Start the setback clock now:
Today, Sixers center Joel Embiid underwent successful minor arthroscopic surgery to address a meniscus tear in his left knee. The surgery was performed by renowned surgeon Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles, in conjunction with Sixers Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jonathan Glashow and Sixers Head Physician Dr. Christopher Dodson.
Dr. ElAttrache said the surgery “focused on removing a small portion of the meniscus that was responsible for his symptoms,” while David Martin said:
“Joel will complete his initial rehabilitation in Los Angeles, with specialists and our medical and training staff committed to a conservative and measured rehabilitation and recovery plan.
Based on the program that has been outlined, we will continually evaluate Joel’s progress against predetermined benchmarks and anticipate he will resume basketball activities this summer.
It’s gonna be a long road.
LaVar Ball is everywhere. Depending on when you’re reading this, he may be on WIP right now. He’s been on TV and radio non-stop, not only hyping up his son(s), but also spinning insane bullshit about himself. He said Lonzo is better than Steph Curry right now and that he’d beat Michael Jordan in his prime one-on-one, he said he wants a $1 billion, 10-year shoe deal for his three kids. He’s unavoidable.
And he’s divisive. Part of me wishes that if I were as good as Lonzo Ball, I’d want my dad to be acting the same way– hyping me, looking out for my career, keeping any money I make free from outside influencers. But is it just an image? A publicity ploy? Will he be a problem for whichever NBA team employs his son? After reading a new USA Today piece, the answers seem to be no, no, and a big ol’ YES.
Andrew Joseph wrote about LaVar for USA Today’s For the Win, focusing mainly on the clashes he had with the head coach at Chino Hills, where his two younger sons play high school ball (and where Lonzo played). It opens with a moment of boisterous stage dad-ery where the Chino Hills team is torn between running their coach’s defensive set and Ball’s, which he’s screaming from the stands. From there, it gets pretty bad:
Gilling remembers an incensed Ball bolting straight for the locker room.
“He comes to me and says, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ I said, ‘What do you mean? I’m trying to win the game.’
“He turns around and walks to our locker room,” Gilling said. “I said, ‘LaVar, don’t go into the locker room.’ He continues walking. I said, ‘LaVar, why are you trying to embarrass me?’ And he just kept walking and goes into the locker room. He’s in there sitting down with the team. And I’m like, ‘LaVar, get out!’”
Gilling says Ball refused to leave the locker room, so Gilling told his team to follow him back to the hotel while Ball’s sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, stayed behind.
When the Chino Hills team made it back to their hotel, Ball still hadn’t cooled down. In fact, he was just getting started.
“An assistant coach comes up to me and tells me that he sees LaVar rallying the team up,” Gilling said. “I guess he got them out of their rooms on the 18th floor and tells the team that it was his system that won. That we’re doing what he says. ‘I run Chino Hills! I run UCLA, about to run the NBA!’
“He pretty much downplays me at the same time. My assistant coach sees him and says to him, ‘That’s not right. Is there any middle ground?’ He says, ‘No, there’s no middle ground.’”
We dealt with K.J.’s mom (briefly), Kendall Marshall’s dad (briefly), and Chuk Okafor (who, physical threats aside, really isn’t so bad). But what happens to the Ball kids when their dad doesn’t like the coach? Gilling told Joseph that he had games where he wouldn’t even talk to LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball, while it was “noticeable that things were being said at home, and brought back to the gym in a way of, like, they’re not listening to the coaches.” LaVar didn’t deny it, and he even implied that his kids weren’t playing their hardest because their dad didn’t like the coach:
“If we would have gotten along, we would have been in the state title easy. But he’s trying to have a little resistance towards me. And I’m like, ‘Man, try and do it your way. That’s why you lost three games.’
“Because once he run and just play and when my son really wants to play for you, we’re gonna do good. But when you have any kind of resistance towards me, and you the head coach, it don’t work out that good. I already knew he was going to lose that game.”
Ball is essentially saying that his kids didn’t play their hardest in a way of siding with their dad against the coach. And he’s bragging about it. For someone who seems to need his face in front of a camera so often, that’s a very misguided play.
Lonzo Ball is very talented. He won’t slip past #2 in the draft. But if I had the choice, I would pick someone with one of those top two picks whose dad isn’t a dick.
