Benteke to have op in Belgium

first_img “I’ve been told the surgeon is really highly regarded, so as long as the job is done right and everything goes swimmingly then he will be okay.” Ahead of Saturday’s Barclays Premier League trip to Crystal Palace, Lambert will at least have three other key players available who sat out the 2-1 loss at home to Fulham last weekend. Striker Gabby Agbonlahor and midfielders Fabian Delph and Karim El Ahmadi should all go straight back into the starting line-up for the game at Selhurst Park. Lambert said: “They all trained this week and they’re all fine.” Benteke ruptured his Achilles tendon in training last Thursday, and has returned to his home in Belgium for the operation. Manager Paul Lambert said: “Our doctor (Roddy Macdonald) is over in Belgium and he has spoken with the surgeon, and it’s pretty imminent he will get it done – today, tonight or tomorrow. Press Association Crocked Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke is poised to go under the knife ahead of the weekend. “Then after that it’s all about the rehabilitation with him. When it’s a long-term injury you have good days, bad days, like everyone else when they are out injured for a long time, but he’ll be fine.” With Benteke out of the World Cup, and unlikely to return to match action until October at the earliest, the short-term shock will affect him. Lambert believes, however, knowing the player as he does he will be eager to return as quickly as possible, not just for club, but also for country and qualification for the next European Championship. “It’s probably just sinking in now he is going to miss the World Cup, which is a major blow for him,” added Lambert. “But he is in a generation of Belgian players who will qualify for a few more tournaments down the line. “He is still a young guy in that group, and he will come back totally strong, given the way he is as a guy and his physical aspect. “Of course, everybody is different as to how they want to progress, and how quick their body heals. “But looking at Christian and the way he is as a pro he will knuckle down and work really hard to get back. last_img read more

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Stanford offers USC a chance to restart

first_imgOK — let’s try this again.The Trojans escaped with a season-opening win last week, battling back from behind to beat Western Michigan 49-31, but it was an inauspicious beginning for a team with championship aspirations. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold also got off to a sputtering start after being the preseason Heisman Trophy favorite, throwing two interceptions in a home game for the first time in his career. Surviving the unexpected Bronco stampede actually cost USC two spots in the AP Poll, as Oklahoma, Penn State and Clemson all leapfrogged the Trojans, who now sit at No. 6.Head coach Clay Helton and his squad brushed off last weekend as a learning experience, but they must get through their growing pains before Saturday night. Conference rival No. 14 Stanford is in town seeking its fourth consecutive win against USC, and the Cardinal don’t fear the Coliseum: They’ve won in four of their last five visits there, and most recently, they hung 41 points on the Trojans in 2015. A repeat of Week 1’s performance would lay waste to all the momentum Helton’s team has generated since last October.So we’re at a tipping point. It sounds melodramatic to say in Week 2, but it’s true. With no bye week during the regular season and a strong schedule, USC faces a steep climb to the playoff if it comes up short against Stanford. It would likely have to win out — ten consecutive victories — coming off two shaky showings and with back-to-back road trips to Cal and Washington State on the horizon.Beat the Farm, on the other hand, and all the first-game overreactions go out the window, and business resumes as usual for the Darnold-era Trojans. Based off the current AP rankings, Stanford is the most formidable opponent on USC’s schedule. Once again, it’s early, but a victory this weekend would be a significant boost to the team’s confidence and playoff resume.But besting the Cardinal has always been a challenge, even during the Trojans’ golden age under former head coach Pete Carroll (this year marks the ten-year anniversary of Stanford’s upset against USC in 2007, when the Cardinal entered the Coliseum as 41-point underdogs). Western Michigan exposed multiple holes in USC’s game last week, including an inconsistent air attack, a still-green offensive line and an unconvincing run defense. Time can sort these issues out, but that’s not a luxury Helton and company currently have. They must put the pieces together on the fly if they are to live up to their lofty expectations.As Darnold’s introduction proved last fall, the Trojans are capable of adjusting in-season to great effect. And they have the talent to do so again this season — especially on the defensive side of the ball, where they have numerous established impact players: junior linebackers Cam Smith and Porter Gustin, junior cornerback Iman Marshall and junior safety Marvell Tell III, who grabbed the game-clinching pick-six last Saturday.On the offense, however, question marks abound. The run game looks healthy, as the Trojans look to establish another two-headed rushing monster with junior Ronald Jones II and freshman Stephen Carr. Junior wide receiver Deontay Burnett appears set to continue his breakout 2016 campaign, and despite his relative struggles, we know better than to doubt Darnold. But aside from that quartet, no offensive player really appeared a threat during the season opener. Many assumed Darnold’s presence would be more than enough to cope with JuJu Smith-Schuster’s departure to the NFL. One week into the season, it appears they underestimated the star wideout’s impact.Fortunately, it appears USC may have found a weapon to kick-start their aerial offense. Freshman wide receiver Joseph Lewis IV was Helton’s highest-profile recruit alongside Carr last spring, and there were whispers around practice that he could be ready to take on a bigger role. At six-foot-two, 205 pounds, Lewis offers wingspan that Darnold doesn’t get throwing to the likes of Burnett and redshirt senior receiver Steven Mitchell Jr. Furthermore, sophomore Michael Pittman Jr. is about a week away from returning from an ankle sprain, adding a six-foot-four, 215-pound frame to the mix in the near future. Lewis and Pittman’s presence could bring a sizeable boost the Trojans’ vertical, big-play situations — an explosiveness USC seemed to lack against Western Michigan.It’s obviously no easy task for a team to maintain a lethal ground game and passing offense alongside an in-sync offensive line and shutdown defense. But the Trojans are also one of the few programs that even have the depth of talent to achieve that kind of well-rounded strength. That’s what made them a popular preseason pick for the national championship. That’s what convinced more than 60,000 fans to flock to the Coliseum in ungodly hot weather last weekend, and that’s what will bring Trojan Nation out in full force this Saturday.They’re here because they believe USC has championship chops. Let’s see if the Trojans can prove it against the Cardinal.last_img read more

