State sports briefs: Bucks begin regular season (Updated)Wisconsin Sports
-- The Milwaukee Bucks open the NBA regular season tonight with their highest expectations in years. Center Andrew Bogut is healthy again, point guard Brandon Jennings plans to build on his solid rookie season, and the Bucks brought in several experienced players like forwards Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden.
The Milwaukee Bucks open the NBA regular season tonight with their highest expectations in years. Center Andrew Bogut is healthy again, point guard Brandon Jennings plans to build on his solid rookie season, and the Bucks brought in several experienced players like forwards Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden.
All that – plus a return to defense under coach Scott Skiles – give Milwaukee hope for 50-plus victories in the regular season, plus a deeper playoff run than last season when they fell to Atlanta in the first round. Skiles has yet to gauge the Bucks’ new personality, since so many players were out with injuries during training camp. Guard Chris Douglas-Roberts and center Jon Brockman did not make the trip to New Orleans, where the Bucks will open tonight against the Hornets. Skiles says Brockman could be available Friday night, when the Bucks play in Minnesota. Forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute might play tonight, after being out with a sprained ankle.
Bogut says his biggest goal is to stay healthy. And he wants to return to the level where he was playing a year ago – when Bogut was one of just two NBA centers to average 15 point, 10 rebounds, and two blocked shots per game. That was before he took a hard fall to the floor in early April, hurting his right hand, wrist, and elbow. Bogut passed up the World Championships this summer so he could recover from surgery and be ready for the Bucks’ season – which begins this evening against the Hornets in New Orleans. Meanwhile, point guard Brandon Jennings will try to avoid the “sophomore jinx,” and build on the great rookie season he had a year ago. He’ll match up with Hornets’ All-Star guard Chris Paul – and Jennings says he’s excited and ready. He started all 89 Milwaukee contests in his rookie year – including seven playoff games – and he stayed healthy throughout the pre-season. The Bucks open against a Hornets’ team that failed to make the playoffs the past two years. Former Portland assistant Monty Williams is the new Hornets’ coach.
Green Bay Packers’ linebacker Brad Jones will have surgery, after getting a “significant” shoulder injury in last Sunday night’s win over Minnesota. Coach Mike McCarthy did not say when the operation would take place – and he did not say whether Jones would be out for the season. He missed a large amount of practice time at training camp with an injury to the same shoulder. Meanwhile, the Packers’ defensive line might be short-handed again on Sunday, when they play the Jets at New York. Nose tackle Ryan Pickett missed today’s practice after he aggravated an ankle injury last Sunday night against Minnesota. Defensive end Cullen Jenkins took part in the walk-through portion of the workout. He then worked with the conditioning staff on his strained calf which kept him out against the Vikings. Receiver Donald Driver missed the practice, as he plays through a quadriceps injury.
Green Bay Packers’ left tackle Chad Clifton says he feels much better than at the start of the season. The 34-year-old veteran has spent a lot of his career playing through injuries – and this year, he has battled a sore left knee since training camp. But most of the pain is gone now, and Clifton has been playing a lot better. Last Sunday night against Minnesota, he single-handedly kept sack-master Jared Allen in check. And as a result, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was not sacked at all – after he was taken down 14 times last year in Green Bay’s two games against Minnesota. Both his pass-blocking and his run-blocking have shown improvement. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said the Viking game marked the third straight week Clifton has played the way the Packers are accustomed to seeing him play – and the team needs him to keep doing that. Clifton signed a new three-year contract in March worth 20-million-dollars in all, and seven-and-a-half million guaranteed. The Packers are starting to practice today for their Sunday contest against the Jets at New York. The Jets are 5-1, coming off a bye. The Packers are 4-3.
Racine County native Tony Romo will be sidelined for six-to-eight weeks, after breaking his left collarbone in Monday night’s Dallas loss to the New York Giants. The Cowboys’ quarterback from Burlington underwent a CT- scan yesterday, and it showed that he had a fractured left clavicle. The team said the injury would not require surgery. Giants’ linebacker Michael Boley drove Romo into the ground. The quarterback had just thrown a pass, and he landed on his left shoulder. Among other things, Romo will miss the Cowboys’ Sunday night game against the Packers on November seventh at Lambeau Field.
University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema is out recruiting, as the Badger players get a break during their bye week. Bielema says he’s finding out that the team’s profile has never been higher – especially in the wake of back-to-back wins over Ohio State and Iowa. Bielema says the players need to come down after a pair of emotional wins. Athletic director Barry Alvarez – who picked Bielema to be his successor a few years ago – says the coach will get some well-deserved national respect. Alvarez says it’s a sign that Bielema is doing things the right way. Wisconsin is 3-1 in the Big Ten and 7-1 overall. Their next game is a week from Saturday at Purdue. This weekend's Big Ten games has Ohio State at Minnnesota, Northwestern at Indiana, Michigan at Penn State, Purdue at Illinois and Michigan State at Iowa.
Daniel Pogue of UW-Green Bay has been named the men’s diver-of-the-week in the Horizon League. Pogue, a junior, took first in both the one-and-three-meter events in a dual meet against Cleveland State.
Clare Bohrer of Lawrence University in Appleton is the Midwest Conference volleyball player-of-the-week. The junior middle hitter had a school-record 12 blocks in a three-games-to-one victory over Monmouth. And Bohrer had 20 kills in a five-set victory over Illinois College, and 11 kills in a shut-out loss to Saint Norbert.
The UW-Green Bay men’s soccer team has won six straight games, after a 2-0 shutout at Western Illinois last night. J.C. Banks scored both goals in the second half for the Phoenix, who are now 10-4-1 overall. Banks has 12 goals this season. All but three were scored during GB’s current winning streak.
The UW-Milwaukee volleyball team has won 12-of-its-last-13 matches, after shutting out DePaul in three sets at home. Kerri Schuh had 16 kills and 14 digs, with a .696 hitting percentage for the Panthers. UWM is now 15-8 overall.
The Marquette men’s golf team placed ninth among 15 schools at the Saint Mary’s Invitational in Seaside California. The Golden Eagles shot 898 for three rounds, 37 strokes behind first-place Notre Dame. Kelly Kretz was Marquette’s top individual. He tied for 14th place at 221.
Goal-tender Jeremy Smith has been promoted to the Milwaukee Admirals from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, replacing Chet Pickard who was sent down. Pickard is 0-3-1 in four games with Milwaukee, with a goals-against-average of three-point-four-seven. Smith had a tie in his only game with Cincinnati this season. He gave up three goals.