Fletcher finally rid of hard cast

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Fletcher finally rid of hard cast

PROVIDENCE -- Dane Fletcher didn't have to say a word; as soon as he walked into Providence's Hasbro Children's Hospital Thursday, it was obvious.

The cast is gone.

"We're good to go, baby!" He told reporters, lifting both arms triumphantly. "We're good. No worries there."

Fletcher had at least two surgeries after injuring his right thumb during the 2011 preseason and was stuck in a hard cast for most of the year. The linebacker played in just 10 games (32 tackles) and started five. But it seems having an offseason to fully rest and recuperate has already made a difference.

"It's been good, progressing just like I wanted to. Just hope to continue there, enjoy my time a little bit back in Montana, and relax."

Just in time -- Patriots OTA's begin after the weekend.

"We're looking forward to getting it started back here on Monday, back with everybody," Fletcher said. "I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of the same faces, a lot of new faces, just getting to know everybody again, start from scratch."

Celtics, Hawks admit Bradley injury had big effect on series

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Celtics, Hawks admit Bradley injury had big effect on series

BOSTON - The Celtics weren’t looking to make excuses after their elimination from the playoffs Thursday night.

That said, there had to be a pretty big “if” going around the locker room throughout the series. There certainly was among Celtics fans.

If . . . Avery Bradley was healthy, the Celtics may have won the series.

Health as a whole was a big problem for the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Kelly Olynyk were all banged up.

But Bradley injuring his hamstring in Game 1 greatly changed the series, taking away Boston’s best on-ball defender (and one of the league’s best on-ball defenders). Bradley could also be counted on to hit the outside shot, opening up the floor for teammate Isaiah Thomas.

Without Bradley, the Celtics were forced to bring Evan Turner off the bench to start in his place. That took away the bench’s best offensive weapon.

Not having Bradley isn’t the only reason the Celtics lost the series, but it has to be considered a big factor.

“Yeah that hurt us a little bit. That’s a key part of what we’re about,” Jae Crowder said. “We tried to fight through it and the next guy tried to step up. But of course we missed him. We missed him a lot and we missed what he brings to the team. It sucks that it happens, but injuries are a part of it. He had one that he couldn’t fight through and we just tried to step up for him. But at this time of the season, a lot of guys hurt, and his was so unfortunate for us that it kept him out and it hurt us.”

The Celtics’ loss was the Hawks’ gain. Guys like Kyle Korver were able to get free easier at times. Korver  averaged 12.2 points per game and made three three-pointers a game (shooting 45-percent from the three-point line, five percentage points higher than in the regular season). Korver is well aware how important Bradley is to the Celtics.

“He’s a really good player. It’s been incredible to watch his offense catch up to his defense,” Korver said. “When he has it going I look at him as a great shooter. He’s so quick on the dribble handoffs and they run a lot of stuff for him. He’s really improved as a shooter and obviously his defense has always been great. It’s unfortunate that he got hurt, it does feel like they have a lot of guys similar to him; feels like they draft a new one every year. He’s a really good player and that definitely hurt them.”

It had to be tough for Bradley to watch from the bench as his team struggled, but that will hopefully only make him hungrier to win next season, with perhaps another former Texas Longhorn by his side in the starting lineup.

Brady legal team adds former Solicitor General Olson

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Brady legal team adds former Solicitor General Olson

Tom Brady’s legal team has added another heavy hitter with Supreme Court experience and has filed a motion for more time to mull another appeal.

Former US Solicitor General Ted Olson, who has argued more than 60 cases before the Supreme Court, has been added as counsel in the wake of the Patriots quarterback’s Deflategate suspension being reinstated. 

Sports Illustrated legal analyst and University of New Hampshire law professor Michael McCann calls the move the "clearest sign yet they will exhaust their appeals rather than give up."

In addition to filing a notice Friday that added Olson, the NFLPA, on behalf of Brady, requested an extension of the window to appeal the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that reinstated the four-game suspension imposed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The window is normally 14 days and this motion requests and additional two-week extension. 

From the court filing:

”The Court's opinion will affect the rights of every player in the NFL. Accordingly, the NFLPA and its members would benefit from additional time to analyze the implications of the decision for labor-management relations between the NFL and the NFLPA."

Olson, 75, was assistant attorney general from 1981-84 and Solicitor General under President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He has won 75 percent of his Supreme Court cases, which include two Bush v. Gore cases.
 

Friday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

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Friday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

BOSTON -- Henry Owens will be on the mound tonight, making his second start of the season, as the Red Sox play the Yankees for the first time in 2016.

The lineups:

YANKEES:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Texeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Brian McCann C
Starlin Castro 2B
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
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Masahiro Tanaka P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
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Henry Owens P