Michael Vick might be out for a while

938665.jpg

Michael Vick might be out for a while

From Comcast SportsNetPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- His head pounding and his play erratic, Michael Vick's time could be up in Philadelphia.Once considered the long-term answer at quarterback after a sensational 2010, Vick's already uncertain future with the Eagles was placed further in doubt Monday after he was diagnosed with a "pretty significant" concussion.Vick was concussed in Philadelphia's loss to Dallas on Sunday and looked groggy in the locker room. Coach Andy Reid told Vick to stay home Monday and rest. Out of respect to the former Pro Bowl quarterback, Reid even reiterated Vick is still the starter, if healthy -- but left wiggle room to change his mind.Because there are more medical tests still to be administered, Reid could not immediately rule out Vick for Sunday's game at Washington. Reid, though, made it sound quite positive that rookie Nick Foles will make his first career start."I've got confidence that Nick will do a nice job, if given that opportunity," Reid said. "Listen, I get excited for every game, but if the kid has an opportunity to start, I'm excited to see him play."Foles will take the first-team snaps when the Eagles return to practice on Wednesday. Foles was 22 of 32 for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception in relief of Vick. Those numbers weren't enough to help the Eagles avoid their fifth straight loss, a first in Reid's 14 seasons.Fans rooted for Foles, who had an outstanding preseason, to replace Vick for weeks. Not because of an injury, but the loud ovation Foles received when he jogged on the field made it clear Philadelphia fans wanted a change under center.Foles said after the loss he felt confident running the offense."I think it's just, the speed of the game is faster," he said. "It's a faster game than preseason, but I felt comfortable. That's no excuse. I was out there playing and made some mistakes and we didn't get the job done."With a 3-6 record, Reid's job is in serious jeopardy, and turning to Foles over the final seven games could be the veteran coach's way of proving he's open to change to salvage a 15th season. Reid and the Eagles took a gamble in 2009 when they signed Vick with incumbent Donovan McNabb and one-time heir apparent Kevin Kolb already on the roster. The Eagles traded McNabb to Washington the following offseason, opening the door for Kolb. But Kolb suffered a concussion in Week 1 of the 2010 season and was replaced by Vick. Two years later, it could be Vick's turn to lose his job because of a head injury.Reid said Vick complained of a headache and fatigue on Monday. His status should officially be decided by Wednesday.There were two consecutive plays in the second quarter that appeared to injure Vick. He scrambled trying for a first down and was driven from behind head-first into the ground by tackle Jay Ratliff. On the next play, Vick was slow to get up after he was knocked on his back by linebacker Ernie Sims.Vick headed for the locker room and Foles started warming up. Reid said Vick was a "little foggy" but he thought it was the Sims hit that injured him.Vick suffered a concussion in a September 2011 game against Atlanta after getting spun by a Falcons rusher into Eagles lineman Todd Herremans. He staggered to the sideline after the hit and was replaced by Mike Kafka. Vick returned to start the following week against the New York Giants and suffered a broken right hand.His outlook appeared much more grim Monday than last season's injury -- Reid stressed several times just how badly Vick was hurt.Vick, the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, has struggled this season with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. After a loss two weeks ago to Atlanta, Reid refused to endorse Vick as the starter, needing a couple of days before releasing a statement that there would be no change at QB. Reid knew that benching Vick and turning the offense over to Foles was a way to shake things up. It also could have been interpreted as giving up on the season.Vick's injury could make the decision to keep Foles in the lineup an easy one.This latest loss was another black mark on the season and time is running out to save Reid's job. Owner Jeffrey Lurie put Reid on notice following an 8-8 season that he had to win big for a 15th season.Fans are clearly fed up. In the final minutes of Sunday's loss, fans behind Dallas' bench unrolled a banner that read, "Andy, Quit, Your Team Has!"Other ticked-off fans brought "Fire Andy!" and "This Is Not Acceptable" signs with them as they tailgated in the parking lots. There was at least one mobile billboard that read "Fire Andy Reid Now!!!" and "No Mas" with a pair of red Xs near the embattled coach's photo.Reid insisted Monday he hadn't lost his enthusiasm for coaching the Eagles ("I love what I do") and put a dose of positive public relations spin out there that a playoff berth is still within reach."You don't count anybody out in the National Football League, so I'm surely not going to count this football team out," Reid said. "I feel good about this team as a group and we just need to tighten some things up."He put has future in the hands of McNabb as a rookie in 1999 and that worked out great.It's up to Foles to try and give Reid a shot at least a stunning finish.

Blakely: Tatum's character separates him from many of the other rookies

Blakely: Tatum's character separates him from many of the other rookies

BOSTON – With his new head coach Brad Stevens and Boston Celtics ownership and front office officials surrounding him, Jayson Tatum’s mind seemed to be somewhere else briefly.

He looked ahead, way, way ahead to the other end of the Celtics’ practice court where there were banners, lots of banners, raised high above all else in the gym.

This wasn’t just a passing glance, either.

TATUM SPEAKS

It was clear that the newest Celtic was in deep thought as he stared at the 17 banners and the one left blank, a steady reminder of what this franchise is about, past and present.

Yes, it’s a lot to soak in for anyone let alone a 19-year-old kid whose career with the Celtics can be timed on a stopwatch.

But the soft-spoken 6-foot-9 forward has been here long enough to understand that success around here is about more than playing well; it’s playing to win a championship.

And that in many ways separates Tatum from his teenage brethren who made up the majority of Thursday night’s NBA draft which included an NBA-record 17 players taken in the first round who like Tatum, were just one year removed from high school.

