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Akiem Hicks CHI DE
Bears' Akiem Hicks: Upgraded Thursday8m ago
Hicks (hamstring) was a limited participant during Thursday's practice.
Hicks failed to suit up in practice Wednesday after missing last week's game, so it's a good sign that he was able to practice in some capacity. Hicks is trending in the right direction for Sunday's game against the Lions, but if he's forced to miss another game, Mario Edwards and Brent Urban would be in line for the bulk of the defensive end snaps for the contest.
Za'Darius Smith GB OLB
Packers' Za'Darius Smith: Held back in practice9m ago
Smith (ankle) was limited during Thursday's practice session.
Smith pushed his sack total to nine with a takedown of Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky on Monday night, but he's made an abrupt appearance on the injury report at midweek. There shouldn't be too much concern just yet, as Smith was similarly labeled as a limited practice participant because of an ankle issue heading into Week 8. He played 90 percent of the defensive workload in that subsequent game against the Vikings, indicating that Green Bay may once again be deploying a cautious approach with their reigning Pro-Bowl pass rusher. Upcoming Week 13 is a matchup against the Eagles.
Damon Arnette LV CB
Raiders' Damon Arnette: Upgrades to limited practice9m ago
Arnette (concussion/neck) was a limited participant in Thursday's practice, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com reports.
Arnette couldn't practice in any capacity, so his current limited activity represents a step in the right direction. He'll need to fully clear the league's five-step concussion protocol before being allowed to suit up, however, so his availability for Sunday's game against the Jets is still unclear.
Christian Jones DET OLB
Lions' Christian Jones: Managing practice reps12m ago
Jones was limited at Thursday's practice due to a knee injury.
Following a missed practice Wednesday, it's a positive sign that Jones was able to practice in some capacity a day later. Jones should have a good chance to suit up in Sunday's game against the Bears, but if he's forced to sit, Jalen Reeves-Maybin would be in line for an uptick in snaps.
Dan Arnold ARI TE
Cardinals' Dan Arnold: Practices in full Thursday16m ago
Arnold (knee) was a full practice participant Thursday, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com reports.
Arnold increased his activity from Wednesday's limited session, clearing him to play through a knee injury Sunday versus the Rams. Having said that, he's the nominal No. 2 tight end behind Maxx Williams in Arizona, so Arnold's production is hit or miss on a weekly basis.
Marquez Callaway NO WR
Saints' Marquez Callaway: Sidelined at practice17m ago
Callaway didn't suit up in Thursday's practice due to a knee injury.
It was reported Tuesday that Callaway suffered a minor knee sprain in last Sunday's win over Denver, so this news isn't quite surprising. With Deonte Harris (neck) also missing practice, the Saints return game could be short handed for Sunday's game against the Falcons.
Yoan Aybar BOS RP
Rockies' Yoan Aybar: Dealt to Rockies37m ago
Aybar was traded from the Red Sox to the Rockies on Thursday in exchange for infielder Christian Koss.
Even though Aybar was on Boston's 40-man roster in 2020, he wasn't included in the team's 60-man player pool during the abbreviated season. The 23-year-old hasn't pitched above the High-A level, but he posted a 4.61 ERA and 1.36 WHIP over 56.2 innings across 44 relief appearances between the Low-A and High-A clubs in 2019. The southpaw should continue to serve as organizational depth with his new organization in 2021.
Christian Koss COL 2B
Red Sox's Christian Koss: Traded to Boston44m ago
Koss was traded from the Rockies to the Red Sox on Thursday in exchange for left-hander Yoan Aybar.
Koss was dominant during his first season in the minors in 2019, slashing .332/.447/.605 with 11 home runs, 51 RBI and 10 stolen bases over 53 games at the Rookie level. He'll continue his development with a new organization as he attempts to remain effective against higher-level competition.
John Gant STL RP
Cardinals' John Gant: Avoids arbitration2h ago
Gant signed a one-year, $2.1 million contract with the Cardinals on Thursday, avoiding arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.
