After setback, Crawford still aiming for opening day

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After setback, Crawford still aiming for opening day

FORT MYERS, Fla -- Carl Crawford's setback with his left wrist, suffered earlier this week thanks to overwork, isn't a major concern -- for now.

Crawford was making progress from the surgery he underwent in January, but after taking full swings and following it with a day of bunting drills, Crawford experienced soreness and had to back off his activity.

He was given anti-inflammatory medication and restricted to one-handed swings off a tee.

"It was getting better, then I had a little setback,'' said Crawford. "Right now, I'm just kind of resting a little bit. You're always concerned when you have a little setback, but hopefully, it's just for a few days.''

Crawford's hope is that he's going to be cleared to return to two-hand swings "in the next couple of days.''

"I'm pretty sure what I've been doing in the course of a week -- swinging, then bunting and throwing -- probably didn't make it any better,'' said Crawford. "The bunting was the final thing that took it over the edge and we had to slow it down.''

He blamed himself for trying to do too much, too soon in his rehab effort.

"I was probably pushing it too much,'' he acknowledged. "I probably shouldn't have done as much as I was doing, but it was feeling so good at first that I wanted to keep going and going. Now I know what kind of pace I have to do things at and once the inflammation goes down, I have to not push it as much.''

Asked if being in the lineup for Opening Day was still a possibility, Crawford said: "That's what I'm trying for. That was a definitely a goal of mine, but we'll have to wait and see.''

Crawford said he didn't have any idea how many at-bats he would need in Grapefruit League play to be ready for the opener.

"I just think the more at-bats I can get before I have to actually start playing, (the better),'' he said. "In baseball, you have to get those reps.''

Manager Bobby Valentine, after checking with the training staff, reported Saturday morning that the swelling in Crawford's wrist was down, his range of motion was fine and progress was being made. He'll be cleared to return when "everything is perfect.''

Bennett back at practice, but admits injuries hurting his play

Bennett back at practice, but admits injuries hurting his play

FOXBORO -- Martellus Bennett is willing to admit it. 

"Last week was probably my worst game as a Patriot," he told reporters in the locker room on Thursday. "But, you know, you have a bad game here and there. This week, come back grinding, and get ready."

Never was it more clear than on Sunday that Bennett has been hobbled by the injuries he's dealing with. He's coped with an ankle injury since Week 5 in Cleveland that has earned him the respect of his teammates and coaches, but against the Rams it appeared to severely impact his performance. 

He saw four targets and caught two for four yards. As a blocker -- the facet of his game that stood out more than his receiving ability early this season -- he was called for two holds and had difficulty keeping his assignments in check, both in the run game and in pass protection. 

Asked if he may benefit from a week off, Bennett said he planned to continue to play.

"I never thought about that. I just keep going," he said. "I'm like the energizer bunny. I just try to find a way. Sometimes it's [expletive] when you're out there playing with different injuries. You can't do a lot of things that you want to do. You have [expletive] plays. You might have a string of bad plays in a row just because youre dealing with different things . . . 

"But throughout the game you kind of find a way to get the job done. I think that's the biggest point. It may not be pretty all the time, but try to figure some kind of way to get it done. Sometimes it's adjusting as the game goes on."

He added: "The thing about this sport is it's always something. You never go throuigh a season without having some kind of nick or tear, but there's a lot of guys playing with different things. But some guys are able to play through different injuries, and [with] some of the same injuries, you see guys around the league . . . go on IR and things like that. But it just depends on the person and their pain tolerance."

Bennett was back at practice Thursday after he wasn't spotted there on Wednesday. He may be helped by the long week leading up to Monday's game against the Ravens. It could mean an extra day of rest and recovery.

Sometimes, he said, it's difficult not to be out there.

"Sometimes. Sometimes it's like, thank God. I needed that today," he said. "It varies each week. . . I'll fight through whatever and I think that's something that my teammates and coaches know about me that I'm going to try to give them everything I got no matter what."

Tim Thomas ranked one of top 40 goalies on very weird list

Tim Thomas ranked one of top 40 goalies on very weird list

The NHL Network is terrific. Its programming is the best of any of the four major sports leagues’ channels, its talent is outstanding and it shows a lot of cool games across various leagues.  

Players mess up though. 

In the network’s recently released ranking of the 40 best goaltenders of all time, the Bruins were well-represented, but so too was insanity. We’re talking Jonathan Quick in the top 20 (No. 16!), Marc-Andre Fleury top 25 (No. 21!) and Corey Crawford top 30 (No. 26!). Those are just a few of the head-scratchers. 

Tim Thomas was one of seven Bruins on the list, coming in at No. 27. Other Bruins ranked were Bernie Parent (No. 12), Frank Brimsek (No. 23), Rogie Vachon (No. 25), Tiny Thompson (No. 28), Gerry Cheevers (No. 29), Andy Moog (No. 36). Here's the full list, per Mark Lazerus. 

Statistically, Tuukka Rask deserves a place on this list if Fleury and Crawford are going to be that high, but we’ll save the Rask arguments for literally every other second of my life. 

[OK, real quick: Rask has the highest career save percentage of all time. Quick sits No. 17 and Fleury is 32nd. This doesn’t need to be completely statistics based, but it also shouldn’t be completely how-many-Cup-teams-were-on-based. Honestly, I can’t tell what this list is based on at all. Like Cristobal Huet had a better career save percentage than Fleury has.]

Anyway, everyone else hated the list, too.