#SportsReport: Aaron Rodgers Medically Cleared To Return To Action
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers says on Instagram that he has been "medically cleared to return" to action after missing seven games with a broken right collarbone. Rodgers was hurt during a loss to Minnesota on Oct. 15 and had surgery five days later. He could suit up for Sunday's big game against Carolina as the 7-6 Packers try to grab a playoff berth.
The Packers went 3-4 in Brett Hundley's seven starts, including back-to-back overtime wins over Tampa Bay and Cleveland.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James decided to be the team's top ball distributor tonight while Dwyane Wade sat out with a sore left knee. James tied a career-high with 17 assists while delivering 25 points and seven rebounds in the Cavs' 15th victory in 16 games, 123-114 over Atlanta. James also shot 11-for-13 from the field and received a standing ovation as he was removed from the game with 2 ½ minutes left.
Kyle Korver hit six of Cleveland's season-high 20 3-pointers and finished with 19 points. Kevin Love scored all 17 of his points by halftime and hauled in 12 rebounds as the Cavaliers improved to 20-8.
Taurean Prince scored 24 points for the Hawks, who trailed by 24 in the final period and fell to an NBA-worst 6-21.
Meanwhile, the Spurs were losers in Kawhi Leonard's season debut. J.J. Barea scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half as the Mavericks beat San Antonio 95-89.
Leonard scored 13 points on 6 of 12 shooting while playing 16 minutes in his first action since missing the first 27 games with a right quadriceps injury. He played about five minutes in each of the first three quarters before sitting out the fourth.
Checking out Tuesday's other NBA finals:
— Joel Embiid scored 28 points in his return to the lineup to lead the 76ers past the Timberwolves 118-112 in overtime. Embiid forced overtime by hitting two free throws in the closing seconds of regulation and provided seven points in the extra period.
— Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert each scored 16 points in the Nets' 103-98 comeback win against the Wizards. Washington erased a 14-point, third-quarter deficit and went ahead by five before falling to 4-5 without injured guard John Wall.
— The Knicks are back over .500 after Kristaps Porzingis poured in 37 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead New York's 113-109 win over the Lakers. Michael Beasley had 13 points, including the tiebreaking bucket, and an assist in the extra period.
— The Pistons absorbed their seventh straight loss as Jamal Murray torched them for 28 points and Trey Lyles added 20 to lead the Nuggets' 103-84 win at Detroit. Pistons starters hit just 24 percent with 11 turnovers in the first half after shooting 26 percent in Sunday's loss to the Celtics.
— George Hill had 18 points and seven rebounds to push the Kings over the Suns 99-92. Zach Randolph added 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists, for Sacramentno, which trailed by five with six minutes left before scoring 13 straight points.
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Fifteenth-ranked Seton Hall and No. 25 Cincinnati picked up victories on Tuesday.
Angel Delgado posted his 57th career double-double by providing 18 points and 11 rebounds to the Pirates' 84-61 rout of Saint Peters. Desi Rodriguez scored 17 points for Seton Hall, who allowed just 23 points in the first half and improved to 9-1.
Cincinnati was a 65-50 winner over Mississippi State behind 24 points and eight rebounds from Jacob Evans III. The Bearcats bounced back from consecutive losses that dropped them 14 spots in the AP poll.
The NHL's two conference leaders in St. Louis on Tuesday, and the top team in the East knocked off the No. 1 squad in the West.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a league-best 22-6-2 record following a 3-0 whitewash of the Blues. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 32 shots in anchoring the Lightning's fifth consecutive win. It was Vasilevskiy's third shutout of the season and the seventh of his career.
Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point scored for Tampa Bay before Tyler Johnson added an empty netter.
The Lightning expanded their lead in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference races to five points over Toronto. The Central Division-leading Blues have 44 points, three ahead of Winnipeg and one better than Los Angeles for the West lead.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— The Kings' eight-game winning streak ended as Taylor Hall scored twice in the Devils' 5-1 rout of visiting Los Angeles. Cory Schneider made 16 saves in helping the Devils end a two-game losing streak.
— Vegas is within three points of the Pacific Division-leading Kings following the Golden Knights' 3-2 shootout loss to Carolina. Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 shots in his first game since suffering a concussion two months ago, but he allowed shootout goals by Phillip Di Giuseppe and Brock McGinn.
— The Blackhawks pulled out a 3-2 win against the Panthers on Patrick Kane's goal 2:24 into overtime. Jonathan Toews tied it at 2 with 6:02 left in the third period before Kane sent Chicago to its third straight win.
— Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists as the Oilers clobbered the Blue Jackets 7-2. Mark Letestu, Matt Benning and Jesse Puljujarvi each had a goal and an assist in the rout.
— John Carlson's second-period goal snapped a 1-1 tie before the Capitals scored three times in the third to beat the Avalanche 5-2. Evgeny Kuznetsov had three assists and Braden Holtby stopped 22 shots in Washington's fifth win in six games.
