DE Campbell among three Ravens removed from COVID-19 list


December 5, 2020

The Baltimore Ravens activated three more players from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday, including starting defensive end Calais Campbell and running back Mark Ingram II.

Also activated was backup defenseman lineman Jihad Ward.

The return of Campbell, who has four sacks, will be a big boost for the struggling Ravens. After a 5-1 start, Baltimore has lost four of its past five games and is out of playoff position ahead of Tuesday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Ravens had more than 20 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list — a list now whittled down to 10. The outbreak forced their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night, to be delayed twice and it was finally played Wednesday. Their Week 13 game against the Cowboys also was moved from Thursday to Tuesday.

Team president Dick Cass addressed the team situation in a statement on Saturday.

“Our thoughts are with our infected players, staff and their families,” he said. “They are receiving treatment and are being monitored to provide them with the best possible care, and we are hoping for a full recovery for all.

“We want to thank our players. Their proactive efforts and resolve during this difficult situation were nothing short of extraordinary. We couldn’t be prouder of them.

“We also offer our profound appreciation to the NFL, the Steelers, the Cowboys, and the fans, for their support, understanding and flexibility during this time of unforeseen upheaval due to this coronavirus outbreak.”

Cass said the NFL informed the team that the Ravens had “at least four unique strains of COVID-19 in our facility. Three of the four were stopped and not spread within our organization. Unfortunately, the fourth was a highly contagious strain and spread throughout our organization.”

Yet to be activated for the Ravens is quarterback Lamar Jackson, the reigning NFL Most Valuable Pplayer. With backup Robert Griffin III landing on injured reserve on Friday with a hamstring injury, third-stringer Trace McSorley took first-team reps this week to prepare to start against the Cowboys in case Jackson can’t.

Campbell has been out since Nov. 8, when he sustained a calf injury in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts. A five-time Pro Bowl selection, he also has 24 tackles and 10 quarterback hits in eight games.

Ingram has seen his role diminish this season with the emergence of rookie running back J.K. Dobbins. In eight game, Ingram has run for 232 yards and two touchdowns.

Dobbins, linebacker Pernell McPhee, and offensive linemen Patrick Mekari and Matt Skura were activated from the list Friday. It is unclear whether any of the activated players will suit up against Dallas.

Earlier this week, coach John Harbaugh said doctors would decide when players could return to the field.

“When the doctors clear them for practice, that’s when we’ll have them,” Harbaugh said.

–Field Level Media





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Autumn Nations Cup: Wales 38-18 Italy


Scarlets scrum-half Kieran Hardy scores his first try for Wales
Wales (14) 38
Tries: Hardy, Parry, G Davies, North, Tipuric Cons: Sheedy 5 Pen: Sheedy
Italy (13) 18
Tries: Zanon, Meyer; Con: Garbisi Pen: Garbisi 2

Wales ended 2020 as they started it, claiming victory over Italy as they finished fifth in the Autumn Nations Cup in Llanelli.

Wales built an early 14-0 lead through tries from Kieran Hardy and Sam Parry.

Italy scored tries through Marco Zanon and Johan Meyer to claim an early second-half lead.

But Wales responded with tries from Gareth Davies, George North and Justin Tipuric to seal victory, with Callum Sheedy adding 13 points.

Wayne Pivac’s side were indebted to brilliant back-row displays from Tipuric and man-of-the-match Taulupe Faletau.

The pair gave British and Irish coach Warren Gatland a reminder of their talents ahead of next year’s summer tour of South Africa.

North also provided a powerful midfield presence in the unfamiliar outside centre position, while replacement scrum-half Gareth Davies was the most influential of an impressive replacements bench.

Wales also overcame injuries to captain Alun Wyn Jones and full-back Liam Williams.

The win gives some breathing space for Pivac but will not paper over the cracks of a disappointing 2020 with just three wins and seven defeats in the calendar year.

Wales had defeated Italy 42-0 at an almost capacity crowd Principality Stadium in February before facing each other again in an empty Parc y Scarlets stadium after finishing third in their respective pools.

