WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Matthews won't play against Bears
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers will be without Clay Matthews for their winner-take-all game in Chicago on Sunday for the NFC North title.
The Packers said yesterday that the star outside linebacker is out for the regular season finale, after he re-injured the right thumb he broke October sixth. Neither the Packers nor Chicago practiced on Christmas, but both teams released injury reports indicating who would have participated. Linebackers Brad Jones, Nick Perry, and Mike Neal were all listed as non-participants along with defensive tackle Ryan Pickett and running back Eddie Lacy. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was listed as being limited. A decision is expected today on whether he'll have a chance to play against the Bears, as he recovers from his broken collarbone from November fourth. Chicago's injury report said receiver Earl Bennett would not have practiced had the Bears held a workout yesterday. Linebacker Lance Briggs was listed as a full participant.
University of Wisconsin football coach Gary Andersen says a bowl game is quote, "a one-game series for a championship." The Badgers will play South Carolina on New Year's Day in the Capital One Bowl. Yesterday, they arrived in Orlando for a week of practices and pre-bowl events. Andersen said players never forget bowl victories -- and 20 years from now, they can take their children to their old schools and show them the trophies. The coach said losing a bowl quote, "puts a sour taste in your mouth." Wisconsin is coming off three straight Rose Bowl losses. Twenty-two seniors won't have a bowl victory on their resumes unless they win next week. Andersen is 1-1 in bowl games when he coached at Utah State. His team lost 24-23 to Ohio in the 2011 Idaho Potato Bowl -- and they crushed Toledo 41-15 at the same bowl the next year. Andersen was also 7-0 while an assistant at Utah. Badgers' center Dallas Lewallen made the trip, but is not expected to play after he aggravated a knee injury in early November. Redshirt freshman Dan Voltz will make snaps for his fifth straight game. Andersen said he expects every player to be eligible academically, after their first semesters of the year just ended.
Two former Marquette University stars shined in the NBA's Christmas games. Jimmy Butler scored 15 of his 19 points in a decisive third quarter, as the Chicago Bulls won at Brooklyn 95-78. Miami guard Dwayne Wade had 23 points, seven assists, and six rebounds as the Heat got by the Los Angeles Lakers 101-95. Butler, who missed his previous game with an ankle injury, started a 21-to-5 run for Chicago with a three-pointer. It was the first of 12 straight points by the Bulls. He also hit a three later in the run. Butler, a shooting guard and small forward, is in his third season with the Bulls after being drafted in the first round out of Marquette in 2011. Wade had assists on two flashy alley-oop plays finished with monster dunks by LeBron James. The 31-year-old Wade is in his 11th season with Miami, after he helped Marquette make it to the NCAA Final Four in 2003. Also, former Marquette guard Doc Rivers coached the Los Angeles Clippers to a 105-103 loss at Golden State on Christmas Night. It was a wild affair, as the Clippers' Blake Griffin was ejected after scuffling with former Milwaukee Bucks' center Andrew Bogut -- who got a flagrant foul for his part. The Warriors' Draymond Green was tossed earlier after a scuffle with Griffin. Bogut had 10 points and 14 points in the Golden State victory.
Mike Hegan -- one of the original members of the Milwaukee Brewers and later a broadcaster for the team -- died on Christmas. The 71-year-old Hegan passed away at his home in Hilton Head South Carolina after a long illness. Hegan, a first baseman and outfielder, played in the Brewers' inaugural season in 1970. He then went to Oakland and the New York Yankees before returning to Milwaukee in '74. He stayed with the Brewers until he retired in 1977. Hegan batted .249 in 586 games with the Crew, and he became the first Brewer to bat for the cycle in 1976 against Detroit. Hegan's career batting average was .242. After his playing days, he spent 12 years as a radio-and-T-V analyst for Brewers' games. In 1989, he left for a similar job with the Cleveland Indians, where his father Jim Hegan was a star catcher. Hegan retired from broadcasting in 2011, and was later inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall-of-Fame.