NBA star out for the season

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NBA star out for the season

From Comcast SportsNetLOS ANGELES (AP) -- Clippers guard Chauncey Billups will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his left Achilles tendon during Los Angeles' 107-102 victory over the Magic in Orlando on Monday night. The team says an MRI on Tuesday confirmed Billups' injury. Billups will return to Los Angeles on Thursday for further evaluation. The Clippers say a date for surgery hasn't been determined. The five-time All-Star, whom the Clippers claimed off waivers in December, was averaging 14.9 points and 4.0 assists in 30.4 minutes per game this season. Billups was having a huge night Monday, scoring 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter when he turned to run up the court and buckled to the ground with 5:48 left in the game. He was surrounded by trainers and teammates, but needed assistance on both sides to make it off the court. Billups, who was selected third overall in the 1997 draft by the Boston Celtics, is playing for his seventh NBA club. One of them was the Denver Nuggets, who dealt him to New York with Carmelo Anthony as part of a three-team, 13-player trade with Minnesota last February.

Antrel Rolle blames Bears practice field for knee injury

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Antrel Rolle blames Bears practice field for knee injury

Antrel Rolle has been around the NFL long enough to know this is sometimes how it goes.

The Bears released the 33-year-old Rolle one day after selecting three defensive backs in the 2016 NFL Draft. Rolle played just seven games in the first season of his three-year deal, while dealing with ankle and knee injuries.

He joined 670 The Score on Monday to discuss a number of topics surrounding his release. Among his comments, Rolle blamed the playing surface at Halas Hall, the Bears' practice facility, for the knee injury that ultimately ended his season.

Rolle, still dealing with an injured ankle that had limited him early in the season, injured the knee on the final play of practice on the Friday before the Bears' game against the Denver Broncos.

As he explains:

"I was pretty much shuffling...and I tried to change direction and I slipped on the surface, and because of my ankle and because of the tape the only thing that was able to give was my knee. So my knee had to take a lot of the force and the impact, and even the doctor said it was very unsual to find a tear that I had with a non-contact injury. But it was because of all the pressure and force on my knee because my ankle couldn't really give.

"I think the surface had a whole lot to do with it. It happens.

"The facilities are good in Chicago. The fields are just not as good. I don't know the reason behind it. I don't know how the maintenance and upkeep works in Chicago. But it's real hard to maintain and just be stable under those conditions. But I'm sure they'll try to work and fix it. I always knew Soldier Field (playing surface) was bad. I just never knew that the facitlities were just as bad."

Rolle plans on playing in his 12th NFL season, and believe he's capable of much more than he showed in his limited time with the Bears. Now a free agent, Rolle said he has a chip on his shoulder and is hoping whichever team he signs with plays the Bears in 2016.

"I know who I am as a player. I know who I still am as a player and what I can contribute. It's just unfortunate that it won't be (in Chicago).

"It's all good. I'll find a way and I'll make the best of it. And whatever team i play (for), I hope chicago's on the schedule."

Jason Heyward dealing with wrist injury as Cubs wait for power surge

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Jason Heyward dealing with wrist injury as Cubs wait for power surge

PITTSBURGH – The Cubs revealed Jason Heyward has been dealing with a nagging right wrist injury since the first week of the season, hoping some rest will get the Gold Glove outfielder closer to full strength.

The Cubs scratched Heyward from Monday’s lineup against the Pittsburgh Pirates, though manager Joe Maddon signaled he should be available off the bench after getting treatment at PNC Park.

“I don’t think it’s a long-term kind of thing by any means, but his wrist is sore,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He hasn’t said anything, and then finally he said something, so we’re trying to react to it right now.”

The Cubs gave Heyward the biggest contract in franchise history, guaranteeing eight years and $184 million for his age-26 upside, elite defensive skills and offensive profile as a patient, disciplined hitter.

The Cubs have already seen Heyward make momentum-shifting plays in right field, change the dynamic at the top of the order and reinforce an aggressive mentality running the bases.

But this wrist issue – which stretches back to the season’s second series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in early April – might help explain why Heyward has zero homers through 23 games and a .573 OPS in 100-plus plate appearances.

“He’s the last person who would ever make an excuse,” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. “But he got off to a slow start last year, too. And then when it clicked, he was off and running. I think that’s what we’ll see with him.”

Last season, Heyward hit .217 with a .611 OPS in April for the St. Louis Cardinals before increasing his production in May (.783 OPS) and June (.881 OPS). He hit .318 after the All-Star break, getting on base almost 40 percent of the time for a 100-win team and finishing with a 6.5 WAR rating.

At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Heyward’s built like a slugger, even if that’s not necessarily his game, and his swing tends to need maintenance.

“He’s a tall guy with longer arms,” Epstein said. “It takes him a little bit of a while to feel his swing and get locked in. No concerns.”

Fire add Senegalese midfielder Khaly Thiam

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Fire add Senegalese midfielder Khaly Thiam

After stuttering through the first seven matches of the season, reinforcements are on the way for the Chicago Fire.

Senegalese midfielder Khaly Thiam will join the team later this week on a loan deal with an option to buy. The move is pending league approval although the official announcement is expected soon.

The deal was in the works more than a month ago, but Thiam needed to finish his season with Hungarian team MTK Budapest before joining the Fire. MTK wrapped up its season on Saturday and finished fourth in the Hungarian league, losing out on a Europa League berth on the final match of the season.

“He is going to join us this week," Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said during his weekly conference call. "He is going to do physical and medicals. He’ll be here and he’s very important for us. We believe the addition of Thiam is very important to increase our competitiveness with all his qualities, especially he is very good on the ball. He is very good also in aerial duels and his presence on the field is very important. With him we will increase our competitiveness in the team and of course within the league.”

The Fire can use the help immediately after having four players miss out on Saturday’s 1-1 draw with D.C. United due to injury. David Accam is expected to be available against Vancouver on May 11, but odds are he won’t be able to start, especially on a turf field. Matt Polster, John Goossens and Alex Morrell were also out injured against D.C.

Thiam, 22, is a box-to-box midfielder who on paper would seem like a good fit to line up next to Polster as one of the two central mids in Paunovic’s 4-2-3-1 formation. This season for MTK, Thiam made 31 appearances, 27 starts, and scored two goals.

“He can play in different positions in the midfield," Paunovic said. "He can play in different systems. So far we were using 4-2-3-1 as our basic system, standard. In that system he can play either together with another midfielder (or in other roles). He’s going to increase that competitiveness. We can also switch to a 4-3-3, 3-5-2. Being adaptable he can play in different systems and roles, that’s something we value a lot."

He started his professional career in Hungary, playing the past four seasons in that league. He totaled 72 appearances and seven goals in that time.

Fire midfielder Arturo Alvarez played in Hungary before joining the Fire this offseason. A few weeks ago when the rumors started swirling, Alvarez was asked if he had heard of him. For what it's worth, Alvarez recalled him right away and described Thiam as a nice player, who was "tidy" on the ball.