Wales recalled North in a team showing 10 changes from last weekend’s loss to England.

In a late change, centre Johnny Williams was ruled because of a calf injury and replaced by Jonathan Davies who returned after missing the last two matches with a knee injury.

Half-backs Hardy and Callum Sheedy were handed second starts. Tipuric was fit after missing the England defeat through concussion, while full-back Liam Williams returned after 15 stitches in a lip wound picked up against Georgia.

Welsh-born teenage scrum-half Stephen Varney made his first start for the Azzurri against the country of his birth.

Varney was brought up in Pembrokeshire but qualifies for Italy through his Italian-born grandparents on the side of his mother Valeria.

Wales initially showed what they have been attempting in attack with Faletau releasing Tipuric in the midfield as the Ospreys back-rower broke through the line.

Tipuric demonstrated typical calmness in throwing an outrageous dummy before releasing Hardy for his first international try.

Some more flowing move from Liam Williams and Louis Rees-Zammit provided the platform down the left wing for hooker Parry to eventually burrow over for his try on first Wales start.

Full-back Williams was forced off the field and replaced by teenager Ioan Lloyd.

Italy secured their first points through Paolo Garbisi before a clever Carlo Canna chip kick exposed the Wales back field defence allowed centre Zanon to collect and canter over.

Wales’ discipline with eight penalties conceded at the breakdown in the first-half allowed Italy back into the game.

A transgression from wing Josh Adams resulted in a yellow-card following an incisive counter attack from Varney.

Garbisi slotted over a penalty to reduce the deficit to 14-13 at the interval.

Wales initially managed the opening minutes of the second-half with their numerical disadvantage cleverly with Sheedy slotting over a penalty.

Italy eventually made the extra man tell as they exposed the naivety of Wales young players. Ioan Lloyd’s aimless kick was pounced up by a counter attack from full-back Jacopo Trulla.

The ball was moved right and Rees-Zammit was to slow to listen to North’s call to stay out and Meyer glided outside the Wales wing and emphatically bumped off Lloyd to score.

Wales regained the lead when Tipuric and Faletau again turned providers as they released replacement scrum-half Davies to speed away to score.

Wales captain Jones had been limping for five minutes before he finally left the field to replaced by hooker Elliot Dee because specialist second-row Cory Hill had already come on for Will Rowlands.

Wales overcame that disruption to turn over possession and North powered over for Wales’ fourth try.

Sheedy’s delayed pass to the fantastic Faletau allowed the Wales number eight to give a deserved try-scoring assist to Tipuric to fittingly complete the scoring.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac: “For us it was really important to win the game and get some more questions answered about some of the young players.

“Some of the older boys stood up and in the end we got a reasonable result.

“As frustrating as this eight-week campaign has been at times we have learned a lot, now we need a squad that can do well in the Six Nations.”

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Line-ups

Wales: Liam Williams; Josh Adams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Louis Rees-Zammit; Callum Sheedy, Kieran Hardy; Nicky Smith, Sam Parry, Tomas Francis, Will Rowlands, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), James Botham, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, Aaron Wainwright, Gareth Davies, Ioan Lloyd, Jonah Holmes.

Italy: Jacopo Trulla; Luca Sperandio, Marco Zanon, Carlo Canna, Monty Ioane; Paolo Garbisi, Stephen Varney; Danilo Fischetti, Luca Bigi (capt), Giosuè Zilocchi, Marco Lazzaroni, Niccolo Cannone, Maxime Mbanda, Johan Meyer, Braam Steyn.

Replacements: Leonardo Ghiraldini, Simone Ferrari, Pietro Ceccarelli, Cristian Stoian, Michele Lamaro, Guglielmo Palazzani, Tommaso Allan, Federico Mori.

Match officials

Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU)

Assistant referees: Luke Pearce (RFU) and Alex Ruiz (FFR)

Television match official: Pascal Gauzere (FFR).



