Saturday, April 21, 2018
Sports

XXX

MIAMI — The Pacers' Paul George will play in tonight's Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final, which comes as no surprise to the Heat.

They were expecting him there all along.

The Pacers announced Friday night that George has been cleared "to return to normal basketball activity," a decision made three days after he was concussed in Game 2.

The Pacers consulted with Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the NBA's director of concussion management, throughout George's concussion protocol, they said. George will participate in today's shootaround, and "barring any unforeseen complications, he will play."

So that settled one lineup issue. Another involved the Heat.

Greg Oden — whose last postseason appearance was April 30, 2009 — may be inserted into the Heat rotation after showing Miami's coaches in recent days that back issues that have slowed him for weeks may be gone. Coach Erik Spoelstra suggested the 7-foot center could get minutes, which would almost certainly come against Indiana center Roy Hibbert.

"If coach needs me, I'm ready to play," Oden said. "I'm definitely ready whenever he needs me."

The series is tied at a game apiece, with Miami grabbing the homecourt edge by rallying for an 87-83 win at Indianapolis on Tuesday. The Pacers had several players limping and ailing late in the game, with George's concussion the most notable malady.

"It's been a rough two days," said George, who also said this was his first concussion and most of the effects had passed.

The back of George's head was struck by the knee of Heat guard Dwyane Wade as both tried to get control of a loose ball during the fourth quarter. George remained in the game but was basically a nonfactor the rest of the way. The concussion came to light after the Pacers forward revealed after the game that he briefly "blacked out."

"I probably should have kept that to myself," George said. "It just made a mess. That's something that, going forward, just keep that between myself and the training staff."

Miami hasn't even considered the possibility that George won't play in Game 3.

"Why wouldn't he?" Miami's LeBron James said.

Spurs-Thunder: Serge Ibaka was upgraded to day to day after his strained left calf showed improved movement and stability, and a significant decrease in swelling, the Thunder said.

Oklahoma City has missed the 6-foot-10 forward badly as San Antonio has raced to a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference final. Game 3 is Sunday.

Ibaka was injured in the clinching Game 6 win against the Clippers in the West semifinals and hasn't played since. He is averaging 12.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in the playoffs, and is shooting 62 percent from the field.

"His progress in the last several days has been surprising," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said. "I don't think any of us thought we'd be standing here talking about this. We're grateful that we are."

Oklahoma City's medical staff would like to see Ibaka go through gamelike conditions before allowing him to return, Presti said. He had done only light drills and light shooting.

"We're still focusing on trying to beat the Spurs without him playing," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "That has not changed. I know he's listed as day to day, but he is out until I'm told differently."

Comments
Archer’s sparkling start precedes surreal finish

Archer’s sparkling start precedes surreal finish

By now, we presume you've had a few hours to digest the Rays' improbable 10-inning triumph Friday night.So instead of rehashing the whole bizarre body of work, how 'bout a closer look at the workmanship. Specifically, Chris Archer's.Partially lost in...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
2018 NFL schedule: All 256 games ranked

2018 NFL schedule: All 256 games ranked

When the NFL released its schedule Thursday night, we were going to rank the best and worst games. Instead, we entered the Times schedule-evaluation laboratory and ranked all 256 based on their attractiveness and the quality of the teams involved.One...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Now Batting in Double A: Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero

Now Batting in Double A: Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero

HARTFORD, Conn. — Craig Breslow is 37 years old, with a dozen years of experience as a left-handed reliever in the major leagues. He is pitching now for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, just getting to know his teammates. In their openin...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

TAMPA — Shaquem Griffin wakes up knowing each day will be better than the last and barely unable to wait until tomorrow."It's just a whirlwind,'' Griffin said.On Thursday, he will walk the red carpet with his family, including his twin brother,...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

DUNEDIN — After losing a four-run lead thanks to a bad sixth inning, it would have been easy for Clearwater Central Catholic to fold against Dunedin in the final of the 49th annual Dunedin Spring Tournament. But quality relief pitching from Gar...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Roughly four hours before taking the field against his former team Friday, Rays outfielder Denard Span spoke admirably about the Minnesota Twins, their organization in general, even hometown icon Joe Mauer.But business is busin...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up the ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blue line. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by (Lightning...
Updated: 12 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 20

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 15, Central 0
Updated: 12 hours ago
Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

ST. PETERSBURG — For a change, the physically snake-bitten Rays got some vigor, versatility and even a veteran presence back in their lineup  when INF Brad Miller was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list.To make room, they DFA'd INF/OF...
Published: 04/20/18
Really, it’s time to look ahead

Really, it’s time to look ahead

BRANDON — Three things that popped into my head as the Lightning and Devils get ready to play Game 5 this afternoon at Amalie Arena.1. I’m going to do something that a hockey team in the playoffs would never do, not in a million years.I’m going to ta...
Published: 04/20/18