"I want to know why I'm not getting a billion dollars (in a shoe deal). Is it because I'm black?" -LaVar Ball
— Carlin & Reese (@CarlinReeseWIP) March 24, 2017
I remember a story on Real Sports or OTL a couple of years ago about people who invite athletes to their weddings. Basically, they do it for fun and it’s usually a good way to get an autograph on the RSVP and a nice little note. Maybe they’ll even send a gift. But that story was about inviting athletes on Peyton Manning’s level. So what happens when you invite Brandon Brooks to your wedding? He asks what time he’s supposed to be there:
— Brandon Brooks (@bbrooks_79) March 24, 2017
Brooks was invited to the wedding of Geoff Lane and Marni Goldberg in January, and he plans on being there this weekend. Here’s what the letter above says:
As a 2007 graduate of Miami University, a Delaware Valley native, and a lifelong Eagles fan, my fiance and I would be thrilled to have you join us at our wedding at Kumler Chapel in Oxford, Ohio, on March 25, 2017, at 4 p.m.
Throughout your first year in Philadelphia, you have demonstrated what it means to be a Miamian and an Eagle. You continually exhibit the love, honor, resilience, and toughness that make Miamians and Philadelphians such special people. We hope you will consider joining us on our wedding day…
Love & Honor and Fly Eagles Fly.
Not sure if it’s the nice note, the fact that they went to the same school, or just that Brandon is a great dude, but it’s probably a little bit of all three. Just don’t hurt yourself getting a little bit softer now during “Shout” and it’ll all be good.
Kyle: I’ve got to be honest– I always question couples who want famous people at their wedding. You get like one day to be the center of attention. Take it. Even someone moderately well-known would draw attention away from the marrying couple at their wedding. Like what happens when Taylor Swift or Barack Obama is in your wedding (which has actually happened recently)? All eyes are on them. Brandon Brooks will be a tad more discrete, but the hulking football player in the corner will still be that Eagle who showed up to their wedding OMG all day long. Why give up your day – actually, your wife’s day, you self-centered prick – in the spotlight to someone you don’t even know? Am I a weird asshole? You bet! But goddammit, I made damn sure I was the most famous person at my wedding*, so that’s totally why I didn’t invite Chase Utley and Jay Wright and it’s not at all because of the crippling fear that they wouldn’t respond or, worse, send a signed headshot and not even extend me the courtesy of grabbing something off my registry. I don’t have issues– YOU have issues.
*Actually, Colleen Wolfe was our videographer. So this might not even be true.
It’s a tradition unlike any other. Every year, no matter who is in charge, the Phillies go after a 35 or 36-year-old, over-the-hill player who fills a spot on their roster. The long lineage of such studs as A.J. Burnett, Aaron Harang, and Joaquin Benoit, could be continued with Angel Pagan.
Pagan, who is in possession of one of the great baseball names, will turn 36 this season. Jon Heyman reported that both the Phillies and Blue Jays have their eyes on Pagan. But the question is: Why?
He’s old, but he’s coming off of a solid season on which he played in 129 games and hit .277 with a .750 OPS. Curiously, he also hit for his career-high in home runs (12) last year, at age 34. The Phils signed two new guys for the corners (Michael Saunders and Howie Kendrick) while their reigning All-Star is in centerfield. So Pagan would likely be a bench player.
Alshon has spunk– I like that in a wide receiver!
*To be honest, Jeffery could Tweet a fart Emoji and I’d think it indicative of his potential to catch 20 touchdowns this season.
Yesterday, MMQB posted a story about Adam Schefter on deadline day, because if there’s one thing media members like, it’s stories written about themselves. Here’s the salient part (Markman points refers to a game Schefter plays with his colleague relating to which player he breaks news on):
In the middle of Schefter’s flurry of calls, Alshon Jeffery (49 Markman points) rings him, wanting to know how much money the other free-agent receivers are making. Players sometimes contact Schefter with questions like this because he likely has that information even if he hasn’t reported it, as is the case here. Indeed, as they talk Schefter receives a text saying that Torrey Smith will be signing with the Eagles.
Schefter goes through the contract numbers on Smith, Jackson and Pierre Garçon, slowly, so Jeffery can apparently write them down. “It’s all about the guarantee, Alshon,” Schefter says. “It’s all about the guarantee … Your average per year could be $100 million. It doesn’t matter. If they’re going to guarantee you the majority of the contract, that’s what you want.”
Schefter asks where Jeffery is going. Jeffery doesn’t have an answer yet. Schefter asks that Jeffery notify him when he does make a decision and leaves the conversation at that.
After he hangs up, Schefter explains that he helps players like that “hoping that they reciprocate. Some people do, and some people don’t. And we’re going to find out.”
Alshon Jeffery, he of 49 Markman points, never calls Schefter back. Instead, the wideout calls Schefter’s colleague Josina Anderson to announce he’ll be signing with the Eagles.
OK, first of all, Schefter didn’t get scooped by Josina– he got scooped by a blogger without pants who doesn’t know about to spell Jeffery’s name:
Anonymous source: Barring anything crazy, Eagles likely to land Alshon Jeffrey.