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Aston Villa 0-2 Manchester United: Leah Galton and Ella Toone score at Bescot Stadium


Leah Galton’s opener for Manchester United Women at Bescot Stadium came in the 25th minute

Manchester United maintained their unbeaten Women’s Super League start with a goal in each half to earn a comfortable win over Aston Villa.

The early leaders recorded a sixth win in eight to go four points clear thanks to cool finishes from Leah Galton and Ella Toone at Bescot Stadium.

But victory came at cost after the early loss of Dutch international Jackie Groenen with a head injury.

The midfielder was replaced in the 11th minute after trying to play on.

After a heavy fall, Groenen got back to her feet only to go down again 90 seconds later.

After completing an on-field assessment, the United medical team decided that she could not continue and, although Groenen argued, she was replaced by Lucy Staniforth.

United then went in front when Galton’s right-foot shot found the bottom-left corner.

But, despite having the lion’s share of possession and creating more chances than their Midlands hosts, it took until the 89th minute for Toone to seal the points when she latched onto a rebound 30 yards out to neatly chip home.

Jackie Groenen's concussion injury came in the 11th minute in Walsall
Jackie Groenen’s concussion injury came in the 11th minute in Walsall

Line-ups

Aston Villa Women

  • 29Weiß
  • 4Franklin-Fraiture
  • 5N’Dow
  • 15Haigh
  • 13Siems
  • 10Petzelberger
  • 21EwersSubstituted forSymeat 80′minutes
  • 6Asante
  • 7FollisSubstituted forAbreu Sousa Silvaat 57′minutes
  • 22HaylesSubstituted forHuttonat 80′minutes
  • 17HaywoodSubstituted forArthurat 67′minutesBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 1Rogers
  • 3Ale
  • 8Arthur
  • 11West
  • 12Hutton
  • 14Syme
  • 19Abreu Sousa Silva
  • 23Hanssen

Man Utd Women

  • 27Earps
  • 20Smith
  • 4Turner
  • 21Turner
  • 17Batlle
  • 12Ladd
  • 14GroenenSubstituted forStaniforthat 11′minutes
  • 77Heath
  • 7Toone
  • 11Galton
  • 16JamesSubstituted forRossat 61′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Ramsey
  • 3Okvist
  • 5McManus
  • 10Zelem
  • 13Fuso
  • 19Ross
  • 37Staniforth

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Cycling-Cavendish joins Deceuninck-Quick Step for 2021


December 5, 2020

PARIS (Reuters) – Briton Mark Cavendish is joining Deceuninck-Quick Step for the 2021 season, the Belgian outfit where the former world champion spent three years said on Saturday.

“Mark Cavendish is returning to Deceuninck–Quick Step after five years… the Manxman has agreed to sport the new kit of the team, which will be revealed in a couple of days, throughout the 2021 season,” Deceuninck-Quick Step said in a statement.

Cavendish, who has won 30 stages on the Tour de France and is considered one of the best sprinters in the event’s history, left the then Etixx-Quick Step team after the 2015 season to join Dimension Data before spending a season at Bahrain-McLaren.

The 35-year-old has not won a race since February 2018, when he prevailed in the third stage of the Dubai Tour.

“I can’t explain how delighted I am to be joining Deceuninck-Quick Step,” said Cavendish, who this season had briefly hinted at retirement.

“I have never hidden my affection for my time with the team and to me this genuinely feels like I am coming home.

“As well as the incredible group of riders, I can’t wait to start working again with the staff, most of which were here during my first spell and were part of one of the most successful periods of my career, an era that I am immensely proud of.”

As well as 30 Tour stage wins, 2011 world champion Cavendish has won 15 stages on the Giro d’Italia and three on the Vuelta.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)





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Jonny Evans says Leicester’s Wesley Fofana can become ‘one of best centre-backs in the world’


Evans singled out Fofana’s performance against Arsenal this season as a highlight for the young defender

Leicester City’s Jonny Evans says 19-year-old team-mate Wesley Fofana has all the attributes to become a world-class defender.

The Foxes signed the French teenager from Saint-Etienne on a five-year-contract for an undisclosed fee.

