Dodgers organization since 2017. Gomes is a former pitcher, playing five major-league seasons for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2011 to 2015, making 173 career relief appearances with a 4.20 ERA.

The Dodgers also hired two new assistant general managers on Tuesday — the organization promoted director of baseball operations Alex Slater, and hired Washington Football Team chief legal officer Damon Jones. Slater has been in the Dodgers front office since 2014, and worked for the San Diego Padres from 2009 to 2014.  Jones previously spent more than a decade with the Washington Nationals as senior vice president and general counsel. His full title with Los Angeles will be vice president, assistant GM and baseball legal counsel.

The Dodgers also promoted the club’s pitching coordinator, Rob Hill, to director of minor league pitching. Brandon McDaniel was promoted to vice president of player performance, and Thomas Albert to head athletic trainer.

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Las Vegas Raiders fire general manager Mike Mayock after three seasons and 25-24 record with team

The Las Vegas Raiders announced in a statement that they have fired general manager Mike Mayock.  The Raiders said: “We have relieved Mike Mayock of his duties as General Manager of the Las Vegas Raiders. We thank Mike for his contributions over the last three years in helping to form the foundation for the franchise to to build upon in its future.”  Mayock spent three seasons with the team, in which the Raiders went 25-24. They reaching the AFC Wild Card Round this season.

Las Vegas will now be searching for both a head coach and GM. Jon Gruden resigned in October after emails he sent containing racist, anti-gay and misogynistic comments became public.   Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia was made Gruden’s interim replacement, and went on to lead the Raiders to the postseason, winning each of their final four games to secure a wild-card berth, which ended with Saturday’s wild-card loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

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Former Clemson quarterback Hunter Johnson transferring back to program

Former five-star recruit Hunter Johnson will transfer back to Clemson for the 2022 season. The 24-year-old Johnson was initially a 5-star recruit in 2017, when he committed to Clemson. He played one season with the Tigers before transferring to Northwestern.

Said Johnson: “I initially reached out to Coach Swinney to honestly see if he had any GA [graduate assistant] spots. I reached out to him and he asked if I had my sixth year because of COVID-19 and I told him I still did. It wasn’t really my intention initially of calling him.It was pretty exciting and I took a day or so to think over things and it felt like it was a great situation for me… just being able to go finish  my sixth year and play at a place I’ve grown to love over the years and be part of the room.”

Johnson will serve as a backup QB for Clemson in 2022 behind D.J. Uiagalelei and Cade Klubnik.  At Northwestern, he tallied 856 passing yards and five touchdowns across nine games.

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San Francisco 49ers defeat Dallas Cowboys 23-17 in wild card match

The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers met in the NFL playoffs for the first time in over 20 years Sunday, with San Francisco defeating the Cowboys 23-17. The two teams added to their historic rivalry with a game that came down to the final play. Dallas QB Dak Prescott ran 17 yards but was unable to spike the ball in time for one final snap.

Dallas struggled throughout the matchup, with 14 penalties for 89; a 5-of-13 conversion rate on third down; and just 4.4 yards per play, and the Cowboys’ offense managed just 307 total yards. The Cowboys finished with 127 penalties on the season, the most in the NFL. San Francisco played a solid all-around game. It recorded five sacks of Prescott and ran the ball at will, with 169 yards on 38 attempts. They went 6 for 13 on third down and got four first downs from Dallas penalties.

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Buffalo Bills make history in 47-17 playoff win against New England Patriots

The Buffalo Bills made history in their 47-17 blowout victory over the New England Patriots – Buffalo never punted, kicked a field goal, nor turned the ball over, making them the first team ever in the NFL to go an entire game with no kicks, punts, or turnovers.

