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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Matthews returns to Packers' practice from injury

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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Matthews returns to Packers' practice from injury
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers’ linebacker Clay Matthews returned to practice today for the first time since he injured a hamstring 10 days ago against Cincinnati. 

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Packers' Coach Mike McCarthy said Matthews was limited, but he has made a lot of progress – and the coach hopes he’ll make more tomorrow.  McCarthy also said corner Casey Hayward will again sit out of Sunday’s home contest against Detroit with the hamstring injury he suffered over a month ago.  Hayward, the Packers’ interception leader a year ago as a rookie, has still not played in a regular season game this year.  Running back James Starks will not return for a couple weeks, as gets over a knee injury suffered against the Bengals.  Offensive lineman Greg Van Roten also missed practice today with a foot injury.  Safety Morgan Burnett participated fully.  He expects to make his season debut on Sunday against the Lions.  Fullback John Kuhn also returned to practice today for the first time since hurting a hamstring at Cincinnati.  He was a full participant, as was tight end Jermichael Finley – who’s getting over a concussion suffered against the Bengals. 

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After Sunday, the Green Bay Packers will have played a quarter of their regular season -- and they're still trying to find their identity.  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers said on his ESPN-Milwaukee radio show that it takes about half the season to determine a true team identity.  He says playmakers will emerge, roles will be set, and we'll know who can be healthy at the end of the season when it's most important.  Also, Rodgers says the 1-2 Packers will find out quickly how well they respond to adversity.  They'll play NFC North co-leading Detroit on Sunday, and then the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens the following week in Baltimore.  Rodgers calls it an important stretch for his team.   The Packers are coming off an unusually early bye week for them -- but they had a number of injured players who could use the time off.  That includes Eddie Lacy and Jermichael Finley, who are coming off concussions, plus five players with injured hamstrings -- Clay Matthews, Morgan Burnett, John Kuhn, Casey Hayward, and Jarrett Bush. 

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The Milwaukee Bucks are in the second day of their training camp  If there's a central theme so far, it's team unity -- something that was in short supply at the end of last season.  Center Larry Sanders said new coach Larry Drew has done a great job stressing team unity, which he said was "definitely missing" with the Bucks.  After forward Caron Butler was traded to Milwaukee, he invited his new teammates to dinner to start some positive chemistry within the squad.  During last year's playoffs, Sanders said players were in their own corners as Milwaukee was getting swept in the first round by the Miami Heat.  He said some of his teammates were looking forward to the post-season, while others wished it never happened.  He said no one was on the same page, and getting swept was what the Bucks deserved.  During the Heat series, Sanders got into a shoving match with Monta Ellis.  Since then, Ellis moved onto Dallas, while Sanders' emergence as a shot blocker was rewarded with a four-year, 44-million dollar contract.  In his fourth year, Sanders is now considered a leader of the Bucks -- one of only four holdovers from last year. 

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The UW-Green Bay men's soccer team has improved to 5-2-2, after beating North Carolina-Asheville on the road yesterday, 2-1.  Sam Krenzien and Lawrence Talery scored for the Phoenix, who had a 21-to-9 edge in total shots.

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The University of Wisconsin swept the weekly cross country honors in the Big Ten Conference.  Junior Michael Van Voorhis was named the men's runner of the week, after he placed 10th at the Coast-to-Coast race in Boston.  Sophomore Emma-Lisa Murphy was named the top Big Ten women's runner, after she placed fifth in Boston.

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MLB.com says the Milwaukee Brewers have placed infielders Mat Gamel and Taylor Green on waivers.  If they clear waivers, both will be eliminated from the team’s 40-man roster tomorrow.  Gamel missed all of this season and most of last year with a torn ACL knee ligament that he injured twice during that span.  Green also sat out all year due to an injured hip that required surgery.  If they clear waivers, Gamel and Green can sign with another team – or it’s possible they can return by signing minor-league contracts for 2014.  Both players remain on the Brewers’ 60-day disabled list.  Neither is on the 40-man roster at the moment – and that roster is full.

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Steve Stricker of Madison will be paired with PGA rookie Jordan Spieth on the American squad for tomorrow’s opening of the President’s Cup.  They’ll face International squad members Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge in the day’s fourth match of Four-Ball.  Each team's captain announced the pairings today.  Twelve golfers from each team will square off in a total of six matches tomorrow at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.  It’s the first time since 1996 that Four-Ball will lead off the President’s Cup, which is held every two years.  Stricker hopes to put on a much better performance than he did at the Ryder Cup a year ago, when his singles’ loss on the final day caused the U.S. to blow a lead and lose to the European team.   Stricker says he’s excited about being paired with the 20-year-old Speith, the PGA Tour’s rookie-of-the-year.  Stricker has been paired with Tiger Woods in the last couple international competitions.  This time, Woods is teamed up with Matt Kuchar.

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Menomonee Falls is the Division 1 leader in the new girls' state high school volleyball poll from the coaches' association.  West Bend East is second, and Neenah third.  East Troy leads Division 2, followed by Kettle Moraine Lutheran and Madison Edgewood.  Oostburg is ranked Number-One in Division 3, with Eau Claire Regis second and Racine Saint Catherine's third.  Luck is the leader in Division 4, followed by Burlington Catholic Central and Clayton.  Meanwhile, East Troy is ranked eighth in the nation in a new poll from MaxPreps-Dot-Com.  East Troy jumped 13 spots in the rankings.  They're 33-and-0 after beating Evansville yesterday.  In the boys' high school volleyball coaches' poll, Waukesha Catholic Memorial has regained first place with Milwaukee Marquette dropping to second.  Burlington is third.

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Abigail Pellet of Carroll University in Waukesha has been named the women’s tennis player-of-the-week in the Midwest Conference.  Pellet, a junior, improved to 12-0 this fall in the Number-One singles’ category with victories against Carthage and Beloit.  She also split her matches at the top doubles’ spot.  Meanwhile, Shorewood native Ben Tyler of Grinnell College was named the top men’s cross country runner.  He finished ninth among 491 runners at the Brissman-Lundeen Invitation at Augustana College.

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