McVay: Rams expect Donald to play vs Packers
LOS ANGELES — All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald is expected to play for the Rams on Saturday in Green Bay after injuring his ribs in Los Angeles’ playoff victory at Seattle.
Rams coach Sean McVay also said Sunday night that quarterback John Wolford and receiver Cooper Kupp are likely to be available for Los Angeles (11-6) against the Packers despite getting hurt against the Seahawks.
McVay said he doesn’t expect to name a starting quarterback this week for the Rams’ showdown with the top-seeded Packers (12-4), preferring to wait until game day for the second straight week.
Wolford left Lumen Field in an ambulance after getting hurt early in his second career start while taking a low hit to the head from Seattle’s Jamal Adams. Wolford’s injury turned out to be a stinger, and he returned to the stadium for the postgame celebration.
Longtime starter Jared Goff took over and led the Rams to the win, but went 9 for 19 less than two weeks after undergoing surgery on his right thumb.
“It affected him yesterday,” McVay said. “If you watch the game, it did. It might not have been painful, but it was something that he did a great job battling. There were things he’s typically able to execute where it seemed like (the thumb injury) was a factor.”
McVay said he expects both quarterbacks to be available in Green Bay, but he will monitor their progress before deciding on a starter.
The coach also said the Rams are much more likely to have a third quarterback active against the Packers after Los Angeles had only two in uniform in Seattle. Veteran Blake Bortles and rookie Bryce Perkins are the Rams' other two quarterbacks.
McVay was vague on the details of Donald's injury, which occurred in the second half of the Rams' 30-20 victory when he pulled Russell Wilson down onto him during a tackle in the third quarter. Donald left the game and went to the locker room, but eventually returned to watch the Rams' win from the sideline.
“We'll be smart with him throughout the week,” McVay said. “He's going to do everything in his power to be ready to go. Don't expect that to affect his game status for this week.”
Donald had two sacks and three quarterback hits on Wilson before his injury.
Donald was a unanimous selection to his sixth consecutive All-Pro team last week. He also earned his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl selection during another dominant season in which he finished second in the NFL with 13 1/2 sacks.
Kupp, the Rams' leading receiver, left the game in Seattle early after taking a hit to his knee, but the injury turned out to be bursitis. Kupp's knee swelled after the hit, but is doing much better, McVay said.
Rams left guard David Edwards also left with Achilles tendinitis. He will be monitored throughout the week, but Bobby Evans will make his first start of the season if Edwards can't play. Evans started seven games as a rookie last season, and he performed well in Edwards' place in Seattle.
English wins Kapalua in playoff for 1st victory in 7 years
KAPALUA, Hawaii — Harris English went more than seven years without winning on the PGA Tour, and he didn’t mind going one extra hole to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Sunday.
English missed a 10-foot eagle putt in regulation on the par-5 18th hole at Kapalua for a 4-under 69 to force a playoff with Joaquin Niemann, and he ended it on the 18th with a 6-foot birdie.
Niemann, who closed with a 64, pulled his approach enough to tumble down the steep, shaggy hill. His full swing from thick grass got him to the fringe, but he missed the birdie putt.
English capped off his remarkable turnaround at a tournament he ordinarily wouldn’t be allowed to play. The Tournament of Champions is for winners only from the previous year, but the field was expanded to include anyone who reached the Tour Championship because of the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down the PGA Tour for three months.
The fact English made it to the Tour Championship was proof of turning around his game. He ended the previous season without a full card and mired in a slump that dropped him to No. 369 in the world. He did everything last year but win, and he took care of that in the first event of the new year.
Now the 31-year-old from Georgia is among the top 20 in the world, and guaranteed a return to Kapalua next year.
Wizards lose Bryant to torn ACL in left knee
WASHINGTON — The Washington Wizards likely will be without center Thomas Bryant for the remainder of the season because of a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Bryant is one of only two players who started all 10 games so far this season for the Wizards. He got hurt after incidental contact with two Miami players during the first quarter of the Wizards’ loss to the Heat on Saturday night.
An MRI performed Sunday confirmed the partial tear. The Wizards have not announced when Bryant will have surgery or given an exact timeline for his recovery, but the rehabilitation process following ACL tears and surgery typically take several months at a minimum.
“I just know one thing about TB: He’s a great kid that works hard, plays with passion, gives you everything he has,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said.
Bryant has averaged 14.3 points and 6.1 rebounds on 65% shooting this season.
Kenin beats Putintseva to reach Abu Dhabi quarterfinals
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin of the United States came back from match point down to beat Yulia Putintseva and reach the quarterfinals of the Abu Dhabi Open on Sunday.
Kenin posted 57 unforced errors to Putintseva’s 43 but still prevailed 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 over the 13th-seeded Putintseva.
“I felt like today was more of a mental match. I practice with her quite a lot so I know her game well,” Kenin said. “I’m just happy with the way that I fought even though I wasn’t feeling 100% on court.”
Kenin dropped the opening set for the second consecutive match in Abu Dhabi. Putintseva had match point when serving at 6-5 up in the second set, but Kenin saved the point and broke Putintseva’s serve to take the set to a tiebreak.
Next up is a quarterfinal match with ninth-seeded Maria Sakkari, who beat former French Open and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza 7-5, 6-4, posting 33 winners to five for the more defensive Muguruza. Kenin won her two previous matches against Sakkari, both in three sets in 2018.
Also, Elina Svitolina saved two match points in a final-set tiebreak to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (8) for a place in the quarterfinals. The second-seeded Ukrainian faces another Russian opponent, Veronika Kudermetova, in the next round.
Jessie Diggins wins 1st Tour de Ski title for United States
VAL DI FIEMME, Italy — Jessie Diggins won a first title for the United States in cross-country skiing’s Tour de Ski on Sunday.
Leading the women’s time standings after seven events, Diggins placed second in the 10-kilometer final stage of the 10-day competition raced in Italy and Switzerland.
Her final time of more than three hours was 1 minute, 24 seconds ahead of Russian Yulia Stupak. Ebba Andersson of Sweden was third.
In 15 years of the marathon competition, Diggins’s third place three years ago is the only other podium finish by an American man or woman.
Four different Norwegians combined to win the past seven editions of the women’s Tour de Ski. The cross-country skiing power did not enter the 2021 competitions because of safety concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
Diggins, from Saint Paul, Minnesota, won an Olympic gold medal at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games in team sprint with Kikkan Randall.