By Tom E. Curran"Operation Beer Liberation 2011" didn't go as planned for Mike Vrabel. And at some point, he's going to be sitting across the table from NFL owners figuring how to divvy up 10 billion while both sides know he got pinched for trying to abscond with 10 worth of sauce. Let he who has never made a sketchy beer-related decision at 5 a.m. cast the first stone. Still, that dustup is bad for business. Meanwhile....MOON RAKERWarren Moon is doing Cam Newton more harm than good. Hired as a mentor for the Auburn Heisman Trophy winner, Moon has been ever-available to share his opinions - biased though they may be - on all things Cam. Last week, he alleged racism after Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki offered a scathing review of Newton's off-field persona. That ignored the fact that Nawrocki's hammered plenty of white prospects in similar fashion. This week, he told USA Today's Jim Corbett that the Panthers are sold on Newton with the No. 1 pick as a player but thatthe Panthers "just need to talk to him more about who he is and get to know him a little bit better." Actually, they probably need to know just how often guys like Moon or Newton's agent Bus Cook (advisor to prima donnas Brett Favre, Jay Cutler and Adalius Thomas) are going to get their hands in the soup and stir things up. Here's a media conundrum. It's great for us when there's an oracle like Moon who'll spout off. But in considering whether a team or a player is well-served by guys who'll make our jobs easier ...they usually aren't. Moon isn't under the Panthers' control. And will Newton be in a position to ask him to quiet down? Moon's the mentor, right? The layers of hangers-on and people whose interests are served by seeing Newton succeed are going to make teams wary. Consider a scenario. It's Week 10. Newton hasn't mastered the playbook enough to unseat Jimmy Clausen, yet the Panthers are 3-6. Someone asks Moon what he thinks of Newton sitting behind Clausen. Moonexplains that Newton's getting a raw deal. Maybe he plays the race card again. Media chaos and a week's worth of wall-to-wall analysis ensues. Do the Panthers want or need that? It's already proven that Cecil Newton is a wild card, now there's a braying Moon in the mix? Proceed. With. Caution. 2. Brady3. Billick4. Huffas a mentor. With Bus Cook as an agent,
The Boston Celtics are used to this playing without a key starter thing, so tonight’s game at Orlando won’t be all that different than most of their games this season.
Isaiah Thomas will not play tonight against the Magic due to a right groin injury he suffered in Monday’s 107-106 loss at Houston.
Thomas flew back to Boston Tuesday night.
Head coach Brad Stevens told reporters he is leaning towards having Marcus Smart, who filled in earlier for an injured Jae Crowder, start in place of Thomas.
The injury occurred in the second quarter of the Rockets game, but Thomas continued to play on as he knocked down a 3-point shot just moments after he first began grimacing while holding the groin.
Following the loss, Thomas acknowledged the injury did bother him for the rest of the game as he finished with 20 points on 7-for-18 shooting.
“A few drives I didn’t have the lift,” Thomas told reporters. “It is what it is. I’ll figure it out.”
Thomas, who was named to his first all-star team last season, has been even more dynamic offensively this year.
He leads the Celtics with a career-high 26 points per game and has been ranked among the NBA’s top 10 scorers most of this season.
It is too soon to tell if the injury will sideline him for one game, or whether he’ll be out for an extended period of time.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while ready for the Chris Sale era to begin with the Red Sox in a 1975 throwback uniform at Fenway’s opening day.
*Larry Brooks says that the New York Rangers are in “deep trouble” despite all of the goals that they’re scoring, and here’s why.
*Good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Marc Spector about Kris Russell defying the analytical critics with his work for the Edmonton Oilers.
*Scary scene with the New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks where Taylor Hall knocked out Philip Larsen with a hit, and then touched a brawl where the unconscious Larsen was kicked in the head a couple of times.
*Here’s some very good news about former B’s forward Craig Cunningham, who has begun communicating with his AHL teammates through Facetime calls and is alert, joking and sounding like somebody that’s starting to make a slow recovery from whatever mysterious thing caused him to collapse prior to a Roadrunners game.
*For something completely different: The first trailer for "Spider Man: Homecoming" is going to be shown during Jimmy Kimmel, and it’s looking pretty cool in this snippet.