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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Rodgers back at Packer practice

GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers practiced today for the first time since he broke his left collarbone on Nov. 4. 

However, coach Mike McCarthy says the odds remain quote, “closer to none than slim” that Rodgers will play in the Packers’ Thanksgiving game at Detroit.  McCarthy said Rodgers looked good on the field, and his workouts were designed to get him back in a game at some point.  After Thursday, the next chance would be the December 8th contest at home against Atlanta.  That would come about five weeks after his injury.  Meanwhile, McCarthy said Matt Flynn practiced with the first team offense – but he stressed that he wants both Flynn and Scott Tolzien ready to play the Lions.


Green Bay Packers' head coach Mike McCarthy has given a vote-of-confidence to his defensive coaches, despite a recent drop in production.  The Packers gave up 447 total yards, and a season-high 232 rushing yards, in Sunday's tie with Minnesota.  McCarthy said he reviewed the game tape with his defensive coaches yesterday, and he found no problem with the calls they made.  Adrian Peterson had his usual big numbers with 147 rushing yards.  Second-stringer Toby Gerhart had 91 yards.  Vikings' quarterback Christian Ponder had a 103-point-nine passer rating with 21-of-30 completions -- even though he was sacked six times.  McCarthy said he likes the personality and the teaching ability of his defensive coaches.  He called them a "very talented, organized staff."  Dom Capers is in his fifth year as the Packers' defensive coordinator.  His defense was the NFL's second best in 2009, dropping to 32nd two years but recovering to 11th last year.  This season, the Packers are 18th in points given up and 20th in yards allowed.  They've given up 350 yards a game, second-highest in Capers' time with the Pack.  Green Bay is getting ready to play at Detroit on Thanksgiving, going for its first win in a month.


University of Wisconsin receiver Jared Abbrederis was one of three finalists named today for the Burlsworth Trophy, given to the top college football player who started as a walk-on.  The fifth-year senior walked on as a scout team quarterback – and he’s about to finish his Badgers’ career as the team’s top receiver.  With one regular season game left, Abbrederis is second on the Badgers’ all-time list with 185 catches, 2,975 receiving yards, and 23 touchdowns.  He’s also the first Badger to have at least 800 receiving yards in three different seasons.  Abbrederis joins Missouri offensive lineman Max Copeland and Tulsa running back Trey Watts as finalists for the Burlsworth Trophy.  Abbrederis, a native of Wautoma, was a semifinalist for the same honor a year ago.  The winner of this year’s trophy will be announced December 9th. 


The University of Wisconsin men's basketball team will try to go 7-0 tonight, when they play Saint Louis at the Cancun Challenge in Playa del Carmen Mexico.  The Billikens and the 10th-ranked Badgers both defeated Oral Roberts and Bowling Green in their first two tournament games.  Saint Louis comes in at 5-0.  Bowling Green coach Louis Orr says Wisconsin is a tough team to cover, because of its multiple scoring threats.  Five Badgers average at least 10-point-seven points per game.  Senior forward Dwayne Evans leads Saint Louis with just under 14 points a game.  Senior guards Mike McCall Junior and Jordair Jett also average in double-figures for the Billikens.  Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky was named the Big Ten player-of-the-week for his 43-point performance against North Dakota last week.  Also, the Badgers have made 101 free throws in their first six games -- 17 more than their opponents have even attempted.  


The UW-Milwaukee men’s basketball team will host NAIA opponent Judson tonight.  The Panthers are off to a 5-2 start, after beating Tennessee Tech 70-63 last Saturday.  Judson, of Elgin, Illinois, is 3-6 after falling to Mount Mercy 121-80 on Saturday.  Andrew Eck leads Judson in scoring with 12 points a game.  Austin Arians led Milwaukee with 17 points against Tennessee Tech.  Milwaukee has not lost to a non-Division-One opponent since 1994, when the Panthers fell by a point to UW-Parkside.  Tonight, the Parkside men are at home near Kenosha against Minnesota-Duluth.   In women’s Division I play, Milwaukee is at New Mexico.


Two more Wisconsin schools will begin league play tonight in the Midwest Conference.  Beloit College will host Ripon in a men’s-and-women’s double-header.  And Carroll of Waukesha will do the same at home against Lake Forest.  The Ripon men are 0-and-1 in the conference, with Grinnell and Monmouth at 1-and-0.  The Ripon women are 1-and-0 in league play along with Illinois College.  Monmouth and Grinnell are both 0-1.


In non-conference men’s basketball tonight, fifth-ranked UW-Whitewater is at No. 17 Saint Norbert.  UW-Eau Claire hosts Loras.  River Falls travels to Saint John’s of Minnesota.  And Northland plays at Silver Lake.  In women’s non-conference games, 16th-ranked Carthage is at Trine of Indiana.  No. 21 Stevens Point plays at Marian.  Eau Claire is at Saint Norbert.  La Crosse is in Mequon to face Concordia-Wisconsin.  Mount Mary hosts North Central of Minnesota in Milwaukee.  Oshkosh hosts Lakeland.  Platteville is at Luther.  And River Falls entertains Bethel. 


Four Wisconsin men's basketball teams and three women's teams have made the season's first national Division-Three polls from  On the men's side, UW-Stevens Point is ranked second with a 3-0 start.  The Pointers were fourth in the preseason poll, and they now trail only Amherst.  UW-Whitewater is Number-five in the new poll at 3-0.  Saint Norbert is 17th with a 2-0 start.  UW-Platteville is 20th at 4-1.  Stout also received votes.  In the D-III women's poll, Whitewater is ranked third at 4-0.  The Warhawks were fourth in the pre-season survey.  Carthage is ranked 16th at 3-1.  Stevens Point is 21st, also at 3-1.  Oshkosh received votes.  DePauw is the season's first women's No. 1.


Tyler Tillema of UW-Stevens Point has been named the WIAC men’s basketball Player-of-the-Week.  The senior guard made 70-percent of his 23 shots in a pair of games against Edgewood and Hope College of Michigan with a total of 11 assists against only two turnovers.  The WIAC’s top women’s player is Amy Mandrell of Whitewater.  The senior forward averaged 19 points and 10-and-a-half rebounds in a pair of road wins over Chicago and Edgewood.  The WIAC also recognized Jon Waggoner of Eau Claire and Shanley Peters of Superior in hockey – Aaron Lickel and Maggie Reilly, both of Eau Claire, in swimming – Shawn Westphal and Amanda Baker, both of Eau Claire in diving – and Dustin Weinmann of La Crosse in wrestling.


Tyler Graff of Wisconsin is the Big Ten Conference wrestler-of-the-week.  The senior in the 133-pound weight class improved to 8-0 in dual meets last week against American University.  Graff also had a pair of technical falls at the Navy Classic last Saturday.


The Milwaukee Brewers' Triple-"A" club has lost its new skipper before he could manage a game.  Nashville Sounds' manager Darnell Coles was named yesterday as the new Major League assistant hitting coach for the Detroit Tigers.  Coles was a roving hitting instructor in the Brewers' farm system before he became the skipper at Double-"A" Huntsville last season.  After he was promoted to Triple-"A," former Houston Astros' coach Dave Clark took the Huntsville post.  But he, too, left quickly after being named the Tigers' third base coach.  The Brewers are still in the process of hiring new managers for both their top farm clubs.