Kyrie Irving out at least two weeks. It’s that time of year. The season is down to the final month, the Cavaliers are slipping out of playoff position, and the injuries are piling up. The latest victim is Kyrie Irving, who left Sunday night’s game with an injured bicep. After an MRI revealed a strain in the long head tendon of his left bicep, Kyrie has been ruled out at least two weeks.
It could very well be more than that, though. The two week period is merely the rest period. After that, he will be “re-evaluated” and then the Cavaliers will decide how to proceed. Without Irving over these next two weeks, an already difficult schedule looks insurmountable. If the Cavaliers are out of the playoff hunt and chasing the bottom of the lottery, it makes you wonder if they would just hold him out for the rest of the season. We’ll see.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how the Cavaliers respond to Kyrie being out. Many Cavs fans have been anti-Kyrie all season long, placing the majority of the blame for this season on his shoulders. If there’s truth to that, will the Cavaliers play better without Kyrie? Will Dion Waiters step up to fill the scoring void that Kyrie is leaving behind? If nothing else, these next two weeks will be interesting from that standpoint, just to see what affect Kyrie’s absence has on the team and whether its a positive or a negative.
Go Sixers! The Philadelphia 76ers lost their 21st consecutive game Monday night. The Sixers are now just five games behind the Cavaliers’ record losing streak of 2010-11.
It’s a silly thing to root for the Sixers to break the Cavs’ record. It won’t change anything. It certainly doesn’t mean that awful 26-game losing streak never happened. It just means another team managed to be just a little bit worse. But having said that, I still want the Sixers to break the record. Sorry, I just don’t want the team I root for to have the all time record for futility.
Welcome to instant replay. The Cleveland Indians got their first taste of expanded instant replay in their 5-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds yesterday.
In the fifth inning, Reds 2nd baseman Brandon Phillips was called out trying to steal and the Reds appealed. After a brief replay, the call was overruled and Phillips was called safe. Despite the call going against the Indians, I remain firmly in favor of replay. I’m of the mindset in all sports that if replay can help make sure calls are correct, I’m all for it. The spirit of competition isn’t to win because human umpires make mistakes. Rather, it’s about winning the games with the players on the field.
Teddy Bridgewater has a shaky pro day. I don’t know how much one should read into QB prospects’ Pro Days. As SI.com’s Chris Burke explains, the practical application of pro days is a tricky proposition. So I don’t know whether the Browns should be scared off or not. But I do know you’d like your guy to have a good day.
As for the Browns, I go back and forth every day on what I want them to do in the draft. If they are definitely going to take a QB, I hope it’s not Blake Bortles. I just don’t like his shaky accuracy. I’m lukewarm on Bridgewater. If the Browns are going to go QB, I really hope it’s Johnny Manziel. I think Manziel’s attitude and brashness and freestyle play could be huge assets for a QB tasked with turning around the Browns’ fortunes. Furthermore, it would just bring some much needed excitement into the franchise. The fans would be excited, the national media would be paying serious attention to the Browns (which, of course, could be a very bad thing), and it would just put the Browns back on the NFL map.
But having said that, I still think deep down I would prefer the Browns take Sammy Watkins. Then they can draft a QB with one of their next couple picks. I think pairing up Josh Gordon and Watkins would be incredibly exciting. And then you can give Brian Hoyer a chance to show what he can do with Gordon, Watkins, and Jordan Cameron as pass catchers and Ben Tate in the backfield.
But really, this is why the Hoyer injury last season was so unfortunate. It would be nice to have a stronger idea of what the Browns really have in Hoyer. Were those 2+ games a mirage, or is Hoyer really capable of leading the franchise?
All I know is that when you look at last year’s playoffs, sure, you had your Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, and Alex Smith….former first picks. And you had Philip Rivers, taken 4th overall. But you also had 2nd round or later picks like Andy Dalton, Drew Brees, and Nick Foles. When you look at the 4 teams in the conference championships, three of the four QBs were taken 2nd round or later (Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, and Colin Kaepernick). There’s no clear right or wrong answer here, but all the matters is that the Browns have to get the QB situation right.
In a recent episode of This American Life, freelance reporter Susan Zalkind told a fascinating story about a guy named Ibrahim Todashev. Zalkind originally reported on this story for Boston Magazine, and it’s a really great read that asks a lot of questions.
If you remember after the Boston Marathon bombings last year, there were news reports of the FBI shooting a man in Florida. That man was said to have ties to the bombers. It turns out, the story is much deeper than that. The Florida man who was shot was Ibrahim Todashev, and he was once friends with Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Yet the real connection began with a triple murder in Waltham, Massachusetts on September 11, 2011.
The FBI claimed that Todashev confessed that he and Tsarnaev were involved in the Waltham murders. After questioning him for hours on end in his apartment in Florida, the FBI claims he verbally acknowledged having a role in the murders, and they were just about to get his confession in writing. Evidently, Todashev snapped at the last minute, attacking the agents, who ultimately shot and killed him. There is no physical evidence of Todashev’s confession, only the FBI agents’ reports.
But Zalkind’s story is much deeper than just asking whether Todashev and Tsarnaev were involved in the murders. I highly recommend listening to the episode, as Zalkind looks into just how the FBI investigates terrorism and what happens to the people who are connected to individuals who are accused of terrorism.
If you’re looking for answers, you’re not going to get them from Zalkind’s story. This isn’t about saying Todashev did or didn’t confess, or that he was or wasn’t involved in the Waltham murders. Rather, it’s about learning more about what all goes into protecting this country. Ultimately, only the FBI knows what happened in Todashev’s apartment and why they followed up Todashev’s shooting in the way they did. But it’s fascinating to realize just how much goes into fighting to keep this country safe while we all drive to and from our jobs every day, and write about and talk about sports. There’s an entirely different existence all around us, one we mostly remain blissfully ignorant to.
Finally, the album of the week. After an off week for new releases, we have another pretty strong week of new music. But this week’s album of the week is an absolute no brainer: The War on Drugs – “Lost In The Dream”. This is an album that almost certainly will be receiving album of the year hype come December. This Philly band has been kicking around for a few years, releasing a handful of well-received albums, but their latest album feels like their masterpiece. It feels like all the work they’ve put into crafting their previous albums has all come together for this reason….to make the perfect War on Drugs album. I absolutely love albums like this, where you are taken on a journey from beginning to end.