All come into the NBA with lots to learn, as well as goals and aspirations for this upcoming NBA season.

During an interview with CSN on Friday, I asked Tatum about what in his mind would make for a successful season.

And his answer initially was to ask me a question, “Individual or team?”

So I replied, either one.

“To get back to where they were last year and get over that hump,” he said. “Championships, chasing that number 18, that would be the ultimate success for me.”

That served as a reminder as to why despite having a handful of players under consideration at No. 3, the Celtics did the right thing in selecting Tatum.

His words may seem like the politically correct response, but take a look at the kid’s basketball resume and you’ll quickly see he is indeed about winning and doing so in whatever way possible.

After missing his first eight games at Duke with a foot injury, Tatum gradually improved as the season progressed and wound up on the all-rookie team as well as being named to the All-ACC third team.

Once the Blue Devils got to the ACC Tournament, Tatum became a different, better, more dominant player.

Indeed, Tatum led the Blue Devils to their first ACC championship since 2011 and did so in historic fashion as the Blue Devils became the first ACC school to win the conference tournament with four wins in four days.

Late in the title game against Notre Dame, Tatum put together a sequence of plays that speaks to why the Celtics were seriously considering taking him with the number one overall pick had they not been able to trade it for the No. 3 and a future first-round pick.

With the scored tied at 65, Tatum made a free throw that put Duke ahead.

Moments later, he blocked a shot and finished off the play with a lay-up that gave Duke a three-point lead.

After a Notre Dame basket, Tatum connected with a teammate for a 3-pointer that pushed Duke’s lead to four points with around a minute to play.

And then there was the 3-point play Tatum converted after getting fouled on a dunk which secured a 76-69 Duke win over the Fighting Irish.

Free throws. Blocks. Getting out in transition. Passing.

When his team needed him most, he gave whatever was required at that moment which is one of the intangibles that makes Boston feel good about his future.

“He does whatever he has to do to help you win,” said an NBA scout who said he has seen Tatum play “at least a dozen times.”

He added, “Like all of these kids coming into the league now, he has some things he has to get better at, get more consistent with. But he makes winning plays, whether it’s for himself or others. He’s a lot more unselfish a player than he’s given credit for being.”

And he’s 19 years old, which is both a blessing and a burden when you’re an NBA team executive charged with committing at least two years and millions of dollars into a young man.

Part of the process when making a draft choice, especially when it’s one of the top picks, is character evaluation.

Of the players at or near the top of the draft board, multiple league executives contacted by CSNNE.com in the past couple of weeks said this was an area where Tatum stood out in comparison to all of the top prospects.

“He’s the kind of young man you’d love whether he was a basketball player or not,” one Western Conference executive told CSNNE.com. “If you’re ranking guys on character alone in this draft, he’s your number one pick.”

Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, acknowledged the challenge of differentiating between miscues made by a teenager as being problems of concern going forward, or whether that’s a teenager making the kind of bad/questionable decisions most teens make.

“It’s dangerous to play too much into a 19-year-old kid’s behavior,” Ainge told CSN’s A. Sherrod Blakely and Kyle Draper on Friday. “But I think that, with all the things we do, from physical, emotional, mental, character, work ethic and their skills … it’s just really hard at 19. You hate to just be labeled what you are at 18.”

But in regards to Tatum specifically, Ainge added, “Jayson is a high character guy. We know he will get better because of his character and his work ethic.”

Said Tatum: “It’s a great feeling. Being part of a great organization like the Celtics; think of all the great players of the past and you can follow in their footsteps.”

And in doing so, blaze a trail of his own in the pursuit of Banner 18.

David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

red_sox_david_price_062417.jpg

David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

BOSTON — David Price and Rick Porcello showed improvement on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday, important signs for the Red Sox after a difficult month for both pitchers prior to this homestand.

Price on Saturday night went six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, in a 6-3 loss to the Angels. He fanned five and his velocity has been consistently better this year than last year.

But the most important number was his walk total: one. He walked three batters in his previous start, and four in both of his starts prior.

“Two outings ago, the first start here in Fenway,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “There was better timing in his delivery and overall better separation over the rubber. And he carried that through I thought, even though there's a higher pitch count in Houston, and has been able to maintain it here. I can't say there was one specific thing. It's been more the timing over the rubber. And you're seeing him pitch out of the stretch exclusively. Just less moving parts in a better position to repeat it.”

After Price’s final inning, the telecast captured Price calling pitching coach Carl Willis into the tunnel. Neither Farrell nor Price detailed the conversation. 

“Yeah, everything was fine,” Farrell said of the conversation. “Everything is OK there.”

Price made it sound like he’s dealing with some sort of physical ailment, but was vague.

“There's a lot of stuff going on right now,” the pitcher said when asked about the desire to stay out there. “You don't want it to linger into the next start, or two or three weeks from now, and that's why we did what we did.”

Asked to elaborate, Price reinforced that the decision was to save his body for another day.

“You never want to come out of a game. But you have to look forward at the time,” Price said. “You don’t want today to cost you your next start or you know, the start after that. So that’s what happened.

“It has nothing to do with my elbow or anything like that. This is — you get past one thing and there’s another So that’s what it is.”

Price in New York in early June felt a blister develop on his ring finger. He missed an in-between start bullpen because of it.

Asked about the blister Saturday, Price said, “That one’s gone.”

Farrell indicated the blister was diminished, if not entirely gone.

“He's been dealing with that,” Farrell said. “I think while it's still present and maybe not as severe as it was when it first happened, I'm sure he's going to check on it occasionally."