Crawford diagnosed with elbow ligament sprain

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Crawford diagnosed with elbow ligament sprain

CHICAGO -- Outfielder Carl Crawford has been diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his left elbow and will be sidelined for an extended period, the Red Sox said in a statement Thursday night.
The statement read: "Carl Crawford was examined by the Red Sox medical staff. He was diagnosed as having a left elbow ulnar collateralligament sprain. A conservative treatment protocol was recommended. Carl was also examined by Dr. James Andrews who was in agreement with the assessment and plan. Carl received a Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection and will be shut down from baseball activity during the initial phase of his treatment."
A source with direct knowledge of the injury said Thursday that the elbow "needs time to calm down,'' and for the time being, surgery is not an option.
One report Thursday estimated that the recovery time could be as long as three months, but the source said that the Sox were hopeful it would not be that long.
A sprain of the UCL is tantamount to a minor tear of the ligament. A worsening of that tear could, in theory, require ligament repalcement, more commonly known as "Tommy John'' surgery, which would carry with it a year-long recovery period.
Crawford has battled elbow pain for the past month and has already returned to Boston for two examinations. He had been rehabilitating his left wrist, which was surgically repaired in January, when the elbow issue cropped up.
After the wrist surgery, the Sox had targeted a return to the lineup by Opening Day or soon after. A setback to the wrist in February extended his expected recovery time by a few weeks, but the elbow injury has superceded that.
Crawford is the second member of the team's projected starting outfield to go down with a significant injury. Jacoby Ellsbury suffered a subluxation of his right shoulder during the team's home opener and is expected to miss anywhere from six to eight weeks.

Celtics aren't asking Al Horford to be 'anything more' than what he is

Celtics aren't asking Al Horford to be 'anything more' than what he is

WALTHAM -- From one media station to the next, Al Horford effortlessly moved about during Boston Celtics Media Day.
 
In between stations, I jokingly asked the nine-year veteran, "Been through a few of these before?"
 
"A couple," he quipped.
 
But Monday was different. And every other Monday going forward this season will be different, too, for the longtime Atlanta Hawks forward, who is now a member of the Boston Celtics after they signed him to a four-year, $113 million contract this summer.
 
With that significant increase in salary comes -- from those outside the Celtics program at least -- a higher level of expectations.
 
"We’re not asking Al to be anything more than him," said coach Brad Stevens.  "He’s a good fit for how we play on offense. He’s a good fit for how we play on defense. He’s a professional. He has a routine. He works hard at his craft. He’s a guy that guys can follow by example."
 
However, Horford joins a Celtics team that -- since the rebuild began in 2013 -- has yet to win 50 games in a single season or get past the first round of the playoffs.
 
And while it will certainly be a collective team effort for Boston to achieve those goals, make no mistake about it: Horford is expected to be the man leading the way.
 
"We need to start building good habits from Day One," Horford said.

Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, is a big fan of Horford’s character and versatility, which has been on display throughout his career.
 
"As much as anything he’s been very consistent over his career," Ainge said. "Shooting the ball, playing multiple positions. He’s a guy that fits in with our system with big guys handling the ball a lot."
 
Horford’s new teammate echoed similar sentiments about the four-time All-Star.
 
And when you listen to his new Celtics teammates talk about him and what he’ll bring to a roster that’s loaded with returnees, there are a couple of common themes that seem to develop.
 
"He brings leadership; hard work," said Avery Bradley.
 
Bradley had a chance to spend some time around Jeff Teague, one of Horford’s former teammates in Atlanta.
 
"He just told me I’m really going to enjoy having him on this team," Bradley said. "He’s going to open the floor for everybody. He’s a great player on the offensive end, defensive end. He knows how to play the game of basketball. To have him be a part of this team, I’m just happy about it."
 
So is Amir Johnson, who will likely start with Horford in the frontcourt for Boston.
 
Last season, Johnson was Boston’s primary rim-protecting big man. With the addition of Horford, Johnson won’t be relied on as heavily to be Boston’s last line of defense, which makes his life easier and, more importantly, makes the Celtics a better team defensively.
 
"[Horford] has so many skills he can contribute to the game," Johnson said. "He can run the floor, block shots, shoot the 3-ball, which is big now. He can do it all. It’ll be a big piece to carry us over the top. We just have to put it all together."