Evening State Sports Briefs: Packers won't rush Rodgers' return to actionWisconsin Sports
-- The Green Bay Packers say they will not rush the process of deciding whether quarterback Aaron Rodgers can play on Sunday night at New England. Rodgers suffered his second concussion of the season at Detroit two days ago.
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers say they will not rush the process of deciding whether quarterback Aaron Rodgers can play on Sunday night at New England. Rodgers suffered his second concussion of the season at Detroit two days ago.
Obviously, the team would love to have Rodgers at the controls, because they have some catching up to do in order to clinch a playoff spot. But coach Mike McCarthy says the team will quote, “not take any chances.” He said they pulled Rodgers almost immediately after he banged his head on the turf and came up slowly at Detroit last Sunday. And McCarthy says quote, “We’ll always take the high side of caution in these situations.” Rodgers rested yesterday. And he’ll have the first step in his required NFL testing tomorrow, when he gets a cardio-vascular workout. Until the Lions’ game, McCarthy said Rodgers had been “very smart with his scrambling.” But on a second-and-five play against the Lions, he made it well past the first-down marker and got hit before he could slide and avoid the tackle. Quarterbacks’ coach Tom Clements says they’ve instructed Rodgers on how to scramble safely, and he’s done it in the past. Also, replacement Matt Flynn refused to slide on a 12-yard scramble after getting a first down – and he heard about it in his helmet radio immediately after the play. The Packer players are off today, and will start practicing tomorrow for Sunday night’s matchup against the 11-and-2 Patriots.
Now that the Milwaukee Bucks have derailed the NBA’s hottest team, they must now face the team with the league’s best record. The Bucks flew to San Antonio last night right after their four-point win at Dallas, which ended the Mavericks’ 12-game winning streak. Tomorrow night, Milwaukee faces the San Antonio Spurs – who are 20-3. Point guard Brandon Jennings said last night’s victory was “big” for the Bucks – but they cannot get too happy about it, because they need to take care of business against the Spurs. San Antonio plays at a faster pace than Dallas. And former Bucks’ forward Richard Jefferson is better at shooting threes. He made 32-percent from beyond-the-arc last season. But that’s gone up to 46-percent this year. Jefferson, who played one season in Milwaukee a couple years ago, has made 44-of-95 three-pointers in his first 23 games. The Bucks won their 10th game of the year last night, and they improved to 3-8 on the road.
The Milwaukee Brewers’ newest starter was introduced at Miller Park today. Shaun Marcum was traded from Toronto just before baseball’s Winter Meetings last week. The Brewers gave up their top prospect, second baseman Brett Lawrie, to bolster a weak rotation from this year. General manager Doug Melvin said Marcum – who turned 29 today – gives the Brewers a “much better chance of winning” than before the Winter Meetings. Marcum sat out the 2009 season after having Tommy John elbow surgery. But he said it didn’t bother him when he’s on the mound. He went 13-8 for Toronto last season with a three-point-six-four ERA. Marcum said it’s a “dream come true” to be playing in the Midwest with a team he said was close to winning and returning to the playoffs.
Two nationally-ranked small college basketball teams from Wisconsin will play tonight. UW-River Falls – ranked 17th in the D3hoops.com men's poll – host Hamline of Saint Paul as part of a double-header with the women’s teams. The UW-Platteville men are at home against Cornell. On the women’s side, 18th-ranked UW-Whitewater hosts Dubuque. And Milwaukee Engineering plays at Carroll.
The UW-Milwaukee men’s basketball team can even its 5-6 record tonight with a win at DePaul. The Panthers are coming off a 12-point victory at South Dakota State last Saturday, in which they shot almost 63-percent from the floor and made 14 three-pointers. Junior Tony Meier has scored in double-figures in four of his last five contests. He had a team-high 19 points against South Dakota State. DePaul comes into tonight’s game at 3-6. The Blue Demons are in their first season under coach Oliver Purnell. DePaul is coming off a two-point overtime loss to Ball State. Freshman Brandon Young scored in double figures in each of his first seven outings. Also tonight, the UW-Parkside men are at home in Kenosha against Cardinal Stritch.
Vander Blue has become the first Marquette University men’s basketball player in five years to win the Big East rookie-of-the-week award. The guard from Madison averaged 14 points, four rebounds, and two steals in a pair of games last week. Blue scored a career-high 21 points in Marquette’s rout of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi – and he had five rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocked shots in that game. Blue has started eight of Marquette’s 10 games. The Golden Eagles are off this week for their final exams. They host Centenary on Saturday.
Tony Mane of UW-La Crosse and Michelle Boeder of Oshkosh are the WIAC men’s-and-women’s basketball players-of-the-week. Mane, a senior guard, averaged 28-and-a-half points in two La Crosse victories last week. He scored a career-high 37 points in a 20-point win over Stout. Mane hit 7-of-12 three-pointers in that contest, and was 8-of-8 from the free throw line. Boeder, a senior guard, averaged 19-and-a-half points in two Oshkosh wins. She had a career-high 22 points with two assists and two rebounds in a Titans’ victory over River Falls. The WIAC also recognized Branden Gay of UW-Stout in men’s hockey, and Adam Sheley of La Crosse in wrestling.
David Bremner of Beloit College has been named the Midwest Conference men’s basketball performer-of-the-week. Bremner, a junior forward, had 21 points in Beloit’s upset of then-sixth-ranked Saint Norbert College last week. Bremner also had six rebounds and two steals in that game. Senior forward Jessica Vaverka of Grinnell is the honored women’s player.
Josh Stein of Maranatha Baptist and Rachel Johnson of Wisconsin Lutheran are the Northern Athletics Conference basketball players-of-the-week. Stein, a senior forward, had two double-doubles in a pair of league contests. He had 21 points and 20 rebounds in a Maranatha victory over Wisconsin Lutheran. Johnson, a junior forward, averaged 15 points and 11-and-a-half rebounds in two contests – and she had double-doubles in both.