Hamilton may return earlier than expected from foot injury

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Hamilton may return earlier than expected from foot injury

AUBURN HILLS, MICH.Back in Detroit, where he won a championship and was an All-Star for the Pistons, Bulls starting shooting Rip Hamilton addressed the media for the first time since tearing his left plantar fascia last week. Hamilton, who injured his left foot in the teams home win Saturday over Philadelphiathough he hurt himself in the first half of the contest, he returned in the games waning moments to knock down clutch free throws to help seal the victoryrevealed that he could be out for a month with his ailment, but theres a possibility that he could return to the court sooner.

Its getting a little better every day. Im really working hard on it. Im trying to get flexibility, trying to get the swelling and blood thats in there down, things like that, so every day it gets better. The good thing about it is there hasnt been a setback or anything like that, he said prior to the Bulls morning shootaround Friday at the opulent campus of the Detroit Country Day School, alma mater of retired NBA player Chris Webber and current Miami Heat forward Shane Battier. They the Bulls medical staff said four weeks, but they said that I can probably come back before that. Everybodys bodys different. Its just one of those things where you just want to try to get better every day.

I wasnt surprised. I thought the tape exploded on my foot. Talking to the doctor Brian Cole, the Bulls team physician, he said that it was probably a good thing that it happened, just so the whole plantar fascia, when you have it, it tends to stick with players all year, so when it popped, it was actually a good thing. Once it heals, itll be okay, continued Hamilton, who held his summer basketball camps at the school when he played for the Pistons. Just trying to get the swelling out of it. Typical ice, electronic stimulation, ultrasound. We do some stuff with the ball, try to roll it, massage it. A lot of massaging it, just to try to get the bottom of my foot stronger.

Hamilton noted that while he isnt doing any conditioning during his absence, I dont get out of shape, repeating it for emphasis when pressed for details.

The 34-year-old veteran, who is averaging 13.9 points per game this season, likes how his replacements, Marco Belinelli, who scored a season-high 23 points in the Bulls Tuesday win over Cleveland as a fill-in starter, and second-year swingman Jimmy Butler have been progressing in his absence.

Theyve been great. I thought the first game, they were just kind of feeling it out, the Indiana game. I thought the last game, they came out a lot more aggressive. Marco played great, getting to the basket, getting guys involved, making his shots. Doing what he does, hes a shooter. I tell him, You shoot too well to be pump-faking. I thought he did well, Hamilton said. Jimmys been getting better each and every game all season, so I like the way that hes been playing.

Hamilton is disappointed that hell be sidelined for the Bulls game against his former team Friday nightlast season, in his injury-plagued Bulls debut campaign, he suffered a setback after suiting up against the Pistonswhere he starred alongside the likes of current Clippers guard Chauncey Billups, Knicks reclamation project Rasheed Wallace and Detroits lone holdover from its 2004 title run, small forward Tayshaun Prince, a veteran used to winning upon his arrival in the league, but now demoted to a backup on a struggling, rebuilding team in the midst of a youth movement.

This is the game Ive got on my calendar, if any. This is the one game that I mark before the season even starts and say, All right, I cant wait, and to be injured, its frustrating to me because you want to help your team get a win, he explained. Me and Tay, Chaunce, all of us, were like brothers, so we talk once or twice a week. I talk to Tay all the time. Sometimes just hoping different things, but it is what it is. But its just one of those things hes trying to get through.

Notes from the rewatch: Nemanja Nikolic unable to beat Bill Hamid

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USA TODAY

Notes from the rewatch: Nemanja Nikolic unable to beat Bill Hamid

Two recent trends with the Chicago Fire got flipped in Saturday's win at D.C. United, not even counting that it was the Fire's first road win of the season.

Nemanja Nikolic entered Saturday's game at D.C. United as arguably the hottest striker in Major League Soccer. He had plenty of scoring chances, most of them good ones, but couldn't convert after being very efficient in recent games.

Also, D.C. is a team struggling offensively and entered without its top playmaker in Luciano Acosta, out serving a red card suspension, so it relied on set pieces and long throws to create scoring opportunities. That's something the Fire have had troubles with this year, notably in the LA game a few weeks ago. However, the defense held strong to survive the onslaught of balls into the box.

