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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Rodgers ruled neither in or out of Packers' next game

GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers is not medically cleared to play yet -- but coach Mike McCarthy is not ruling him out for Sunday's home game against Atlanta.  

McCarthy told reporters this afternoon that Rodgers feels good, after suffering a broken collarbone a month ago tomorrow against Chicago.  The coach said backup Matt Flynn would take the snaps with the first team when practice resumes tomorrow for the Falcons' game.  There's been talk that the Packers would shut Rodgers down for the season if they don't win on Sunday.  McCarthy said there's been quote, "no discussion internally about that."  The coach also said receiver Randall Cobb has made progress the past two weeks from a leg injury suffered early in the season -- but he has not been cleared to practice or play yet.  McCarthy said he expects center Evan Dietrich-Smith to practice this week, after his injury in last Thursday's loss at Detroit.  Also today, the Packers cut third-year safety Jerron McMillian to make room on the roster for running back Kahlil Bell, whom the Pack signed today.  McMillian was demoted to special teams in recent weeks.


The Atlanta Falcons promise to have momentum going into their Sunday match-up at Green Bay.  The Falcons had Super Bowl aspirations at the start of the year.  Instead, they're 3-9.  They're guaranteed of their first losing campaign since 2007, after injuries gave quarterback Matt Ryan a shortage of quality receivers to throw to.  The Packers still have a slim chance at the playoffs at 5-6-1 -- but they're on a downward trajectory after going 0-4-1 in the wake of Aaron Rodgers' broken collarbone.  Atlanta is heading back up after an overtime win at Buffalo last weekend which ended a five-game losing streak.  Falcons' coach Mike Smith said he reminded his players that they'll be judged on the way they finish, regardless of their record.  He emphasized the same thing in 2009, when Atlanta won its final three games after being eliminated from the playoffs.  It paid off the following year, when the Falcons went 13-3 and won the NFC South Division.  


The Milwaukee Bucks may be 3-13, but Boston coach Brad Stevens has a lot of respect.  The Bucks ended their longest losing streak in 16 years with a home victory against the Celtics on Saturday night – and the two teams will play again this evening on the parquet floor at TD Bank Garden.  Stevens says that when the Bucks get rolling, quote, “They are a tough team to stop … You can throw everything else out the window.”  Stevens says the Celtics must tighten up their game, after the Bucks scored a number of easy transition baskets on Saturday.  Milwaukee had a 16-to-4 edge in fast-break points.  Bucks guard O.J. Mayo says the keys are the same as always – play hard, and play the right way.  Milwaukee’s only road win was at Boston, 105-98 back on Nov. 1.  The Bucks then dropped 12-of-their-next-13 before their Saturday night victory.  Milwaukee is tied with Charlotte for the NBA’s worst offense, scoring just 89 points a game.  The Bucks do have the league’s ninth-best offense, giving up 99 per night.


University of Wisconsin women's volleyball setter Lauren Carlini was named today as the Big Ten Conference Freshman-of-the-Year.  She was also chosen as the Badgers' only representative on the all-conference team, and was a unanimous coaches' selection to the all-freshman team.  Wisconsin's Haleigh Nelson was also picked to the all-rookie squad.  Carlini is only the second Wisconsin freshman ever named to the all-Big Ten team.  She's the third Badger to be named Freshman-of-the-Year, along with Claudia Rodriguez in 2000 and Sherisa Livington in 1999.  Carlini was the nation's leading freshman in double-doubles with 19.  She averaged just under 11 assists per set in the regular season, fourth in the conference.  Carlini was also second on the Badgers with close to three digs per set, and third on the team with just over three-fourths of a block per set.  Nelson leads the Badgers with a .326 hitting percentage with one-point-one blocks per set.  The Badgers will host a four-team NCAA sub-regional this weekend.  They'll open against UW-Milwaukee on Friday night.


University of Wisconsin men's soccer defenseman A.J. Cochran was named today as a semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy, given each year to the nation's top collegiate player.  The Missouri Athletic Club presents the award.  The national coaches' association will announce finalists on December 12th.  Cochran is the only Big Ten player among the 15 semi-finalists.  He helped the Badgers make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in two decades, anchoring a back line that had seven shutouts of their opponents this fall.  Cochran scored three goals and six points, including a pair of game-winners.  He was named the Big Ten's defensive player-of-the-year, and was an all-conference first teamer for the second straight campaign.


Devon Gorman of Alverno has been named the women's basketball player-of-the-week in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.  Gorman, a senior forward, had 19 points and eight rebounds in a 73-70 upset win over Wisconsin Lutheran which ended Lutheran's 28-game winning streak against conference opponents.  Gorman made 11-of-13 free throws, and had two assists plus a game-high three steals.  Scott Laskowski of Aurora was named the NACC men's player-of-the-week.