Jim Calhoun undergoes successful surgery


Jim Calhoun undergoes successful surgery

STORRS, CONN -- UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun has undergone what the school says was successful surgery to address the spinal condition that has forced him to miss the Huskies' past sevengames.

The school says the two-hour surgery was performed Monday morning at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York and involved removing a disc fragment that had been pressing on a spinal nerve. The surgeons then decompressed the area around thenerve.

Calhoun issued a statement thanking his doctors and those who reached out to him to offersupport.

The school says Calhoun's coaching status will be monitored on a day-to-day basis, and there is no timetable set for hisreturn.

UConn, which has gone 3-4 during Calhoun's medical leave for spinal stenosis, plays at Providence onTuesday.

Calhoun told The Associated Press Saturday that he hopes to be back in time to coach the March 3 season finale againstPittsburgh.

Dr. John Knightly, who is the medical director of the Spine Center at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., but is not treating Calhoun, said that is certainly apossibility.

"I have patients driving after a couple of days, and if you can drive, you can coach, assuming he's not having other problems that would require a much more aggressive surgery," he said. "This is so he can walk more independently withoutpain."

Under associate head coach George Blaney, the Huskies lost to Syracuse on Saturday, 71-69.
"I hope more than anything that he takes care of the pain," Blaney said. "The pain has been really, really tough for him - for anybody - but for him because he doesn't acknowledge pain. So, I can imagine what the pain really is for it to keep him out, and I'm hoping the operation or procedure is successful and that he'll be back as soon aspossible."

Calhoun turns 70 in May and is a three-time cancer survivor. There has been talk after the past several seasons of his possible retirement, but center Alex Oriakhi said he doesn't believe this latest health setback will mean the end of the coach'scareer.

"It takes a lot to bring Coach Calhoun down," he said. "I definitely think this is really nothing for him. That's a man who fell off his bike, broke his ribs and kept riding. I definitely think you're going to see him backsoon.

"This is just a little bump in the road, but he'll get throughit."

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

With the NFL facing more PR issues by the day, Randy Moss has identified what he feels is wrong with a league that can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

In wake of the Josh Brown situation, which saw the NFL blame the King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office for the lack of initial punishment given to the Giants kicker for domestic violence, Moss said on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown that commissioner Roger Goodell is the league’s biggest problem. 

“[This is] a bad time to show up now, breast cancer awareness month where we’re supporting the women, and then you come up with this Josh Brown, where it doesn’t seem like we are supporting women,” Moss said. “I think the NFL needs to take a deep look. I think the owners are mad, and Roger Goodell, he is the biggest reason to all of this stuff that’s fallen downhill with the NFL. I have to agree with that.”

Brown was initially given a one-game suspension for violating the league’s conduct policy stemming from his 2015 fourth-degree domestic violence charge. On Friday, the 37-year-old was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. 

Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett


Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett

PITTSBURGH – So far this season, Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski have combined for 39 catches, 644 yards and five touchdowns. Making the numbers that much more impressive is the fact the numbers were rolled up with Gronk inactive for two games and fairly useless in another thanks to his hamstring injury.

Will the Steelers slow the roll of Robellus Grennetski?

Hard to imagine. As Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, Gronk alone has tuned up the Steelers with 26 receptions for 403 yards and seven touchdowns in six meetings.

Fittipaldo explored the strategies the Steelers defense may unveil Sunday afternoon when the Patriots and Steelers get going. He also pointed out that the return of linebacker Ryan Shazier after a three week layoff and injuries for safeties Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden may put Pittsburgh at a disadvantage.

Said Shazier: “They have the tandem they want at tight end. Now they can use tight ends the way they want. You have to respect everyone on the field. Both of them are good blockers, good pass threats and great at running after the catch.”

Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Pittsburgh will alter its approaches.

“We have to be able to play more than one defense,” Butler said. “They’re very good and they’ll pick you apart if they can figure out what you’re doing. We just have to execute the defense more than anything else. If we can do that … that’s been our problem for the most part. Some of the things that went on last week, we missed some things we should have made mentally.”

What “went on last week” was a 30-15 loss to the Dolphins.

Pittsburgh hasn’t been a big-play group so far -- eight sacks and three picks -- nor have they seen a gauntlet of great quarterbacks in the first six games. 

Interestingly, their losses have been to Ryan Tannehill and rookie Carson Wentz, probably the two quarterbacks one would figure Pittsburgh would do best against.
Between a smoking hot Brady and a can’t-be-stopped tight end tandem, there’s probably not a lot Pittsburgh can do aside from hoping for an off day.

Said linebacker Arthur Moats hopefully: “You have to continue to mix it up against (Gronkowski). You can’t give him the same look over and over. He has success on guys like that. If we disrupt him, and rush Brady and speed up his clock, I definitely think that will help out.”

In theory, perhaps. In practice? We’ll see.