“He can probably go on and become one of the best centre-backs in the world,” Evans told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Sometimes you forget how young he is. He’s got a real athleticism and maturity about him.”

Fofana has impressed as part of Leicester’s defensive unit this season, helping the club to a run of six successive wins and four clean sheets before the international break.

“You can tell he’s going to be a top-class player,” Evans added. “He’s got all the attributes: comfortable on the ball, aggressive in his defending.

“He’s confident and seems sure of himself and I think when you see the games that he has come in, he’s played with a real maturity.

“I don’t think he’s going to be one to hide from certain situations, he’ll take every challenge on. It looks like he really enjoys that challenge and you can see that by his aggression on the pitch.”

Fofana’s calm display in keeping Arsenal’s £56m forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang quiet during Leicester’s win at Emirates Stadium in October was a particular highlight for former Manchester United defender Evans.

“He probably hadn’t played in that formation and then he had to come up against one of the best strikers in the Premier League in Aubameyang,” the 32-year-old Northern Ireland international said.

“The way he dealt with him, he showed a real athleticism to be able to compete with a player of that calibre, he was so confident. I thought he was outstanding that night.”

Leicester travel to Sheffield United on Sunday looking for their first Premier League win after successive defeats by Liverpool and Fulham.

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Timana Tahu backs Wests Tigers recruit James Roberts to return to the top and regain NSW Blues State of Origin jumper


Tahu will work closely with the Tigers three-quarters, including Roberts, Joey Leilua and Tommy Talau. The 40-year-old believes there is tremendous upside to the trio.

“You look at Jimmy, he was the NSW centre just [two years ago],” Tahu said. “That’s where I expect him and BJ to be as well. They just need to believe in it.

“One of the reasons I’m there is to give them that belief. They are natural strike weapons. There’s not too much to teach on the field.

“I feel they should be the NSW centres, for sure.”

Timana Tahu is confident James Roberts can return to Origin level.Credit:Getty

Asked about mentoring Roberts, Tahu said: “I’m not his dad. I want to be more of a friend and have a working relationship.

“I don’t want me walking into the room [and him] thinking, ‘Here we go again, another person telling me how I should be behaving or thinking.’

“That’s just not me. My job is to see what he and Madge want and to collaborate to be part of Jimmy’s career, and the other boys as well.”

As for Talau, Tahu still remembers playing against his father, Willie, early in his career.

“I think it was my first year, I played against his old man,” he said. “He was an international, a tough centre. As a young kid you look at the best centres and replicate what they’re doing. To now be a consultant and helping his son, I’m very grateful.”

Tahu’s appointment comes just as the Tigers announced a partnership with Awabakal, an Aboriginal, community-controlled health service that will help provide pathways for Indigenous athletes to reach their goals at the club. The former Knights, Panthers and Eels centre wants the Tigers to become the preferred destination for all elite Indigenous players.

“Souths have done a really good job, they have always been the team that a lot of Indigenous people follow,” he said.

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“I’m on the Wests Tigers team now, so I want all the best Indigenous players playing for Wests Tigers.

“It’s something I always wanted to do, give back to the game that gave me so much.

“I got to represent my club, my country, my state and the Indigenous All Stars – I ticked off a lot of boxes. If it wasn’t for rugby league, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

“I’m grateful for what the sport has done for me and with the knowledge I’ve got, getting to work with the best players and coaches in the world. It’s time for me to give back.

“It’s perfect timing and Madge [Maguire] has been awesome.

“Madge says the Wests Tigers are a sleeping giant, that he expects more from the club and where he wants it to be.

“I feel like I’ve come at the right time. I’ve been around winners and Madge is a winner. He’s won a grand final, he’s the Kiwi coach and I feel like I’m coming into a great club, a powerhouse club.”

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Concussion substitutions: Arsenal’s Joe Montemurro says ‘no more excuses’ on new rules


Arsenal defender David Luiz played on with blood seeping from his head bandage in the Premier League

Arsenal women’s boss Joe Montemurro says there can be “no more excuses” over concussion substitutions.