— Sean Couturier scored the tiebreaking goal with 2:55 left before the Flyers completed a 4-2 win against the Maple Leafs. Couturier and Claude Giroux each had a goal and an assist for Philadelphia, which ended a six-game home losing streak and won its fourth in a row overall since a 10-game skid.
— Mikael Granlund scored the winning goal in the fifth round of a shootout as the Wild nipped the Flames 2-1. Matt Cullen scored in regulation and Alex Stalock stopped 16 shots after replacing Devan Dubnyk, who left after one period because of an injury.
— Second-period goals by Evander Kane, Kyle Okposo and Benoit Pouliot carried the Sabres past the Senators 3-2. Rasmus Ristolainen had two assists as Buffalo extended its season-best point streak to four games at 2-0-2.
In other NFL news:
— NFL speedster and kick return specialist Devin Hester has announced his retirement at age 35, saying on social media that he realized it was time. Hester holds the NFL record for kick return touchdowns with 20, doing it with the Bears, Falcons, Ravens and Seahawks after being drafted by Chicago in the second round of the 2006 draft. He is the third-leading punt returner in NFL history and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2014.
— The Steelers have placed linebacker Ryan Shazier on injured reserve because of a spinal injury suffered in a victory over Cincinnati on Dec. 4. The 25-year-old Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery last week and remains in the hospital. The team has not released the exact nature of Shazier's injury and his long-term prognosis.
— The agent for Redskins safety Su'a Cravens says the former second-round pick has been cleared to resume football activities and plans to play next season. Cravens left the Redskins in early September as he mulled retirement.
— Three former NFL players and current NFL Network analysts have been suspended after a woman who worked as a wardrobe stylist at the network accused them of sexual misconduct in a lawsuit. The NFL has identified the three as Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor and Heath Evans and says the three are suspended pending an investigation into the allegations. Former NFL Network executive Eric Weinberger, former NFL Network analysts Donovan McNabb, Eric Davis, and Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, and former NFL Network employee Marc Watts also are named in the lawsuit.
The New York Yankees have given themselves payroll flexibility by sending third baseman Chase Headley, pitcher Bryan Mitchell and cash to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Jabari Blash.
The deal comes a day after the Yankees finalized the acquisition of NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton from Miami. Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is intent on getting under the $197 million tax threshold next year, and New York still may attempt to re-sign left-hander CC Sabathia or add another starting pitcher.
Also in the majors:
— Reliever Brandon Morrow has agreed to a two-year contract with the Cubs. Morrow was one of the National League's top setup men last season, going 6-0 with a 2.06 ERA and two saves in 45 appearances for the pennant-winning Dodgers. He could step into the closer role for Chicago if Wade Davis leaves via free agency.
— Longtime major league umpire Dale Scott has retired at age 58, telling The Associated Press it was a pretty easy decision. The veteran crew chief missed nearly the entire 2017 season after a foul ball him hard in the mask during an April 14 game in Toronto, causing Scott's second concussion in nine months and fourth in five years. Scott worked 3,897 regular-season games and was a crew chief for 16 seasons, half his career.
Memphis defeated UAlbany 67 to 58.
The younger brothers of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball are no longer eligible to play college ball.
A basketball club from Lithuania says it has signed LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball to pro contracts. The move comes after LiAngelo left UCLA , where he was suspended after being arrested for shoplifting during the team's season-opening trip to China.
Their father, LaVar Ball, pulled 16-year-old LaMelo out of Chino Hills High recently.
The Russian Olympic Committee has formally given its blessing to the country's athletes to compete under a neutral flag at the upcoming Pyeongchang Games.
The IOC announced sanctions last week in response to Russian doping at the 2014 Sochi Games. Russians will compete under the Olympic flag as "Olympic Athletes from Russia."
Some Russians will formally be invited by the IOC to compete as individual athletes, though the ROC will submit rosters of its preferred teams.
Mississippi quarterback Shea Patterson says he will transfer to Michigan, where coach Jim Harbaugh has gone through three starting QBs this season.
Patterson threw for 2,259 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions in seven games this season, missing the final month due to a right knee injury.
Victoria Azarenka has been awarded a wild card for the Australian Open.
The 2012 and '13 Australian Open champion has been involved in a custody dispute involving her son Leo, who was born last Dec. 19. She hasn't competed anywhere since Wimbledon, where she lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10.
Azarenka has played only six matches this year and is ranked 208th.
Former NHL defenseman Zarley Zalapski has died at age 49.
The Calgary Flames announced the death on Tuesday but did not give a cause.
Zalapski scored 99 goals and 384 points in 637 games for the Flames, Penguins, Whalers, Canadiens and Flyers from 1987 to 2000. He was named to the all-rookie team, participated in the 1993 NHL All-Star game and represented Canada in the 1988 Winter Olympics.
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