Rather than going to arbitration, Gant and the Cardinals were able to reach an agreement on a one-year deal for 2021. The right-hander dealt with right groin tightness late in the season, but he should be fully healthy in time for spring training. Gant made 17 relief appearances during the abbreviated 2020 season and posted a career-best 2.40 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over 15 innings.
Scott Heineman TEX CF
Rangers' Scott Heineman: Returning to Rangers4h ago
Heineman signed a one-year, $595,000 contract with the Rangers on Thursday.
Heineman was non-tendered by Texas on Wednesday, but he'll come to an agreement on a major-league deal with his former team just one day later. Despite his new contract, he isn't guaranteed to see significant playing time after hitting .189 during 49 games across the past two seasons.
Zach Green SF 3B
Brewers' Zach Green: Gets invite to Brewers camp6h ago
Green signed a minor-league deal with the Brewers that includes an invitation to big-league camp on Thursday.
Green parlayed a big spring training last year with the Giants to an invite to their alternate training site, but he never got the call to the majors. He hit .282/.380/.659 in the Pacific Coast League in 2019 and will likely compete to make the Brewers' roster as a right-handed bench bat.
Tom Eshelman BAL RP
Tom Eshelman: Becomes free agent6h ago
Eshelman declined an outright assignment to Triple-A and is now a free agent, Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports.
It seems like he had been passed over in Baltimore as a part of the future, so he will look to get a fresh start somewhere else. The 26-year-old righty has a 5.22 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 38 strikeouts in 70.2 innings with the Orioles over the past two seasons.
Darius Miller OKC SF
Thunder's Darius Miller: Thinks he'll be ready for opener1h ago
Miller (Achilles) anticipates being ready for the start of the season, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman reports.
The 30-year-old missed all of last season as a member of the Pelicans while recovering from a torn Achilles. He was traded to the rebuilding Thunder during the offseason. He probably won't have a huge role on the team, as OKC's priority will likely be developing young talent.
Clint Capela HOU C
Hawks' Clint Capela: 'Ready to go' for season opener4h ago
Capela reiterated Thursday that he's fully healthy after dealing with a heel injury last season, Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Due to a plantar fascia injury, Capela never appeared in a game for the Hawks after coming over from Houston at the deadline. But the big man was able to participate in a minicamp back in September, so there's no reason to believe he'll be less than 100 percent to begin the 2020-21 season. Capela, who last played in an NBA game on Jan. 29, is penciled in as the Hawks' starting center.
DeMarcus Cousins HOU C
Rockets' DeMarcus Cousins: Feeling good entering season4h ago
Cousins (knee) said Thursday that he feels healthy entering the 2020-21 season, Tim MacMahon of ESPN reports.
Cousins missed all of last season while recovering from a torn ACL, which came on the heels of a torn Achilles that cut short his 2018-19 campaign. Given the severity of the two injuries, it's difficult to evasion Cousins ever returning to All-Star status, but the veteran sounded confident at Thursday's media availability. "I feel incredible," Cousins said. "My body is in a great place. My mind is in a great place. I'm just ready to get back on the court."
Goran Dragic MIA PG
Heat's Goran Dragic: Foot feeling 'great'4h ago
Dragic said Thursday that his foot hasn't given him any trouble during the first few days of camp, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.
Dragic tore the plantar fascia in his right foot during Game 1 of the NBA Finals back in October, but he reiterated Thursday that he's fully recovered. "No pain, nothing," Dragic said. "Just a little bit of stiffness in the morning, and that's it." The injury put an end to Dragic's fantastic run through the postseason, when he played some of the best basketball of his NBA career. The veteran re-signed with the Heat last month and will likely retain his spot as the starting point guard to begin the season.
Tyler Herro MIA SG
Heat's Tyler Herro: Third-year option picked up8h ago
The Heat informed Herro on Thursday that his $4 million team option for 2021-22 will be exercised, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reports.
Miami didn't have to think hard about whether to pick up Herro's third-year option after the 20-year-old seemingly established himself as a foundational piece for the organization at the NBA bubble in Orlando this summer. Over his 29 appearances with Miami after the season restarted in late July, Herro averaged 16.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.2 three-pointers in 32.2 minutes per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the field, 37.6 percent from downtown and 90.7 percent from the charity stripe. While it's unclear if Herro will unseat Duncan Robinson as a starter on the wing to begin 2020-21, he should be in store for a 30-minute role most nights even if he serves as a sixth man.