Buffalo’s first negative play from scrimmage came on the second-to-final play of the game; the Bills scored on their first seven possessions, which makes them the first team in NFL playoff history to accomplish that feat. The Bills are also only the second team in the Super Bowl era to score a touchdown on seven straight possessions in a playoff game. The only other team to accomplish that feat was the 2019 Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Playoffs against the Houston Texans. The 47 points were the most points a Bill Belichick coached team has ever allowed in a playoff game, including his time as a head coach and defensive coordinator.

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Outfielder Travis Snider retires from pro baseball after 8 years in the major leagues

After 15 years, 630 MLB games, and stints with three different big-league teams, MLB outfielder Travis Snider announced his retirement from professional baseball on Thursday.

Snider wrote in an Instagram post: “I have contemplated this day for a while but the time has finally come for me to hang up the spikes,” adding, “It is a beautiful struggle sharing a clubhouse with 30 other dudes going to battle 100+ times a year. I will miss that the most. But I am looking forward to being a more present husband, father, family member, and friend.”

The 33-year-old Snider broke into the big leagues in 2008 with the Blue Jays. Snider played parts of five seasons for the Jays before he was dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Brad Lincoln at the 2012 trade deadline. Snider would then go on to play in eight different MLB organizations

You can read Snider’s entire retirement post HERE

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Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard undergoes successful surgery for abdominal injury

The Portland Trail Blazers announced that star guard Damian Lillard underwent successful surgery Thursday to repair an abdominal injury, adding that Lillard will be re-evaluated in six weeks. The team announced last week that Lillard would miss games against Miami, Cleveland and Sacramento as he received evaluation and consultation regarding the abdomen injury. Lillard did not travel with Portland on its current six-game road trip.

The 31-year-old Lillard first missed a game due to the injury on Nov. 14 and was sidelined from Dec. 1-12 because of it.  He received a cortisone shot for the injury in December to help mitigate the pain, with the team officially calling it lower abdominal tendinopathy. Lillard has dealt with an abdominal injury in the past, saying that he has played the last three seasons with the same type of discomfort.

Lillard is averaging 24 points, 7.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game this season. Portland currently sits in 10th place in the Western Conference with a 16-24 record.

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Los Angeles Rams bringing former All-Pro safety Eric Weddle out of retirement for playoffs

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that former All-Pro safety Eric Weddle is coming out of retirement to join the Rams as reinforcement at the safety position as they gear up for a Super Bowl run. The move comes as starting safety Jordan Fuller is out for the season with an ankle injury.

The 37-year-old Weddle played in Los Angeles in 2019, his last season in the NFL. Weddle is a former six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, who played with the Chargers from 2007-15) and Ravens from 2016-18).  In total, Weddle played in 201 games over 13 seasons, recording 1,179 tackles, 29 interceptions and eight forced fumbles.

Weddle will play for the first time in two years on Monday, when the Rams (12-5) host the Cardinals (11-6) in the NFC Wild Card round at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN.

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Former Cubs, Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester announces retirement after 16 seasons

Left-handed pitcher Jon Lester has announced his retirement after 16 years in MLB. Lester, who turned 38, finishes with a 200-117 record and a 3.66 ERA in 452 career games, including 451 starts. He also compiled a 2.51 ERA in 26 appearances in the postseason performer. Lester helped Boston win the championship in 2007 and 2013, and led the Chicago Cubs to the title in 2016. The championship for the Cubs was the franchise’s first since 1908.

Lester was selected by Boston in the second round of the 2002 amateur draft. The five-time All-Star broke into the majors with the Red Sox in 2006, going 7-2 with a 4.76 ERA in 15 starts. Lester’s first big league season was cut short when he was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma, undergoing chemotherapy and returning to the majors in July 2007. He helped the Red Sox to the AL East title by going 4-0 with a 4.57 ERA in 12 games down the stretch, and Lester delivered in the postseason by pitching 5 2/3 scoreless innings in Boston’s victory over Colorado in Game 4 of the World Series. Lester signed a $155 million, six-year contract with Chicago after the 2014 season.

Editorial credit: Dennis Ku / Shutterstock.com