... but lose a key player to a broken hand

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... but lose a key player to a broken hand

From Comcast SportsNet
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Clippers forward Caron Butler broke his left hand Sunday in Game 1 of Los Angeles' series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Butler had 12 points and two rebounds in 23 minutes, and the Clippers rallied without him. They tied the NBA playoff record for largest deficit overcome at the end of three quarters, when they trailed by 21, and beat the Grizzlies 99-98. The forward said he thinks he got hurt early in the third quarter when his hand got caught during a pin-down screen in the jersey of Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay, another former Connecticut star. He was able to keep playing but once he went to the bench, he noticed his hand throbbing. He went to the locker room for an X-ray and returned to the bench. "I was about to go back in the game, and got the X-ray results," Butler said. "I told Coach I was ready, and he was about to throw me back in the fire." The veteran forward is one of the few Clippers with playoff experience, though he was injured last year when he was with the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks. A starter, Butler averaged 12 points for the Clippers this season. "I feel terrible for him," Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He's been such a pro for us, but injuries are part of it. Other guys are going to have to step up like they did tonight. But replacing Caron right now ... he's been so valuable for us all year. I know the guys feel bad." Gay was told about Butler's injury after the game. "People are going to step up, and we're not expecting anything to be easy with Caron or without Caron," Gay said. "We're going to have to go out and play hard."

Bennett on Goodell: 'Where is he? He's like Waldo right now'

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Bennett on Goodell: 'Where is he? He's like Waldo right now'

FOXBORO -- Leave it to Martellus Bennett, the children's book author, to make a cartoon reference when asked about the lingering effects of Deflategate. 

Could hear the "Where's Roger?" chants that rang throughout Gillette Stadium on Sunday night, a reporter wondered? Bennett deflected at first. 

"Who's Roger," he asked? 

Then it was pointed out to him that the chants were directed to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who opted to attend the NFC title game in Atlanta -- his second trip to the Georgia Dome in as many weeks -- instead of the AFC title game between the Patriots and Steelers. 

"Oh yeah," Bennett said, his memory apparently jogged. "Where is he? He's like Waldo right now. He didn't want to come here."

Tom Brady was asked about the chants as well. He had to have heard them, a reporter noted. 

"I didn't hear that chant," Brady insisted. "I did hear them singing to Bon Jovi, though, that was pretty cool."

Awaiting the Patriots in Houston will be the Atlanta Falcons, obviously, but one side plot will be the potential for a face-to-face for Goodell and the Patriots.

In the past, Goodell has handed the Lombardi Trophy to the Super Bowl winner following the game -- a tradition one would expect would continue this year regardless of who wins. The commissioner has also awarded the game's MVP award to the honoree on the morning after the game. Following the Super Bowl two seasons ago, Brady and Goodell shared a stage as Brady accepted the MVP hardware.