Permanent concussion substitute trials are set to begin in English men’s football next season.

Arsenal men’s manager Mikel Arteta and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp voiced their support for trials, while Brighton women’s coach Hope Powell also hopes to see them in the WSL.

“We need to solve this as soon as possible,” said Montemurro.

“We have got other sports that are showing how it can be done. It’s an area where we just cannot play any games.”

Arsenal defender David Luiz played on with blood seeping from his head bandage during last Sunday’s Premier League defeat by Wolves after clashing heads with striker Raul Jimenez, who has since had surgery on a fractured skull.

Luiz continued for about 40 minutes, before he was substituted at half-time. Arsenal said protocols were followed regarding the decision.

The new rule proposed in the men’s game will allow permanent substitutions to be made if a player suffers a head injury, even if all replacements have already been used.

“I think we have enough data, enough examples and enough detailed scenarios where we can make some changes now,” said Australian Montemurro.

“I believe the player should go off and there should be another one coming on and they should be checked thoroughly.

“Do the right checking – whether that takes 15 minutes, half an hour, 40 minutes – to make sure everything is done.

“I think they need to be taken off the pitch, thoroughly examined in a room and then the all-clear is given when we know exactly what is going on.

“The pressure of the situation and the game, the pressure the medical staff are under from coaches to get them back on and so on – we cannot take those risks. The player must go off.”

Manchester United women boss Casey Stoney hopes concussion substitution trials in men’s football will be copied in the women’s game.

The former England defender says she has not been approached but would be “more than happy” to take part in research relating to head injuries and hopes any changes would “just transfer across automatically” into the women’s game.

“We have to always keep safety at the forefront whenever we make a decision,” said Stoney.

“I think anything that makes you able to make an informed decision would be a good thing, if it means you can take the player off and assess them properly.”

According to The Times,external-link a leading researcher into sport-related brain injuries believes female footballers could be at even greater risk of dementia due to concussion.

Stoney, when asked if she was worried about her own health after a successful 19-year playing career, said: “You can’t ignore it, you have to think about it, and I’ve got three children as well.”

Former England head coach Powell said the “priority is the person” but believes the implementation of concussion substitutions “would change the game in the future”.

She added: “Everything should be done to take care of the wellbeing of the player. What that looks like going forward, I have no idea. How that changes the game, I have no idea. Whatever they need to do to safeguard the player is fine by me.”



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Raul Jimenez: Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo says striker ‘means a lot to this city’


Raul Jimenez joined Wolves from Benfica in 2019 on a four-year contract, having previously been on loan at Molineux

Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Nuno Espirito Santo has not been surprised by the support for Raul Jimenez since he fractured his skull against Arsenal because he “means a lot to this city”.

Nuno admitted he was “worried” and “everything goes through your mind” when Jimenez was hurt on Sunday.

Wolves fans raised £7,500 in two hours for a giant flag for the Mexican in the Steve Bull Stand at Molineux.

In addition, thousands of messages of support for the player have been received by the club.

“I am not surprised about the reaction,” said Nuno. “Raul means a lot to this city.

“All the things you can say about Raul is not enough because he is an amazing person.”

Jimenez was injured in the opening stages of Wolves’ 2-1 win after a nasty clash of heads with Arsenal defender David Luiz.

“Everything goes through your mind when you see someone you love and appreciate in a tough situation,” said Nuno.

“He means so much to us. It is like when someone in the family gets ill.

“It was serious. We were afraid at first but now we are moving to a more normal situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”

Nuno said it was “too early” to know when Jimenez would be fit enough to play again and that now was a time to allow the doctors to carry on treating him before he returns to his family to begin his recuperation.

The incident has once again brought into focus the issue of concussion substitutes.

Arsenal have defended their decision to allow Luiz to continue until half-time, although the Brazilian has not played since because of the discomfort he was experiencing from the cut he sustained at the time.

“There should be concussion substitutes,” said Nuno. “It is obvious everyone in the game supports this and I am positive this is going to happen.”

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