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21.09.2018, 08:40
The Green Bay Packers may have shown a greater willingness this offseason to sign veteran free agents under first-year general manager Brian Gutekunst Terrell Owens Jersey (http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/terrell-owens-jersey) , but the team is standing pat for now after injuries to key contributors on defense.

One day after inside linebacker Jake Ryan (knee) and safety Kentrell Brice (ankle) each had to be carted off the practice field, Gutekunst said Tuesday he's not going to seek outside help at either position.

With Ryan out, rookie third-round draft pick Oren Burks took snaps with the No. 1 defense at inside linebacker. And with Brice sidelined, Josh Jones, a second-round pick a year ago, got most of the reps at safety alongside Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Jermaine Whitehead also worked with the first unit at safety in Brice's place.

"You know, you never like to see any of that, especially with those guys who have worked as hard as they have. But it's football, it's part of it and it's our job to be prepared and keep moving forward," Gutekunst said.

"I think the best practice is patience. We have some young players that show some promise out there Kenny Moore Jersey (http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonline.com/kenny-moore-jersey) , and we'd kind of like them to continue to grow into those kind of roles and see what we have," he added.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he could not give timelines on either player's recovery and that Ryan was still undergoing further tests on his right knee. Ryan got hurt while making a tackle during a team period near the end of Monday's in-pads practice.

Brice, who took virtually every team snap with the No. 1 defense before his injury, injured his ankle when he was blindsided during a punt coverage drill. He was able to attend practice and was walking gingerly on the sideline.

Bruce missed much of last season with another ankle injury.

The starting safety spot opposite Clinton-Dix came open this offseason when longtime starter Morgan Burnett left as a free agent and joined the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jones, who played more than 700 defensive snaps last year as a rookie, now must put that experience to use.

"Next man up. That's the mentality," Jones said. "You hate to see one of your teammates go down, but the next guy should be prepared. That's why you prepare. When it's your time to be called upon, you're ready."

The Packers drafted the 6-foot-3, 233-pound Burks with the hope that his athleticism and speed - he spent the early part of his college career at Vanderbilt playing safety - would be an asset in coverage on passing downs in the team's dime package. He was already working with the starters in that sub group Andre Holmes Jersey (http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/andre-holmes-jersey) , but on Tuesday, he was with the 1s in the base defense as well.

"You just never know when your opportunity is going to come," Burks said. "I'm doing my best to get better every day. I know I'm going to make mistakes - I'm a rookie. But I just learn from those mistakes, try not to make them twice and try to grow."

NOTES: Pro Bowl DL Mike Daniels (quadriceps) missed practice but his injury is not considered serious. Also sitting out Tuesday were FB Joe Kerridge (shoulder), RB Aaron Jones (hamstring), LB C.J. Johnson (hamstring) and OL Alex Light (ankle). . Gutekunst said he had no updates on contract talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but continued to express confidence that an extension would get done. "I wouldn't put any timelines on it," Gutekunst said. "As long as everybody is working toward the same goal, I think we feel positive about it."

The Minnesota Timberwolves cannot afford anymore losses if they hope to reach the postseason for the first time in 14 years.

The Timberwolves face a must-win situation Friday when they visit the Los Angeles Lakers.

Consecutive losses have dropped Minnesota (44-35) into the middle of an extremely tight race for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference. Minnesota fell to eighth in the West after losing at the Denver Nuggets 100-96 on Thursday night.

The loss at Denver occurred four days after a 121-97 rout by the Utah Jazz at Minnesota.

“We’ve got to do better,” Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after the latest loss.

The Nuggets are also 44-35 Phillip Gaines Jersey (http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/phillip-gaines-jersey) , but Minnesota holds the tiebreaker because they’ve won two of three in the head-to-head matchup so far. The teams also meet in the regular-season finale on Wednesday in Minnesota.

In the meantime, the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans are each 44-34, one game in front of the Timberwolves and Nuggets with three games remaining.

Big-time help for Minnesota should be on the way, however.

Thibodeau said Thursday night there’s a good chance leading scorer Jimmy Butler returns after missing the past 17 games with a knee injury. The four-time All Star is averaging 22.2 points.

Jeff Teague also returned against Denver after missing the Utah game with a sore knee and he finished with 15 points and six assists in 36 minutes.

Derrick Rose also returned after missing the previous six games with an ankle injury but totaled just four points in 15 minutes and didn’t record and assist or rebound.

“We need everyone,” Thibodeau said. “Everyone has to step up now. We need everyone’s best. We’ve got to play great intensity on every play.”

Minnesota is 12-13 against Western Conference opponents on the road this season. They won their only other game against the Lakers at Staples Center this season, a 121-104 victory on Christmas.

The Lakers (34-44) can play spoiler for the second consecutive game.

They knocked off the Spurs 122-112 in overtime on Wednesday to keep San Antonio just inside the playoff bubble while also ending the Spurs’ chances at 50 wins for an 18th consecutive season.

Rookie Kyle Kuzma continues to be one of the brightest lights for the Lakers this season.

He scored 26 points in a 117-110 loss at the Jazz on Tuesday, then came back the following night and scored 30 in against the Spurs.

Kuzma has four 30-point games this season, the most by a Los Angeles rookie since Magic Johnson in 1979-80. He already became the first NBA rookie to record at least 1,200 points Shawn Lauvao Jersey (http://www.washingtonredskinsteamonline.com/shawn-lauvao-jersey) , 450 rebounds and 150 3-pointers in a season.

“It’s fun watching him compete at that level,” Lakers coach Luke Walton told reporters after Los Angeles completed the first season sweep of the Spurs since 1997-98.

Lonzo Ball was expected to be the most valuable rookie for the Lakers this season, but he’s missed the past four games with a left knee contusion and likely won’t play against the Timberwolves. He’s missed 26 games overall this season due to injury.

Brandon Ingram, the second-leading scorer for Los Angeles at 16.2 points, missed the past three games because he was in the NBA concussion protocol and his status also remains in doubt for Friday.

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