The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens were supposed to provide the only decent matchup on the NFL's Thanksgiving Day schedule. That game has been pushed back to Sunday due to coronavirus issues with Baltimore.
NBC will still air the big AFC North showdown. Baltimore has placed seven players on the COVID-19 reserve list since last weekend, including defensive end Calais Campbell and offensive linemen Patrick Mekari and Matt Skura, who were added Wednesday. The COVID-19 reserve list is both for players who have tested positive for the coronavirus, and those who had close contact with a case. The Ravens also have been doing team work virtually.
In other virus-related NFL news:
The Browns are practicing in shifts and holding players out as a precaution while dealing with a new round of COVID-19 issues. The team temporarily closed its headquarters in Berea, Ohio, after another player tested positive. Coach Kevin Stefanksi said practice ahead of Sunday's game at Jacksonville will be spaced out to reduce the risk of possible spread. Star defensive end Myles Garrett is among four players on the COVID-19 reserve list.
The Jaguars will be without three defensive coaches against Cleveland this weekend because of COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. Coach Doug Marrone says defensive coordinator Todd Wash, defensive line coach Jason Rebrovich and defensive assistant Dwayne Stukes will not be available.
The Bengals have added receiver Auden Tate and offensive lineman B.J. Finney to the COVID-19 reserve list. Also Wednesday, the team returned cornerback Winston Rose to the practice squad from the list.
The Falcons have activated defensive end Dante Fowler from the COVID-19 reserve list. Fowler was placed on the list Nov. 14 during the team's bye week and didn't play last Sunday in a loss to the New Orleans Saints. Receiver Laquon Treadwell is now the only Atlanta player on the list.
Dolphins defensive lineman Christian Wilkins practiced Wednesday after being activated off the COVID-19 reserve list. Wilkins missed the past two games after playing more than half of the team's defensive snaps in the first eight games.
In other NFL news:
Sam Darnold could be getting closer to returning to the huddle. The Jets quarterback was limited in practice Wednesday but there's optimism Darnold's injured right shoulder might be healed in time to play against the Dolphins on Sunday at home.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are going with quarterback Mike Glennon against Cleveland, giving the NFL journeyman his first start in more than three years. Coach Doug Marrone made the announcement Wednesday, three days after he considered benching rookie Jake Luton during a 27-3 loss to unbeaten Pittsburgh. Luton completed 16 of 37 passes for 151 yards and four interceptions against the Steelers.
The Bengals could be without lead back Giovani Bernard for Sunday's game against the Giants. The team said Bernard was held out of practice with a concussion Wednesday.
Colts quarterback Philip Rivers is dealing with a sore toe, but it's not expected to end his streak of consecutive starts at 234. He's taking Wednesday and Thursday off from practice so he'll be ready to make start No. 235 in Sunday's crucial AFC South showdown against Tennessee.
Former Cardinals head coach and offensive line coach Jim Hanifan has died at 87. Hanifan went 39–49–1 with the Cardinals from 1980-85, reaching the playoffs in 1982. He won Super Bowls as an assistant with the 1991 Redskins and 1999 Rams.
Cowboys strength coach Markus Paul has died at 54, a day after being taken to the hospital following a medical emergency at the team's facility. Paul was in his third season with the Cowboys after serving as a strength and conditioning coach for four other NFL teams. The team said the cause of death was pending.
Saturday's Iron Bowl will be without its biggest star. Alabama coach Nick Saban has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Crimson Tide's game with No. 22 Auburn. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will oversee preparations within the football building and lead the team on game day. Team physician Dr. Jimmy Robinson and head trainer Jeff Allen said in a joint statement that the positive test came Wednesday. Saban said he has had a runny nose, but no major symptoms. When he tested positive last month before a game with Georgia, he didn't have any symptoms. Saban ended up being cleared to coach in that game after subsequent tests leading up to the game came back negative.
In other virus-related college football news:
No. 7 Cincinnati's game at Temple this weekend has been canceled as both teams deal with COVID-19 issues. The American Athletic Conference said the game scheduled for Saturday could not be made up on Dec. 5 because the league's protocols "would not allow for a sufficient number of players to be available for competition on that day." The unbeaten and conference-leading Bearcats' next game is scheduled for Dec. 12 at No. 24 Tulsa.
It appears the Big Game between Cal and Stanford was going to go on as planned Friday. The rivalry game between Oregon and Oregon State, formerly known as the Civil War, was also still set for Friday.
The Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State has been canceled. The Huskies scrambled to schedule a game with Utah for Saturday night, made possible because the Utes' Sunday meeting against Arizona State was also canceled.
The men's college basketball schedule is in full swing despite the coronavirus pandemic, although a few season openers were either postponed or canceled. Fourth-ranked Virginia opened Mohegan Sun’s “Bubbleville” event in Connecticut with an 89-54 rout of Towson, behind Trey Murphy III's 21 points. Murphy was in action a day after learning he was cleared to play for the Cavaliers. Fellow transfer Sam Hauser added 19 points and Jay Huff added 14 points for the Cavs, who never trailed and led by 23 at halftime.
In other Top 25 season openers:
No. 3 Villanova overcame a nine-point, second-half deficit to beat Boston College 76-67. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Wildcats, while Collin Gillespie added 15 points.
Luka Garza had 26 points and 10 rebounds in fifth-ranked Iowa's 97-67 romp over North Carolina Central. The senior center had just four points in the first 10 1/2 minutes before the Hawkeyes took control with a 20-2 run near the end of the first half.