— Kyle Scott (@CrossingBroad) March 9, 2017
Second, I’m not terribly surprised that players directly call reporters and offer an ostensible quid pro quo relationship. People might think this is a bad look for Schefter, somewhat advising players, but it’s how you get scoops. However, if you want to talk about how a reporter who works for a network that broadcasts league games is a genuine middleman and power player in actual league business… well, then that’s a different story. Schefter, it seems, is uniquely positioned to not only report, but also influence the news on which he is reporting while everyone else QUESTIONS THE MANNER IN WHICH HE REPORTS IT! Even Albert Brooks is kind of amazed that what Schefter says here comes out there. Schefty is Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler without the murderous undertones (I think?). He’s both Woodward and Deep Throat. OK, enough of the movie references. I’m not sure why Alshon is all bent out of shape here. It seems the account of his call to Schefter was actually observed and not just some sort of hearsay. But whatevs, I’m looking forward to Jeffery vs. Schefty.
The story on Schefter is good. Read it here.
We may get our wish. Sort of.
Zach Berman writes about one of the Eagles’ proposed rule changes:
The Eagles are proposing a new resolution at next week’s NFL meetings that could excite fans who want to see the team in alternate helmets – perhaps even the popular Kelly green helmets that are now throwbacks.
The Eagles want to take out the language in the league’s third uniform policy that requires “only current, primary” helmets be used as part of a third uniform. The effect of the proposal is it would permit teams to have an “alternate helmet” to be worn with a third uniform.
Currently, if the Eagles were to wear, say, Kelly Green uniforms as alternates, they would have to wear their Midnight Green helmets. The rule that states teams can wear only one helmet was put in place so players wouldn’t be forced to switch to new or different helmets mid-season. The thinking is that the new helmets wouldn’t undergo the same level of fine-tuning to each player’s respective noggin throughout the course of training camp, practice and games. We wrote about this a few years ago, but the gist is that the rule was all part of an effort by the league during the concussion lawsuit hysteria to cover their asses if a player got hurt wearing a helmet he wasn’t used to wearing. If it seems a bit extreme and ridiculous… yeah, I think so too. And it appears the Eagles feel the same way.
The current helmets consist of a solid-color base – MIDNIGHT GREEN – which isn’t practical to repaint, and decal logos and piping. This is why some teams are able to wear “different” helmets for Thursday night games…
Photo credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
… while the Eagles have to wear Midnight Green helmets with their black uniforms and in effect can’t wear Kelly Green uniforms (because the clashing greens would be truly horrific). The Broncos were able to swap out their logo and insert the D… even if the original look worn by John Elway called for something closer to a powder blue helmet. The Eagles would have a harder time just swapping out the logo and calling it a day. That’s not Kelly Green, dammit!
Though this rule change request obviously hints at a Kelly Green alternate, should it pass the Eagles would have further flexibility to wear black helmets with black uniforms, or even very loud yellow and blue helmets, like they did for one game during the McNabb era. The possibilities, as they say, are endless. But before we see Kelly Green again, the league will have to back off its kind of ridiculous helmet rule.
More people want to spend a late April weekend in Philadelphia than Chicago? COLOR ME SHOCKED:
As of Tuesday, 156,000 fans have signed up on Fan Mobile Pass to take part in the NFL Draft Experience in Philadelphia, according to the league. It’s the greatest number of fans to ever sign up for the event even though registration has only been open 16 days. By comparison, 48,000 fans registered over the same time period for the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago. This year’s numbers beat that mark by 225 percent.
Fans from all 50 states have registered for the event, according to the league.
Why you’d leave Hawaii to come to this I have no idea. Maybe this not at all cheesy video sold them on it:
Fans who won the lottery started receiving their emails yesterday, but all is not lost if you didn’t get one. You can still watch from the Parkway, and have a chance to receive standby tickets by checking in on the Fan Mobile Pass app at the event.
I spoke to Lou Scheinfeld and Rick Berger yesterday. They are spearheading the effort, dreamed up by Ed Snider, to bring a Museum of Philly Sports to South Philly, likely near Xfinity Live!.
The plan for Phase 2 of the entertainment complex near the grounds of the old Spectrum was always to feature a museum or hall of fame of sorts. Scheinfeld, a former Flyers, Sixers and Eagles exec who had long been Snider’s right-hand man, has been working on the project since 2011. Berger is handling the fundraising. They have the support of Mayor Kenney, Ed Rendell, and all the local teams to varying degrees. There will be a private fundraiser next month, perhaps followed by solicitations for public contributions to bring the project over the goal line.
So, what is it? Continue Reading