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Zion Williamson gets surprise gift, note from Drew Brees

first_imgAfter Zion Williamson was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, he walked across the stage and ended an emotional interview with ESPN’s Maria Taylor saying, “let’s dance.”There was another New Orleans star listening. NBA Draft 2019: Zion Williamson at a loss for words after being selected by Pelicans “Geez, thank you Drew Brees,” he said. “It’s a nice gift, sheesh.”After arriving in New Orleans, @ZionWilliamson received a gift from @DrewBrees 🔥#LetsDance @Saints pic.twitter.com/qR5yqcdCNb— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) June 25, 2019Williamson went on to say he will collect a lot of jerseys during his career, and posed one question: “Wow, passing the torch. Am I ready to take that on?”David Griffin, Pelicans’ executive VP of basketball operations, recently said the team won’t be solely Williamson’s. “This is not somebody who is supposed to be the savior of this franchise,” Griffin told reporters. “That’s not what this is. “This is a 19-year-old kid, who’s going to spend this year learning how to play winning NBA basketball. This is Jrue Holiday’s team. Zion is going to be part of learning how to win at a really high level.”Whether or not Williamson becomes the brightest star on the team has yet to be determined but he certainly has the support of another big talent in Brees. On Tuesday, Williamson was taken aback again as he was surprised by a signed jersey from Saints quarterback Drew Brees. In a video captured by the Pelicans, Williamson walked into a hotel room singing and as he turned the corner the framed jersey was positioned in the middle of the room with a note that read, “Zion, welcome to the family. Let’s dance.”Williamson’s reaction was priceless, and he admitted it was his first jersey from a professional athlete. Related News NBA Draft 2019: Zion Williamson wasn’t selected to be Pelicans’ ‘savior’ NBA Draft 2019: Zion Williamson plans to seek LeBron James’ advicelast_img read more

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Seahawks sign Marshawn Lynch before showdown with 49ers

first_imgNew/old Seahawks’ RB Marshawn Lynch signed a deal for this year only – the last regular-season game and the postseason, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 24, 2019MORE: NFL Power RankingsWhile it’s unclear whether Lynch still has any juice left in his legs, acquiring a fan favorite and longtime locker room fixture could at the very least serve as a morale boost heading into Sunday’s rivalry showdown against San Francisco.Expect a raucous ovation at CenturyLink Field when Lynch is introduced. The Seahawks brought back the most popular running back in franchise history Monday night, signing Marshawn Lynch to add depth to their depleted backfield.An agreement materialized after running back Chris Carson hurt his hip this past weekend, joining fellow ball-carriers Rashaad Penny and C.J. Prosise on the injured list. Lynch, 33, has not played in an NFL game since last season as a member of the Raiders, but he is expected to suit up for Seattle in Week 17 against the 49ers due to the team’s lack of options. Lynch spent six memorable years with the Seahawks from 2010-15. During that stint, he rushed for more than 6,000 yards and recorded 57 rushing touchdowns. He also won a Super Bowl with the team in 2013 and appeared in another in 2014.last_img read more

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