WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Matthews a go for Sunday; Starks, Hayward not
Clay Matthews says he'll play on Sunday when the Green Bay Packers host Detroit. The All-Pro outside linebacker is coming off a left hamstring injury -- something that's happened in all five of his NFL seasons. Matthews fully participated in yesterday's full-tilt practice -- the only one in pads all week. Afterward, he declared himself ready to go. Detroit comes in at 3-and-1, while Green Bay is 1-and-2. With the Packers at risk of dropping two-and-a-half games back in the NFC North division, they'll definitely need their star pass rusher. Matthews said he would not have a limit on the number of snaps he can play on Sunday, but he vows to play smart -- and not push himself too hard. Matthews left the September 22nd loss at Cincinnati with his hamstring injury -- and he was able to rest it during the bye week. He forced two fumbles in the game, and his presence clearly affected the Bengals' offensive output. They gained 119 yards with Matthews playing in the first half, as quarterback Andy Dalton had a passer rating of just 39-point-two. After Matthews left, Dalton racked up a 150-rating as Cincy gained 178 yards.
Madison golfer Steve Stricker saved par on the 18th hole yesterday to give the United States a one-point lead over the International team after the first day of the President's Cup. Stricker halved the final hole, giving him and Jordan Spieth a one-up victory over Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge in Four-Ball play. Their match was the fourth-of-six on the schedule at Muirfield Village in Dublin Ohio -- but with an 82-minute rain delay, it was the last to finish. Stricker made two birdies in the first seven holes to put his team two-up. Els birdied on the 17th to send the match to the 18th -- where Stricker converted a par putt to match de Jonge's two-putt par and give the Americans their one-point lead, three-and-a-half to two-and-a-half going into today's foursomes. The U-S led after the first day in seven-of-the-last-10 President's Cups. Stricker will again be paired with Spieth today. They'll face the International pairing of Branden Grace and Richard Sterne.
The Detroit Lions had three starters miss practice yesterday. Receiver Calvin Johnson sat out with a bad knee, but there's no indication that he'll miss Sunday's contest at Green Bay. Corner Chris Houston has an injured hamstring, and he's said to be at least questionable for the contest with the Pack. Detroit linebacker Ashlee Palmer was added to the team's injury report yesterday with a bad ankle. His playing status was not immediately known. Only two Packers missed their practice yesterday, and both have already been declared out for Sunday -- running back James Starks with a knee injury, and offensive lineman Greg Van Roten with a bad foot. Corner Casey Hayward practiced for the first time in the regular season, but he'll still miss Sunday's game with an injured hamstring.
Mat Gamel is no longer a Milwaukee Brewer. The division-rival Chicago Cubs claimed the 28-year-old first baseman yesterday, after the Brewers put him and infielder Taylor Green on waivers this week. Gamel has not played in almost two years. He tore the A-C-L in his right knee in May of 2012 while trying to catch a foul pop-up at San Diego. Gamel was expected to return this year, but he tore the same A-C-L at Spring Training, and he did not play a single game. Brewers' general manager Doug Melvin said he was a little surprised that the Cubs took a chance on Gamel, considering his injury history. Green also missed the entire 2013 season with a hip injury that needed surgery. Melvin said he would contact Green to see if he wants to sign a minor-league deal to stay with Milwaukee. Meanwhile, Brewers' outfielder Josh Prince and right-hander Nick Bucci were both assigned out-right to Triple-"A" Nashville. That creates two openings on Milwaukee's 40-man roster.
The Milwaukee Bucks' reserves out-played the starters during a scrimmage at Training Camp yesterday. The second unit pulled off a 40-to-29 victory, led by guards Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal. The Bucks had a long practice yesterday that lasted over three-hours. Second-year forward Khris Middleton sat out, after he sprained an ankle on Wednesday. Two practices are on the schedule for today. And then the Bucks will have their Fan-Fest tomorrow at the B-M-O Harris Bradley Center which includes a practice that's open to the public. The fan festival begins at 10 tomorrow morning, with the practice at two. The Bucks will play their exhibition opener on Tuesday night at Cleveland.
Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez could help decide the teams that will take part in the first B-C-S four-team college football playoff next year. CBS Sports.com says Alvarez and U-S-C athletic director Pat Haden are expected to be named to the playoff selection committee. The panel will have 12-to-18 members who will select the four schools that will play for the national championship just over a year from now. Alvarez recently told a Madison radio station that college football has been good to him -- and he would feel an obligation to serve on the selection panel if asked. He said the group must have people who know-and-understand the game, who can analyze game-films instead of just reviewing statistics.