Anthony Davis LAL PF
Lakers' Anthony Davis: Finalizing megadeal with L.A.9h ago
Davis' agent, Rich Paul, said Thursday that the big man is in the process of finalizing a five-year, $190 million contract with the Lakers, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.
Though Davis declined his $28.7 million player option for 2020-21 in mid-November, the All-Star big man was never considered likely to leave Los Angeles after claiming his first NBA title during his inaugural season with the Lakers. According to the report, Davis' new contract will include an early termination option prior to the fifth year of the deal in 2024-25, which would allow the 27-year-old to once again explore free agency. After the Lakers extended LeBron James' contract two years earlier this week, the team will now have both of its superstars on the books through at least the 2023-24 season.
Micheal Ferland VAN LW
Canucks' Micheal Ferland: Not cleared to play yet5h ago
Ferland (head) hasn't returned to 100 percent, as general manager Jim Benning told reporters, "If the season was to start right now, Micheal Ferland wouldn't be starting," Brendan Batchelor of Sportsnet 650 reports.
Since Nov. 1, 2019, Ferland has appeared in just four games for Vancouver, a stretch of 70 games on the shelf including the postseason. At this point, the winger could be headed for long-term injured reserve to start the season. Even if healthy for Opening Night, fantasy players should probably stay away from Ferland until he proves he can be the same 40-point producer he was from 2017-19.
Nicholas Merkley NJ RW
Devils' Nicholas Merkley: Returning from loan spell2d ago
Merkley's loan deal with Assat (Finland) has come to an end, and he will head back to North America ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, Corey Masisak of The Athletic reports.
Merkley played in just four NHL games for the Devils last year, recording one goal on eight shots, one assist and nine hits. The 23-year-old center should compete for a roster spot during training camp but may not avoid spending some time in the minors with AHL Belleville. As such, he likely won't have a ton of value outside of deeper dynasty formats.
Calvin Pickard DET G
Red Wings' Calvin Pickard: Loaned overseas2d ago
Pickard will start the 2020-21 season on loan with the Vienna Capitals (Austria).
Pickard saw action in three games for the Red Wings this past season, in which he went 0-2-0 with a 5.45 GAA, not exactly the type of performance that will earn the netminder additional looks from the NHL club. Whenever the AHL season kicks off, Pickard should make his way back to North America.
Emil Bemstrom CLB C
Blue Jackets' Emil Bemstrom: Loan period ends3d ago
Bemstrom loan agreement with Finnish Elite League club HIFK came to an end Monday.
Bemstrom will presumably report back to North America to join the Blue Jackets for the start of training camp. The 21-year-old should be in contention for a bottom-six spot with Columbus after logging 20 points in 56 games as a rookie in 2019-20.
Michael Raffl PHI LW
Flyers' Michael Raffl: Loaned to Austrian club5d ago
The Flyers have loaned Raffl (ankle) to Villacher SV of Austria's ICE Hockey League.
Raffl played through an ankle injury toward the end of Philadelphia's playoff run, but the fact that he's being loaned to Villacher SV suggests he's fully recovered from that issue. He'll be recalled ahead of the Flyers' training camp, but at this point there's no telling when that might be. The 31-year-old winger picked up eight goals and 12 assists in 58 games with the Flyers last season.
Connor McDavid EDM C
Oilers' Connor McDavid: Preparing for 2020-217d ago
McDavid (COVID) is skating with Auston Matthews ahead of the 2020-21 season, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports.
McDavid is back on the ice following his COVID-19 diagnosis back in October as he prepares for the upcoming season. This past year was the first time the world-class center failed to reach the 100-point threshold since his rookie campaign, when he played just 45 games. There is no reason to think McDavid can't produce at that level again in 2020-21, and he should be a near-lock for the No. 1 pick in redraft formats, though teammate Leon Draisaitl could also be in the mix.