BOSTON -- Anderson Varejao is one of the most coveted big men in the NBA this season.Averaging a league-high 14.4 rebounds per game with 14.1 points to accompany them, the Cleveland Cavaliers center is drawing major buzz in the first two months of the season.This isn't the first time he has heard his name mentioned in trade talks -- he averaged a double-double last season and nearly 10 and 10 the previous year -- so he isn't letting himself get sidetracked by an area of the game he cannot impact."I can't control it," he said prior to the Cavaliers loss against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. "All I've got to do is keep playing hard, keep playing my game, keep helping this team. If I get traded, I get traded. It's nothing I can do. I'm happy in Cleveland. I'm happy with the organization. Whatever happens, happens. I have no control."The Cavs acquired Varejao from the Orlando Magic after they selected him with the 30th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He has been through the excitement of championship contention and the struggles of rebuilding. Even at 5-22, he is still dedicated to the Cavaliers. Varejao, 30, was upset he was sidelined by a knee injury and could not help his younger teammates take on the veteran Celtics."I hate when I'm hurt and I'm not playing and I'm not out there to help my teammates," he said. "It hurts. It hurts more than anything else to me, not being able to be out there."Varejao's commitment to his team does not go unnoticed. The Boston Celtics rank 29th overall in rebounding, and head coach Doc Rivers praised Varejao not only for his individual skills but his overall impact in the Cavs locker room."He's just a joy to watch," said Rivers. "You can see that in their play. You can see that in (Tristan) Thompson's play now and (rookie Tyler) Zeller that playing with that guy every day, it makes you take notice. I think he's been a great teacher for their bigs."Rivers continued, "He's the most active (rebounder). I'm sure there's somebody that has a better gift at it, but he's just an amazing player to watch. Not only the best rebounder, he may be the best passing big. He is skilled and his energy is part of his skill, but I don't think people realize how good he is."If Varejao continues his performance this season, it will be difficult to find those who don't realize his talents.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Andrew Benintendi saga will continue for at least one more day, as an MRI taken here Thursday morning was, in the words of John Farrell, "inconclusive" and the rookie left fielder will undergo more tests Friday in Boston.
"Our doctors want to get him back to a full exam with (team orthopedist) Dr. [Peter] Asnis," Farrell said after the 2-1 loss to the Rays, which concluded the team's 11-game road trip. "Hopefully, when I speak to you all [Friday] afternoon (at Fenway Park, prior to the team's game against Royals), there will be a little more information on this."
Farrell said Friday's tests "will include some other imaging".
The Sox placed Benintendi on the 15-day disabled list after he injured his left night while running the bases Wednesday night.
"We're going to do some more tests tomorrow and take it day-by-day," he said. "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully the tests come back clean.''
Benintendi found one sliver of hope:
"The more I walk on it, the better it feels. I'm going to stay as positive as I can.''
Alan Branch has been reinstated by the Patriots after the team suspended him prior to last week's preseason game with the Bears, according to Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran.
When Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about Branch's absence last week, he replied, "It's a club matter."
What got Branch suspended by the team is still unknown, but he is expected to be a contributing player on the interior of the Patriots defensive line in 2016. He started in 17 games last season, including both playoff games, often lining up alongside fellow defensive tackle Malcom Brown.
Through training camp the Patriots have also used Terrance Knighton, Vincent Valentine, Anthony Johnson and Joe Vellano on the interior of their defensive front. Branch, however, has consistently been used with the team's first defensive grouping. It's unclear how a week away from the team might impact his spot on the depth chart.
Field Yates of ESPN was the first to report the news that Branch had been reinstated.
Tom Brady traveled with the Patriots to Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, ahead of the third preseason game Friday night against the Carolina Panthers.
There’s no word on if Brady will play. He missed the opener against the Saints and, after cutting his thumb with scissors, missed the second exhibition game last Thursday against the Bears, both at Gillette Stadium.
Brady, of course, will miss the first four games of the regular season serving his NFL-imposed Deflategate suspension.