September 21

Wilshere: Cigarette was a mistake

first_img England manager Roy Hodgson has said he will not talk to Wilshere about the smoking incident and has also backed the player to star for his country if he is selected for the crucial World Cup qualifying double-header against Poland and Montenegro in the next week. “I trust Arsene to deal with that situation,” he said. “He will make it clear, I’m sure, to Jack what his responsibilities are. I’ve had no problems of that nature with Jack, so I don’t need to involve myself in it. “Jack’s an Arsenal player who also plays for England. If Arsene thinks it’s also good for me to have a word with Jack I’ll be more than happy to do so but, as far as I’m concerned, it’s Arsenal’s responsibility. “I believe in him, I think he’s a very good player, and I’m hoping that he’ll turn up on Monday fully fit to play and then it’ll be up to me to decide whether I want to put him in the starting line-up.” Press Association The 21-year-old was photographed smoking outside a London nightclub in the early hours of Thursday morning as players wound down following Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Napoli, with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger later criticising the England international. Despite the incident Wilshere was recalled to Wenger’s starting line-up for Sunday’s 1-1 draw at West Brom, scoring the equalising goal which took Arsenal back to the top of the Barclays Premier League table. Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has admitted he made a mistake by smoking a cigarette but has insisted he will never be drawn in to it again in future. Wilshere’s 63rd-minute strike was his first league goal in almost three years and he feels he vindicated Wenger’s faith in his ability after a week in which he was asked to explain his actions to the Frenchman. “Players make mistakes,” he told Arsenal Player. “I am not a smoker. I spoke with the boss and he asked me what happened, I explained to him and we sorted it out. “He put me in the team and hopefully I repaid him. I am not a smoker so I think that will be my last (cigarette).” Wenger had said ahead of the weekend’s meeting at the Hawthorns that he “disagreed completely” with Wilshere’s behaviour but was pleased with how the player answered his critics. “He is an honest guy and when he is wrong he knows it,” Wenger said of his midfielder. “I think today the players don’t get away with anything. We got away with it a bit more but they know that’s the rules of the modern game. “They have to deal with it and I think he learns very quickly. What is more interesting for him and for Arsenal is that he shows the right response on the pitch.” last_img read more

August 26

J.J. Redick moves his way past back injury for Clippers

first_imgIt was Monday morning at Clippers shootaround ahead of their game that night at Staples Center, where they would lay a 40-point smackdown on the Golden State Warriors to even their Western Conference playoff series at 1-1.Guard J.J. Redick was asked how big a role Doc Rivers coming to coach the Clippers played in him coming to the team in a three-team sign-and-trade deal.“He was the selling point and I let him know that, too,” Redick said. “I told him I wanted to play for him. I had wanted to play for him for five or six years.”Funny man that he can be, Rivers’ response later Monday — about two hours before tip-off at Staples Center — was not surprising. Rivers coached Allen and the 2007-08 Celtics to the NBA title.Redick, who is 6-foot-4, came to the Clippers from Milwaukee, his third team of the 2012-13 campaign. He spent the first six years of his career in Orlando and has a career scoring average of 9.9, but he’s averaged a career-best 15.2 this season. He’s also a career 88.5 percent free-throw shooter.Redick’s overall career field-goal percentage of 43.2 percent is not fantastic. But he takes half of his shots from beyond the 3-point arc, and his 39 percent from there is solid.The way he goes about his business in that regard is electric. He’ll be out there running around more than anybody, with deft moves while trying to get open. He’ll catch, quickly pop and often make.Redick has the attention of Warriors coach Mark Jackson.“We talk about, obviously, their two best players in (Chris) Paul and Griffin, two of the top 10 players in the world,” Jackson said ahead of Game 2. “At the same time, we break down how other guys can hurt us. J.J. Redick has a body of work, we know exactly how he can hurt us and we’re just trying to be committed to make him work and not giving him open looks.“I thought a couple of times we made some mistakes (in Game 1), but overall I thought we did a good job of defending him.”Redick scored 22 points in the Game 1 loss, making 8 of 11 from the field, 4 of 5 from 3-point range. It’s that kind of effort he is capable of giving every night. When he doesn’t, he’s mad.“J.J. could go 8 of 9 and he’d be pissed,” Rivers said of the fire in Redick’s belly.Griffin loves it.“He means a lot, man,” Griffin said. “He’s played in big games, his basketball IQ is high level, very high level. He knows exactly what his role is, he knows how to get shots and he knows what he has to do to be successful.“And he plays hard. Above all else, he’s always going to play hard, whether he’s making shots or not. He’s going to be the guy that you have to chase off screens and he’s a bit of a pest defensively. He’s never going to give up, and that’s the type of teammate you want.”Yeah, he is tenacious.“I grew up in a family of five kids; I was the middle one,” he said. “We weren’t well off. So I grew up in a very competitive environment, whether it was getting our parents to come to your basketball game or getting second servings of pizza. Everything was a competition. There was only so much to go around, only so much time. And so I think it gives you a certain mental toughness when you grow up in that environment.”If Redick weren’t so tough, he’d have never been able to get through what has been a painful season, no thanks to a bulging disc in his back that kept him out of the lineup for two months before he returned to play five of the last six regular-season games. Of the 82 games, he played in 35. He was almost shut down.“It was days, yeah,” said Rivers, noting how close he came to doing that. “It says a lot (about Redick) because I mean, honestly, I think the guys know that there was a time when, I mean, he wasn’t coming back. I was getting myself comfortable with that idea.“And then all of a sudden he decided, ‘I’m just going to go play, and if we gotta do something this summer, we’ll do something this summer. But I’m going to play.’ It’s been good for us.”The sometimes-smile on a face that might rather depict pain — but won’t — says a lot.“I feel like I’m still making progress, but I’m very close to feeling my normal self,” Redick said. “As an athlete who is very in tune with his body, it’s a very, very small margin that I’m talking about. But I know it’s still there a little bit.“But to look back two weeks ago when I first started playing, I’ve come a long way, so I’m very happy. There was a point a few weeks ago where there wasn’t really any improvement made. The nerve wasn’t responding. There was talk of operating, but we didn’t want to have to go that route. Hopefully, my nerve and my body will heal.” It is healing, and that’s why any reluctance to do what he does is vanishing.“I feel like that kind of hesitancy is gone,” Redick said.Rivers showed no hesitancy in helping bring Redick to the Clippers. Nor in getting him his dough. “You sure it wasn’t that $6, $7 million? I think that had a little to do with it,” Rivers said, alluding to Redick’s $6.5 million salary this season. ”But what do I know?”The packed room of local and visiting Bay Area reporters laughed and laughed.Rivers got serious. He had a specific player in mind when Redick’s name came across his table, like one like he had coached while with the Boston Celtics.“I’ve always loved his ability to move without the ball,” Rivers said of Redick, 29, out of Duke. “And when you looked at our team and with having DJ (DeAndre Jordan) and Blake (Griffin) on the floor, I thought it was really important to have a guy that moves off of them. … I like guys who move without the ball.“Ray Allen, we had him in Boston and it worked out for us there. And I just think when you have a guy like that, it’s really important.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more