Vikings lose Cousins ââon COVID roster ahead of Packers game
WITHOUT DATE (AP) – The Minnesota Vikings placed quarterback Kirk Cousins ââon the COVID-19 reserve list on Friday, two days before their most important game of the season in Green Bay.
Cousins ââis not vaccinated. Even if he was asymptomatic, he couldn’t return in time to face the Packers. The NFL recently reduced the required quarantine period to five days for asymptomatic players. The Vikings activated backup quarterback Sean Mannion from the COVID-19 reserve roster, putting the seventh-year veteran in line to start at Lambeau Field on Sunday night.
The Vikings are 7-8 and a final wildcard game in the NFC with two weeks to go. The Packers are 12-3 and control the seed and a first-round pass.
In other NFL news:
– The Denver Broncos cleaned up their regular training for the second day in a row and instead held an indoor tour on Friday after several other players were added to the reserve / COVID-19 roster, including wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and outside linebacker Bradley Chubb. Coach Vic Fangio has said wide receiver Courtland Sutton could also be added to the virus list, which is expected to contain between 15 and 18 players when finalized later on Friday. Fangio said he was not sure he could dress the usual 45 players on Sunday when the Broncos face the Chargers, who themselves face a COVID-19 outbreak.
– The Jacksonville Jaguars have activated seven players from their COVID-19 reserve roster, including defensive starters Josh Allen, Myles Jack and Damien Wilson. Allen, Jack and Wilson have approved the protocols and will fly with the team to New England. The Jaguars still have 20 players on the COVID-19 roster, including three starting offensive linemen.
–The Cincinnati Bengals put cornerback Trae Waynes on the COVID-19 reserve ahead of their game against the AFC-leading Kansas City Chiefs.
–Quarterback Justin Fields will likely miss his second straight game with an ankle injury when the Chicago Bears host the New York Giants on Sunday. Coach Matt Nagy has said Andy Dalton will start after being sidelined with a groin injury and Nick Foles will be the replacement. Fields is listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis this week.
– The Tennessee Titans are showing serious signs of recovery after using 88 players, an NFL high this season. For the first time in weeks, the Titans have not declared any players absent on Friday before Sunday’s game against Miami. They also activated wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine off the reserve / COVID-19 list. The Titans will have left tackle Taylor Lewan and right guard Rodger Saffold back after short stints on the reserve / COVID-19 roster and missed last week’s win over the 49ers.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-CFP SEMI-FINALS
Tide vs Bearcats, Wolverines vs Bulldogs in CFP semi-final
WITHOUT DATE (AP) – The college football playoff semifinals have started in Texas with reigning national champion Alabama playing in Cincinnati at the Cotton Bowl.
The Bearcats are the first non-Power Five team to advance to the playoffs. Alabama is in its seventh semi-final in eight seasons at the four-team CFP. The Crimson Tide have won their last five semi-final games, with three national titles in that span. The Bearcats, American Athletic Conference champions, are the only undefeated national team at 13-0.
Michigan’s No.2 and Georgia’s No.3 meet Friday night for the third time in the history of these two historic programs. The Wolverines and Bulldogs took different paths to the CFP semi-final at the Orange Bowl. Michigan are the first team to reach the college football playoffs after starting an unranked season in the AP Top 25. Georgia spent much of the season as the nation’s unanimous No.1 team before stumbling on their final stage in the playoffs. Both play stingy defense and rely heavily on the running game. The Wolverines made an unexpected spree in 2021. Georgia are trying to reclaim the air of invincibility the Bulldogs have worn with them for most of the season.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-GATOR BOWL
Hartman leads 20th Wake Forest at 38-10 in Gator Bowl
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Sam Hartman had three touchdown passes, including two to tight end Brandon Chapman, and No. 20 Wake Forest outscored Rutgers 38-10 in the Gator Bowl. Hartman completed 23 of 39 passes for 304 yards. He added 21 more rushing yards and took his touchdown tally to 50 this season – 39 assists and 11 rushing.
The Demon Deacons scored on their first three records and opened a double-digit lead just before halftime. It went as planned, given that underdog Rutgers was a late replacement for 23rd-ranked Texas A&M.
Brown star of Smart as Celtics beat Suns 123-108
WITHOUT DATE (AP) – Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart each scored 24 points, and the Boston Celtics stopped a three-game slide by passing the Phoenix Suns 123-108. Brown also took 11 rebounds and Smart finished with eight assists, helping the Celtics bounce back from a 91-82 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
Robert Williams had 10 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds, and Josh Richardson added 19 points. Devin Booker scored 22 points for Phoenix and Cam Johnson had 20.
AP source: Cavs acquires Rondo from the Lakers for Valentine
NO DATE (AP) – Someone familiar with the trade told The Associated Press the Cavaliers have agreed to acquire veteran goalie Rajon Rondo in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers for swingman Denzel Valentine . The person spoke on condition of anonymity as the deal has yet to be approved by the NBA.
The Cavs needed an experienced goalie after losing Ricky Rubio to a season-ending knee injury. Four-time All-Star, Rondo, 35, averaged 3.1 points and 3.7 assists coming off the Lakers bench. He has been under league health and safety protocols and will need to be cleared before joining the Cavs.
In other NBA news:
– Boston Celtics say Hall of Famer Sam Jones has died aged 88. Jones won 10 NBA titles in his 12-year career, just behind teammate Bill Russell. A Celtics spokesperson said Jones died last night in Florida, where he was hospitalized for health reasons. The team has scheduled a minute of silence before their game against the Phoenix Suns. Jones was a North Carolina native who played for Hall of Fame coach John McLendon at North Carolina Central. Celtics general manager Red Auerbach selected him eighth overall in the 1957 draft although he never saw him play.
Hughes’ second goal gives Devils wild overtime win over Oilers
NEWARK, NJ (AP) – Jack Hughes scored 2:55 in overtime and New Jersey beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 after Devils coach Lindy Ruff tested positive for COVID-19 hours before the game.
Hughes finished with two goals and an assist. Nico Hischier, rookie Dawson Mercer and Janne Kuokkanen also scored for the Devils, who claimed their second straight victory after losing six straight. New Jersey were down before Yegor Sharanovich scored from a deflection with 32 seconds left in regulation.
Connor McDavid and Kailer Yamamoto each scored two goals for Edmonton, which lost its second in a row. Devin Shore also scored.
T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL-HIGH POINT / KENTUCKY
Grady scores 23 as Kentucky defeats Smith, High Point 92-48
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Kellan Grady spoiled Tubby Smith’s return to Rupp Arena, scoring seven 3-pointers to lead the Kentucky No.18 to a 92-48 victory over High Point.
Smith coached Kentucky for 10 years from 1997-2007, winning the NCAA title in 1998. The former High Point was hired to coach the Panthers in March 2018. Kentucky honored Smith with a raised jersey at Rupp , but it was not very hospitable during the game. Grady finished with 23 points.