Nate Reuvers had 18 points and nine rebounds to guide seventh-ranked Wisconsin to a 77-67 decision over Eastern Illinois. Ben Carlson came off the bench to score 13 points for the Badgers, and D'Mitrik Trice added 11.
Ayo Dosunmu scored a career-high 28 points and freshman Adam Miller also scored 28 as eighth-ranked Illinois ripped North Carolina A&T, 122-60. Dosunmu had 10 rebounds for his second career double-double, and Miller was 6 of 8 from 3-point range as Illinois fell five points short of its record scoring total.
No. 10 Kentucky cruised to an 81-45 win over Morehead State as Brandon Boston Jr. furnished 15 points and seven rebounds. Devin Askew and Terrence Clarke each added 12 points for the Wildcats, whose roster features 10 new faces and seven highly-regarded freshmen.
Foster Loyer set career highs with six 3-pointers and 20 points to lead 13th-rated Michigan State in an 83-67 win over Eastern Michigan. Transfer Joey Hauser had 15 points and nine rebounds in his debut with the Spartans.
Matt McClung finished with 20 points in his debut to lead No. 14 Texas Tech in a 101-58 laugher against Northwestern State. Fellow transfer Marcus Santos-Silva had 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Red Raiders, who had runs of 17-5 and 15-4 in the first half.
Miles McBride scored a career-high 23 points as No. 15 West Virginia held off South Dakota State, 79-71. Sean McNeil added a career-high 16 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the field.
Freshman guard Caleb Love delivered 17 points and No. 16 North Carolina went on a 17-0 spurt in the second half to beat College of Charleston 79-60. Fellow rookie Day'Ron Sharpe added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Tar Heels, who shot just 39.4% but dominated the boards after halftime to finally pull away.
Marcus Sasser scored 25 points and Tramon Mark added 22 with eight rebounds for 17th-ranked Houston in an 89-45 pounding of Lamar. Sasser shot 9 of 11, including 7 of 9 on 3-pointers.
Remy Martin poured in 26 points and freshman Marcus Bagley made three key free throws in the final minute to lead No. 18 Arizona State to a 94-88 win versus Rhode Island. Bagley added 16 points while Taeshon Cherry, Josh Christopher and Holland Woods added 11 apiece in a game that featured 81 combined free throws, 55 fouls and two technicals.
No. 19 Texas stormed past Texas-Rio Grande Valley, 91-55 as Courtney Ramey had 20 points and six assists. Matt Coleman chipped in 17 points and Ramey was 7 of 11 from the field, helping the Longhorns shoot 57% for the game.
Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel dropped in 15 points apiece and San Diego State used its disruptive defense to beat No. 22 UCLA, 73-58. Mitchell and Schakel hit 3-point shots early in the second half to open a 40-28 lead.
Justice Sueing contributed 19 points and No. 23 Ohio State opened on a 22-0 run before completing a 94-67 dismantling of Illinois State. E.J. Liddell had 16 points, while Duane Washington and Zed Key each scored 12 for the Buckeyes.
Freshman center Cliff Omouryi had 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting and added 11 rebounds to help Rutgers beat Sacred Heart, 86-63. Ron Harper Jr. had 18 points and Montez Mathis added 17 for the Scarlet Knights, who were ranked in the AP preseason poll for the first time in 41 years.
Chaundee Brown scored 18 of his 19 points in the second half of his Michigan debut, a 96-82 victory against Bowling Green. Isaiah Livers added 17 points and Mike Smith contributed 16 for the 25th-rated Wolverines.
Second-ranked Baylor's game against Arizona State was canceled, as were ninth-ranked Duke versus Gardner Webb and No. 20 Oregon against Eastern Washington.
The Colorado Rockies have traded pitcher and Latham native Jeff Hoffman and minor league pitcher Case Williams to the Cincinnati Reds, for relief pitcher Robert Stephenson and minor league outfielder Jameson Hannah. The 27-year-old Hoffman, who attended Shaker High School, was 2-1 with a 9.28 ERA in 16 relief appearances last season.
The National Women’s Hockey League season will be limited to a two-week stretch and played in a bubble in Lake Placid, New York, as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. The league’s sixth season will be from Jan. 23 to Feb. 5. Each of the six teams will play each other once, followed by a playoff round with the top four advancing to Isobel Cup semifinals, followed by a one-game final. The games will be played without the presence of fans at the Herb Brooks Arena, which hosted hockey competition at the 1980 Winter Games. The league decided upon a constricted schedule because of the uncertainties and safety concerns raised by the coronavirus pandemic. Another issue is the restrictions on cross-border travel into Canada.
In other hockey news:
New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk has decided to retire as a result of an eye injury sustained last season. The 36-year-old Boychuk required stitches and plastic surgery after being cut across his right eyelid by the skate of Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen on March 3. It was the second injury to the same eye in Boychuk's career. Boychuk returned for the playoffs in August before sustaining a head injury in the preliminary round series opener against Florida.
The Stanley Cup champion Lightning have re-signed defenseman Mikhail Sergachev to a three-year, contract worth about $4.8 million per season. The 22-year-old skated in 70 games last season, scoring a career-high 10 goals and finishing with 34 points.
Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona has died at 60. Maradona's spokesman said he died Wednesday of a heart attack, two weeks after being released from a hospital in Buenos Aires following brain surgery. The office of Argentina's president said it will decree three days of national mourning. Maradona was among the best players in history and led his country to the 1986 World Cup title before later struggling with cocaine use and obesity. One of the most famous moments in the history of the sport, the "Hand of God" goal, came when the diminutive Maradona punched the ball into England's net during the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals.
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