Neck issues send NBA player into early retirement

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Neck issues send NBA player into early retirement

From Comcast SportsNet
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- San Antonio Spurs guard T.J. Ford is retiring, effective immediately, after a series of neck and spine injuries during eight years in the NBA. The 28-year-old Ford announced his decision Monday on Twitter. "Basketball has been great to me & my family for 28yrs," he wrote. "It's official " I Retire from the NBA " as of today." Ford released a statement through the team that referred to the injuries, the most recent a "stinger" he suffered on March 7 in a game against New York. "While this was a tough decision to make, it is what is best for me and my family at this time," Ford said. "Regardless of what the future holds, I will carry the experiences, the friendships and the memories with me forever." Ford joined the Spurs on Dec. 10, and appeared in 14 games, averaging 3.6 points, 3.2 assists and 1.3 rebounds in 13.6 minutes. Coach Gregg Popovich said the team enjoyed having Ford this season. "I congratulate him on all that he has achieved as a player and fully support the difficult decision he was forced to make," he said. Ford, a college star at Texas, was the eighth overall pick by Milwaukee in 2003. Halfway through his rookie season, he suffered a spinal injury and surgery forced him to miss the entire 2004-05 season. He played for the Bucks, Toronto and Indiana before joining the Spurs. For his career, Ford played in 429 games, averaging 11.2 points, 5.8 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.16 steals 27.7 minutes per game. In two years for the Longhorns, Ford averaged 12.9 points and 8.8 assists per game and was both the Naismith and Wooden Player of the Year Award winner in his sophomore year.

Acciari notches first NHL goal in Bruins win over Predators

Acciari notches first NHL goal in Bruins win over Predators

BOSTON – It took until his 43rd game in the NHL to finally score his first goal with the Bruins, but Rhode Island native Noel Acciari said it made him appreciate it all the more when that moment finally did arrived on Tuesday night. The 25-year-old Acciari finished off a Riley Nash feed on a 3-on-1 odd-man rush that gave the Bruins an insurance goal they badly needed in a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators at TD Garden.

Then David Pastrnak hit Acciari with a shaving cream pie to the face during the NESN broadcast as a way to commemorate his teammate’s big scoring moment, and Torey Krug immediately fished the puck out of the net to make certain that Acciari would get it.

So it was the best of both worlds with the team-oriented Acciari, who watched his Bruins win to go right along with his hallmark scoring moment that he’ll remember forever.

“Your first NHL goal is a special feeling and to finally have it, you know, like I said before I couldn’t have done it without the other guys, the other four, five guys on the ice. But it feels good,” said Acciari, who has a goal and four points in 24 games this season in Boston. “It just shows you how special it is. It’s not going to come the first game you play; it could come 10, 20, for me probably over 40, but it still feels the same.”

Clearly it’s more about providing a physical, heavy and aggressive opponent when Acciari suits up for the Black and Gold, and it’s less about providing offensive production that’s really a bonus from the fourth line. The focus on throwing hits, aggravating opponents and playing with extra energy have been a big part of Acciari’s game since his return from Providence, and that is absolutely been by design.

“I think I kind of strayed [from my strengths] when I got back from my injury – I kind of strayed away from the hitting game,” said Acciari. “Just getting in on the fore-check and, you know, just kind of getting back to that down in Providence was huge and kind of get my confidence up down there helped out a lot. So when I got the call up I was ready for anything.”

He’s certainly played like he was ready for anything while posting a goal and two points along with a plus-4 in his first four games back for the Bruins organization. Acciari did all of that while leading everybody in Tuesday night’s game with eight registered hits in the win over Nashville. So the 5-foot-10, 208-pound Acciari gave a pretty good example against the Predators of just what he can do with steady ice time and the trust of his teammates as all of the hockey clubs in the East gear up to finish strong for the playoffs.

Now all Acciari has to do is continue to play consistently, punish opposing players and chip in a little offense from time and time as he carves out a permanent role on Boston’s fourth line, and helps his team win a few along the way. 

Florio on issues NFL may face with Raiders in Las Vegas

Florio on issues NFL may face with Raiders in Las Vegas

Mike Florio joins Quick Slants to discuss the problems of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, and the latest NFL rule changes.