Here's more on those two things, plus Bastian Schweinsteiger's near assist of the year.

Defending set pieces

Without Acosta, D.C. found itself relying even more on free kicks, crosses and long throws to get the ball in the box. After recent struggles defending set pieces, this could have been a problem on paper for the Fire.

D.C. completed just three of 16 crosses and only one of those three led to a shot. Of D.C.'s three corner kicks, none first went to a D.C. player.

There were five more long throws, four from the left by Taylor Kemp and one from the right by Chris Korb. D.C. won flick headers on a pair of those, but nothing came from those chances. The best chance was when a ball fell to Patrick Mullins in the box following a deflection. He slid for an open shot in the box, but shot over the bar.

Overall, the Fire did well to handle the barrage of balls flung into the box from distance.

Nikolic's missed scoring opportunities

Nikolic still has the league lead in goals, even after not scoring in this one. His 10 goals are more than D.C. and the Fire's previous opponent, Colorado, have scored as teams.

He had seven shots, more than twice the amount of any other player on the field, and put four on target. No other player had more than one shot on target. Despite these numbers, Nikolic did not score.

Matt Polster gave him a good chance in the 29th minute. Nikolic's first-touch shot from 10 yards out was blocked. He hit it well, but it was a good block.

David Accam crossed to Nikolic on the back post just before halftime. Nikolic put the header on target, but didn't get enough on it to get it past goalkeeper Bill Hamid.

In the final 10 minutes things really picked up for Nikolic. He tried to round Hamid in the 81st minute, but couldn't get around the big man and then his shot from a tight angle was saved. Three minutes later Hamid made his best save with a diving stop to deny a streaking Nikolic, who was coming in from the right side.

Hamid gets credit for these stops, but Nikolic's best chance came in added time after Schweinsteiger set him up on a platter.

Schweinsteiger robbed of assist of the year

The biggest of Nikolic’s blown chances was Schweinsteiger’s elusive dribbling at the end line in added time. If Nikolic finished the open shot, it would have been one of the best assists you’d see in any league around the world this season. Instead the viral clips of the play were either truncated before Nikolic’s shoots over the bar or included the somewhat comedic finish to a highlight-reel play.

Schweinsteiger got a bit of the last laugh after suffering four fouls, no player was fouled more during the match, against a physical team.

This play got the most attention from Schweinsteiger's game and it could have really blown up had Nikolic finished it off. Don't forget that Schweinsteiger nearly gave D.C. a goal by turning the ball over with a lateral pass right to Lloyd Sam at the edge of the penalty box a few minutes after the Fire took the lead. That certainly would have flipped the prevailing view of Schweinsteiger's performance as well.

95 Days to Kickoff: St. Joseph Chargers

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95 Days to Kickoff: St. Joseph Chargers

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we’ll unveil the @CSNPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: St. Joseph

Head coach: Rich Petroski

Assistant Coaches:   Tewan Brown, Chris Bridgett, Rich Sible, Alex Puente, Adam Polak, Pierre Walters, Chris Ricca, Lavar Steptor,

How they fared in 2016: 7-3 (2-0 Chicago Catholic League Red).

2017 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 26 –@ Elmwood Park

Sept. 2 – @ South Beloit

Sept. 8 – vs Catalys Maria

Sept. 15 - vs Chicago Hope

Sept. 22 - @ St. Ignatius

Sept. 29 – @ DePaul

Oct. 6 - vs Brother Rice

Oct. 13 - vs Leo

Oct. 20 - @ Aurora Christian

Biggest storyline: Can the Chargers make a return visit to the IHSA state playoff in 20o17?

Names to watch this season: Senior WR/S Zach Ford Senior OL/DL Shamar Bishop-McDade

Biggest holes to fill: The Chargers welcome back just three starters on offense from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: The Chargers and then first year head coach Rich Petroski led the program to it's first state playoff appearance in school history in 2016. While St. Joe's will need to reload in some key spots, they have a chance to make another run at a state playoff spot again in 2017.