03/06/2013 - Indianapolis, IN (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - An MRI taken on Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger's troublesome left knee has revealed no new damage, though the team announced Wednesday that the onetime All-Star will be held out for the next week to rest his recurring ailment.
Granger missed Indiana's first 55 games of this season due to patellar tendinosis in the knee before making his 2012-13 debut on Feb. 22. The talented veteran has participated in each of the team's last five contests since returning, but exited Sunday's win over Chicago after just eight minutes due to recurring soreness.
The eighth-year pro initially sustained the injury during the Pacers' loss to the Miami Heat in last May's Eastern Conference semifinals and aggravated it in offseason workouts. Granger also underwent platelet-rich plasma injections on his ailing knee back in September.
Granger, who has averaged 18.1 points per game since being taken by the Pacers in the first round of the 2005 draft, has managed just 5.4 points and 1.8 rebounds during his brief time this season.
The 29-year-old will likely miss at least the Pacers' next three games before being re-evaluated.
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(Sportsbook Betting Lines) - The Cleveland Cavaliers recently welcomed back All-Star Kyrie Irving, but they take a two-game losing streak into Wednesday's home game against the Utah Jazz. Irving returned from a three-game absence due to a knee
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El Duque expected to throw Tuesday
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets pitcher Orlando Hernandez, sidelined at spring training because of arthritis in his neck, is expected to resume throwing on Tuesday.
Hernandez received a cortisone shot Thursday after leaving camp and returning to New York to have his neck examined. The 41-year-old right-hander is penciled in as the team's No. 2 starter behind Tom Glavine.
El Duque's health is a major issue for the Mets, who won the NL East in 2007 and came within one victory of the World Series. Their aging and unsettled rotation is a big question mark this year.
MySportsbook.com has the Mets as -110 favorites to repeat as NL East champions odds.
Hernandez went 11-11 with a 4.66 ERA last season, including 9-7 with a 4.09 ERA in 20 starts after the Mets acquired him from Arizona in late May. But he missed the playoffs because of a torn calf muscle.
New York already is without Pedro Martinez, out until at least midseason following rotator cuff surgery. Among those competing for starting jobs are prospects Mike Pelfrey, Philip Humber and Jason Vargas, plus veterans Chan Ho Park, Jorge Sosa and Aaron Sele.
Notes: Mets manager Willie Randolph is excited about two new utility players he could have on his bench: Damion Easley and David Newhan. ''Their value is really all over the place,'' Randolph said. Easley can play anywhere in the infield and could be used as an emergency outfielder, though Randolph said he would prefer to keep the veteran in the infield. Newhan, meanwhile, can play second base, third or any outfield position for the Mets. ''I love versatility,'' Randolph said. ''I love guys that can give me options when I need them to step in.''
The Indianapolis Colts know that winning the Super Bowl last season put a huge target on their backs, and they expect opponents to go all-out to knock them from the top of the mountain.
They’ll get their first test from the New Orleans Saints this Thursday night. The defending champs had nothing but good things to say about the New Orleans defense this past week, praising their opponents’ pass rush and run-stopping abilities.
"They play very aggressively," head coach Tony Dungy told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "They play a lot of man-to-man coverage, and they come after you. They have good pass rushers, and they're going to try to pressure us, I'm sure."
Both center Jeff Saturday and quarterback Peyton Manning gave New Orleans’ front four props, admitting keeping guys like Will Smithand Charles Grant contained would be a tall task for the offensive line.
New Orleans ranked second in total defense during the preseason at a sportsbook, allowing just under 233 yards per game. Last season, the defense finished 11th in the league after giving up 307.3 yards and 20.1 points per contest.
Not so sound on the ground
If Indianapolis' efficient offense has a weakness it has to be its running attack. The Colts one-two-punch of Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai is no longer, leaving the bulk of the carries to Addai, the second-year back out of LSU.
Former Saskatchewan Roughrider Kenton Keith was named Addai’s backup this week after beating out DeDe Dorsey for the second-string position. Indy has only three backs on the roster right now, including fullback Luke Lawton, and coach Dungy is aware of the thinness of his ground game. Sports Betting lines on the game can be found at BettingExpress.com
“We’ll continue to look. Luke Lawton’s done a good job for us too. So probably getting a third true tailback is something that we’d like to do,” Dungy told the Indiana Tribune-Star.
Last season, Addai rushed for over 1,000 yards in his rookie campaign and scored seven touchdowns on the ground.
Brees says bring it on
Opening the season on the road against the defending Super Bowl champions is not the way most teams would like to kick off their year – unless you’re the New Orleans Saints or their quarterback Drew Brees. This internet Sportsbooks had the Saints as the favorites.
Brees told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that he is excited to get the regular season started and the Colts are a great challenge for him and his teammates. The 28-year-old QB, entering his second season with the Saints, is expecting a wild environment in the RCA Dome this Thursday when the franchise celebrates its 2007-2007 championship.
Brees said he sees the opening game scheduling as an honor and a testament to how well New Orleans did last season. The Saints missed facing the Colts in the Super Bowl by one game, losing to the Chicago Bearsin the NFC Championship game.
"I mean, people think we can hang with these guys," Brees told reporters. "Even if they didn't, it wouldn't matter what they thought because as a team we're very confident. We know what we can do. We're not satisfied where we finished the season last year. And we've been looking forward to this opportunity for a long time."
SportsBooks ready for a shootout
Oddsmakers are preparing for some fireworks this Thursday when the NFL season kicks off. online Sportsbooks have Thursday’s total set at a whopping 52 points, accounting for two of the league’s most explosive offenses.
“This is like must-see TV,” Saints cornerback and former Colt Jason David told the Baton Rouge Advocate. “It’s two exciting offenses with great players. You’ve got a lot of star power on offense. At any given time a big play can happen. If I was a fan, I wouldn’t miss a snap.”
New Orleans, who ranked No.1 in total offense last season, can go blow-for-blow with the Colts’ attack. Head coach Sean Payton’s offensive schemes will get even better production out of Drew Brees, Reggie Bush and receiver Marques Colston now that they’ve each had a season of playing together under their belts.
The Saints and Colts were the top two passing teams in the NFL last year, but while Indianapolis managed to put up almost 27 points per game, New Orleans struggled to capitalize on their efforts. The Saints ranked fifth in points per game.
“Yards are great,” running backDeuce McAllister told reporters, “but to be able to score more touchdowns would be important for us.”
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