WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Dietrich-Smith takes part in this afternoon's Packer practice
GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers' center Evan Dietrich-Smith took part at least somewhat in today's practice. He suffered a knee injury last Sunday against Philadelphia, but he was participating in individual drills during the part of the workout that was open to the media.
Other Packers injured last Sunday did not practice -- including Casey Hayward, Johnny Jolly, Nick Perry, and Don Barclay. Also, linebacker Clay Matthews took part in his first drills without the protective club he wore last week. That's after Matthews broke a thumb more than a month ago. Safety Sean Richardson and defensive end Jerel Worthy practiced for the first time since being put on the physically-unable-to-perform list at the end of Training Camp. The Packers must decide by the end of next week whether to activate the two, put them on injured reserve, or cut them. Aaron Rodgers did not work out, but he spent a lot of time with Sunday's starting quarterback, Scott Tolzien. Rodgers was giving Tolzien pointers on his footwork during the open part of the workout. As expected, Matt Flynn practiced for the first time since re-joining the team on Monday. He'll be the back-up to Tolzien. The Packers will play the Giants at New York on Sunday.
The Packers filled a vacancy on their practice squad today, by signing rookie running back Orwin Smith. He played for Georgia Tech a year ago, rushing for 682 yards with five touchdowns. Media reports said Smith had surgery to fix repeated dislocated shoulders. He tried out for Tampa Bay's rookie camp earlier this year, but was not signed.
Green Bay Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers say he never gives up on the idea of playing the next game -- even after he broke his left collarbone nine days ago. On his ESPN-Milwaukee radio show, Rodgers said he'd love to return for Sunday's Packer game against the Giants at New York -- but it remains to be seen if that's realistic. Coach Mike McCarthy has named Scott Tolzien as his starter against the Giants. The Packers are starting to practice for that contest today. Rodgers says he's doing all he can to get back on the field including quote, "not trying to do anything too stupid to aggravate" the collarbone. He said he takes solace in small victories during his recovery -- like sleeping all night, which he just recently did for the first time since his injury. He also cites putting on his own T-shirt, and putting his own socks on. Rodgers said yesterday was the best he had felt since going down November fourth on a sack in Green Bay's first series of its Monday Night loss to Chicago.
The Milwaukee Bucks have lost 14 straight games in Orlando, and they'll try to end that streak tonight. The Magic is happy to be back home, after losing at Boston 120-105 on Monday night to go 0-and-4 on the road. Orlando is 3-1 at the Amway Center, where they've allowed opponents to score just 89 points a game with a 37-percent field goal percentage. Milwaukee has lost two straight, after getting crushed at Miami last night 118-95. The injury-depleted Bucks remain without two starters -- center Larry Sanders and power forward Ersan Ilyasova. But point guard Brandon Knight got more playing time against the Heat, in his second game back from a nagging hamstring injury. Bucks' shooting guard O-J Mayo had averaged 28 points in his previous two games, before being held to a season-low six in Miami. Orlando has lost three straight overall, but they return home to a place where the Bucks have not won since December 29th of 2004. Michael Redd had 29 points in that game, a six-point victory for Milwaukee. Since then, the Bucks have averaged only 89 points in their 14 straight defeats at the Amway Center. Milwaukee is 2-4 overall. Orlando is 3-5.
It's the National Signing Day for college basketball recruits. The Wisconsin men announced the signing of high school senior Ethan Happ of Taylor Ridge, Illinois. He was an All-State selection last year, averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds a game. Marquette University said it signed two of its four recruits this morning -- guard Ahmed Hill of Augusta, Georgia, and guard Sandy Cohen from Seymour near Green Bay. As a junior, the all-stater Hill led Aquinas High School to the Georgia Class-"A" high school semi-finals, averaging 30 points and 12 boards per contest. Cohen was a coaches all-state selection in his junior year at Seymour, averaging 17 points and seven rebounds. Also today, the UW-Green Bay women's basketball team signed four recruits from the Badger State -- guards Laken James of Oconto, Allie LeClaire of Green Bay Notre Dame, and Jen Willnitz of South Wayne Black Hawk. The Phoenix also signed guard-forward Jessica Lindstrom from Superior.
Former Milwaukee Brewers' Triple-"A" manager Mike Guerrero was named today as the winner of the Mike Coolbaugh award. It's been presented annually for six years to a person who has shown outstanding mentoring skills for young players, a strong knowledge of the game, and a solid work ethic. Guerrero has spent the last two seasons managing the Brewers' Triple-"A" farm club at Nashville. He has been in a variety of roles in 17 years in the Milwaukee organization. Next season, Guerrero is being promoted to manager Ron Roenicke's Major League staff. Guerrero played for nine seasons in the Majors -- all but one in Milwaukee in the 1980's-and-'90's. He'll receive the Coolbaugh award at next month's baseball Winter Meetings in Orlando.
UW-Milwaukee will play Oakland on Friday night in the semi-finals of the Horizon League men's soccer tournament. UWM earned a first-round bye with its Number-two seed, while third-seeded Oakland advanced in yesterday's quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory over No. 6 Valparaiso. Matt Rickard shot the game-winning goal in the 64th minute. It was deflected into the net by a Valparaiso defender. In Friday's other semi-final, Cleveland State will face tournament host and top-seed Illinois-Chicago.
The Milwaukee Admirals will try to end a three-game losing streak tonight when they host Grand Rapids. The Griffins have taken the early lead in the American Hockey League's Midwest Division, with 20 points and a record of 9-2-1-1. Milwaukee is in third with 15 points, and a mark of 6-2-2-1. The Admirals are coming off a four-game road trip that included a victory at Iowa, and three losses in Texas last weekend against the Stars and San Antonio. Still, Milwaukee managed to get three-of-eight possible points during that trip. In their most recent game, the Admirals lost a 3-2 shootout at San Antonio on Sunday. Milwaukee goal-tender Magnus Hellberg lost his first shootout since arriving in North America. He's now 3-and-1 in shootouts for Milwaukee.