'Tough little guy' Watson out vs. Pacers

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'Tough little guy' Watson out vs. Pacers

Man, hes soft, in my opinion, joked Ronnie Brewer about his teammate and friend, Bulls backup point guard C.J. Watson.

He was being facetious, of course. As concerning as Derrick Roses back and turf-toe injuries were and as much as Luol Dengs decision to not have surgery on torn ligaments on his left wrist is laudable, neither of the Bulls two All-Stars have anything on Watson.

A gruesome elbow injurysuffered diving for a loose ball, no lesshere, a concussion there and Sunday night in Philadelphia, a sprained left ankle. Watson battled through the pain to return to the game and be a significant contributor to the Bulls second-half comeback.

It was tough. I was in a lot of pain and tried to go out there, be aggressive and try to help the team out in any kind of way, and say solid on defense, Watson said afterwards. Its still in a lot of pain. Im just trying to get through it and see how it feels Monday.

I just went to contest a shot and I came down on his ankle, he continued, describing the injury. I was in a lot of pain and tried to tape it up, see if I could push off and put a little weight on it.

For once, however, Watson wont be able to fight through it.

Hes out, said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, prior to Mondays home game against Indiana. He had swelling today, so were going to sit him out.

Thibodeau is a big admirer of Watsons fortitude, referring to him as a tough little guy after he dislocated his elbow in the New Years Day home opener.

Come on, you guys see him. Hes as tough as they come. Went in, got taped up, back out there, said Thibodeau. I was expecting him out there.

Added Brewer: This seasons been a grind and guys have bumps and bruises, and something about these players on our team that find a way to get treatment and play hard every game, especially C.J.

He puts it all on the line, night in and night out. If hes hurt60, 70, 80 percenthes still going to come in and give it everything hes got, and you respect a player like that, who continues to play through injuries, to be out there and fight with your teammates.

Luol Deng concurred: C.J.s tough and hes going to take tough, big shots for us, like he did tonight. Hes playing with a lot of injuries and he keeps coming back. Hes not complaining about it, he never mentions it and we know some days hes out there struggling, but he gives us whatever hes got.

As for the modest Watson, his formula for playing through pain is a simple one.

Just staying positive. Theres going to be injuries in basketball, but just try to fight through it, determine whats injury and whats pain, then go from there, he explained. I think we all do in some sort of way, so just try to fight through it and get through the game.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Jose Quintana trade rumors and SoxFest preview

White Sox Talk Podcast: Jose Quintana trade rumors and SoxFest preview

When will a possible Jose Quintana trade go from a watch to a warning?

Chuck Garfien, Dan Hayes, Ryan McGuffey and Chris Kamka break down the Quintana trade talks and what it will be like for him this weekend at SoxFest after months of trade rumors.

The guys also discuss what the White Sox roster might look like on Opening Day, and Hayes reveals his 2016 Hall of Fame ballot.

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

Plus listen for a special White Sox Talk Podcast giveaway: two free passes to SoxFest and the chance to play bags with Garfien and Todd Frazier at SoxFest.

Check out the latest episode below:

For Tom Rees, coaching gig at Notre Dame always seemed like an inevitability

For Tom Rees, coaching gig at Notre Dame always seemed like an inevitability

The last time Tom Rees played a game for Notre Dame, he was still known as Tommy Rees — but his coach put forth an offer that didn't come as a surprise to anyone in the press room at Yankee Stadium. 

"I'm a Tommy Rees fan for life," Kelly said after Notre Dame's 2013 Pinstripe Bowl win over Rutgers. "… He'll keep trying to play the game as long as he can. But I told him, he's got a bright future as a graduate assistant for Brian Kelly anytime."

Rees is joining Notre Dame as a full-time quarterbacks coach, not just as a coach-in-training graduate assistant role. The 24-year-old — whose father, Bill, has held a number of scouting roles in the NFL — only has two coaching stops on his resume, a graduate assistant role at Northwestern in 2015 and an offensive assistant job with the San Diego Chargers last year. But his lack of experience is more than made up for by the simple fact that, while at Notre Dame from 2010-2013, there was a well-established belief held by coaches and teammates that one day the Lake Bluff, Ill. native one day would coach in some capacity. 

"I'm very excited to have Tom join our staff," Kelly said in a statement Tuesday. "He possesses an understanding of the game, and most importantly the quarterback position, that's unique. He's a true student of the game and great communicator that will offer immediate dividends toward guiding our quarterback room.

"As a former quarterback at Notre Dame, Tom also has a rare ability to truly relate with the quarterbacks on our roster. He's literally sat in their seat, dealt with the ups and downs, faced the criticism, deflected the praise, and all that comes with playing the position at Notre Dame. He can genuinely mentor them — not only on the football field, but in the classroom and the community as well."

Rees effectively became a player/coach in 2012, when a July arrest for resisting law enforcement and illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor led to a one-game suspension that knocked him out of what was a four-person competition to be the team's starting quarterback. Everett Golson ultimately emerged from that fray, but Rees was a fixture as both a mentor to and a replacement for the redshirt freshman as the Irish rolled to the BCS Championship with an undefeated regular season record. 

Consider what Rees said about his relationship with Golson prior to the 2013 BCS Championship:

"There'd be a couple late night discussions," Rees said. "He'd ask me what I thought he needed to improve on, you know, don't hold anything back. And I told him the truth sometimes -- I told him the truth all the time, sometimes it wasn't what he wanted to hear. But any way I could help, and I've had a lot of fun working with him."

Rees' playing time that year was important, yet sporadic. So during the week and from the sidelines, he took more of a coach's point of view with the Irish offense, which teammates said was beneficial when he took over the starting job again in 2013 follow Golson's academic suspension. 

"Not being a stating quarterback, it's sort of pushed him to become more of a leader and more of a coach," former offensive lineman Chris Watt said before the 2013 season. "I think that helped him see the game a little bit differently than before." 

Rees will be primarily tasked with grooming redshirt sophomore Brandon Wimbush, a guy who some around the program thought was the most talented quarterback on Notre Dame's roster the last few years. Of course, Wimbush's offensive knowledge wasn't near the level possessed by Malik Zaire or DeShone Kizer, but his throwing and running ability are both mouth-watering traits that Rees will have a chance to mold.

That Rees is getting his coaching start in his mid-20's isn't particularly surprising. In many ways, has always been on track for this role, and maybe more (think offensive coordinator).

"When I finished my playing career and graduated from Notre Dame, I wanted to do two things," Rees said Tuesday. "First, I wanted to coach, and second, at some point in my career I hoped to get an opportunity to return and do it at my alma mater. I didn't know when or if this opportunity might present itself, but I'm so grateful and honored that it did. I'm ready to get things rolling with this great staff and group of student-athletes."