WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Neal improving, Jones questionable for Sunday
Green Bay Packers' outside linebacker Mike Neal is getting better, after he bruised one of his shoulders. He did not practice today for a second straight day, but coach Mike McCarthy is hopeful that Neal can return tomorrow. The Packers are extremely thin at that position, after Clay Matthews and Nick Perry both went out with fractures. McCarthy also said it would be a close call on whether receiver James Jones can play on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field. Jones sprained a knee ligament last Sunday at Baltimore. McCarthy also confirmed that he might not have the maximum 46 available players for the Browns' game, with eight roster players injured. He said he could never recall having less than the max on Game-Day, and said special teams and the linebacking corps would be stressed the most.
Packers' president Mark Murphy will join the board of directors of U-S-A Football. He's one of five new people named today to the 14-member board, including people from the high school and medical ranks. N-F-L Commissioner Roger Goodell and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany also serve on the panel.
Milwaukee Bucks' coach Larry Drew says his players are getting too testy with each other on the practice floor -- and it's got to stop. At Training Camp today, center Larry Sanders grabbed guard Luke Ridnour, and took a hard foul to keep Ridnour from making a lay-up. Ridnour turned away, but some Bucks' teammates let Sanders know they didn't appreciate what he did. Also, forward John Henson got angry after a play and bounced the ball hard, so it hit the ceiling of the Cousins' Center gym. Drew called his team aside afterward and said those things can't happen. The coach later reporters that the 11 new faces on the Bucks are enough of a challenge -- and he should not have to worry about them losing their composure. In Tuesday night's exhibition loss at Memphis, Sanders got a technical foul after slapping a backboard in disgust. It was his second "T" of the pre-season, after he got 14 of them a year ago. Drew said he would address the issue, and today was proof that he's trying.
Green Bay Packers' offensive tackle Derek Sherrod is practicing in full pads today for the first time since he broke his left leg in two places in December of 2011. He took part in a lighter workout yesterday, his first practice of the season. Coach Mike McCarthy says Sherrod will be helped immensely by taking part in today's individual drills. McCarthy also said his staff will be smart about breaking-in Sherrod during the scrimmage-type team drills. The coach said it would not be wise just to throw him into the fire and let him play 55 snaps in pads, considering what he's been through. McCarthy said he would just try to get Sherrod broken in and quote, "push as far as we can." Sherrod was the Packers' first-round draft choice in 2011. He said he feels fine physically, and has been looking forward to this day for a long time. Sherrod says he's confident he can help the Packers this season, if he can stay healthy and get into a playing rotation. The Packers are getting ready for their Sunday home game against Cleveland. The Pack is 3-2. The Browns are 3-3.
Freshman Andrew Endicott is getting a chance this week to become Wisconsin's new field goal and extra-point kicker. Endicott is competing with sophomore Jack Russell at practice, as the 25th-ranked Badgers get ready to play at Illinois on Saturday night. Co-special teams coordinator Jeff Genyk said Endicott has done a great job with kickoffs -- and he'll stay in that role against the Illini. Endicott has made 15 kickoffs for the Badgers, averaging just over 61 yards per kick. Genyk said he wanted to see how Endicott matches up with Russell in making the pressure-packed field goals. Redshirt junior Kyle French was the Badgers' kicker for their first six games, but he was benched after missing key field goal tries against Northwestern and Ohio State. Coach Gary Andersen gave Russell the kicking job, and Genyk was allowed to let Endicott compete. Russell is 0-for-3 in field goal attempts this season. He was an all-state kicker at Waunakee High School. Wisconsin comes into the Illini contest at 2-1 in the Big Ten and 4-2 overall. Illinois will try to even its 0-and-1 league mark. They're 3-and-2 overall.