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How Nuggets’ Jamal Murray’s competitive spirit still burns amid ACL rehab

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How Nuggets’ Jamal Murray’s competitive spirit still burns amid ACL rehab

For 159 days, Jamal Murray’s fire’s been burning.

Murray, who spoke with the media on Monday for the first time since tearing his left ACL on April 12, said his desire to be back is “on a different level right now.” He cited the days elapsed since his surgery as evidence of his determination.

There is no timeframe for his return, and there won’t be for months. His rehab and return is predicated, solely, on how Denver’s point guard feels. It was only five months ago that Murray couldn’t even lift his left leg off the bed.

“I’ve come a long way,” Murray said.

But he knows you can’t rush time. And reps. And recovery. For all the anguish he went through after his knee buckled late in the fourth quarter at Golden State, Murray was at peace with his situation. It wasn’t close to the emotional state he was in following the injury when as Nuggets coach Michael Malone revealed on the Nuggets Ink podcast, Murray asked his coach if the team would trade him.

“I want to feel good when I come back,” Murray said. “I don’t want to come back when I’m like 85%, whatever, no matter where the team’s at. I want to come back when it feels like I can play with the same amount of force that I normally play with.”

Murray spent the offseason rehabbing in Denver and in Phoenix. Recently, he went back to Canada for a month where he re-charged after an arduous summer. His trip, he said, included camping with his family and the occasional one-on-one game with his younger brother.

“They don’t want me doing certain things, and I go home, and I have my little brother that just wants to play one-on-one and stuff,”’ Murray said. “I gotta like balance that out, be safe about it.”

Though he can do certain things on the court, it’s the stamina, speed and strength that he knows isn’t there yet. Murray’s focus lately is on his agility – his stopping and starting, sideways pivots and everything else world-class athletes do in the NBA.

When he returned to Denver recently, he couldn’t stand watching the team – his team – run 5-on-5 scrimmages while he watched from the sidelines.

“I was just sick,” Murray said. “First day back, and I can’t even … I’m already upset.”

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Barbados bids farewell to British monarchy, becomes republic

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Barbados bids farewell to British monarchy, becomes republic

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Barbados stopped pledging allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday as it shed another vestige of its colonial past and became a republic for the first time in history.

Several leaders, dignitaries and artists, including Prince Charles and Rihanna, attended the ceremony that began late Monday in a popular square where the statue of a well-known British lord was removed last year amid a worldwide push to erase symbols of oppression.

Fireworks peppered the sky at midnight as Barbados officially became a republic, with screens set up across the island so people could watch the event that featured an orchestra with more than 100 steel pan players and numerous singers, poets and dancers. It was also broadcast online, prompting a flurry of excited messages from Bajans living in the U.S., Canada and beyond.

“Happy Independence Day and freedom to all,” wrote one viewer.

The drive to become a republic began more than two decades ago and culminated with the island’s Parliament electing its first ever president last month in a two-thirds majority vote. Barbados Governor General Sandra Mason was sworn in before dawn on Tuesday as the island marked its 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.

“As cautioned by our first prime minister … we ought no longer to be found loitering on colonial premises,” she said. “We must seek to redefine our definition of self, of state, and the Barbados brand, in a more complex, fractured and turbulent world. … Our country and people must dream big dreams and fight to realize them.”

Mason, 72, is an attorney and judge who also has served as ambassador to Venezuela, Colombia, Chile and Brazil. She will help Prime Minister Mia Mottley lead the wealthy Caribbean island of more than 300,000 people that is dependent on tourism, manufacturing and finance.

Barbados didn’t need permission from the U.K. to become a republic, although the island will remain a member of the Commonwealth Realm. It’s an event that the Caribbean hasn’t experienced since the 1970s, when Guyana, Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago became republics.

Barbados became independent from the United Kingdom in November 1966, more than three centuries after English settlers arrived and turned the island into a wealthy sugar colony based on the work of hundreds of thousands of African slaves.

In recent decades, the island has begun distancing itself from its colonial past. In 2005, Barbados dropped the London-based Privy Council and chose the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice as its final court of appeal. Then in 2008, it proposed a referendum on the issue of becoming a republic, but it was pushed back indefinitely. Last year, Barbados announced plans to stop being a constitutional monarchy and removed a statue of British Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson from National Heroes Square, the location of the event to celebrate becoming a republic.

“From the darkest days of our past and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude,” said Prince Charles, who thanked Barbadian officials for inviting him and said he has greatly admired what they’ve achieved. “Freedom, justice, and self determination have been your guides.”

During the ceremony, the prime minister awarded pop star Rihanna the honor of National Hero of Barbados, telling her, “May you continue to shine like a diamond,” as they both laughed.

Barbados’ flag, coat of arms and national anthem will remain the same, but certain references will change, according to Suleiman Bulbulia, a columnist for the Barbados Today newspaper. He wrote that the terms “royal” and “crown” will no longer be used, so the Royal Barbados Police Force will become the Barbados Police Service and “crown lands” will become “state lands.”

“It is the beginning of a new era,” he wrote. “Any Barbadian can aspire now to be our Head of State.”

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Dolphins Q&A: What’s going on with Jason Sanders in the kicking game?

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50 Colo. Time dealers, Wells are auto fame inductees

Here’s the latest installment of our Miami Dolphins Q&A, where South Florida Sun Sentinel writers David Furones and Omar Kelly answer questions from readers.

Q: How do #Dolphins fix kicking game in the off-season? I find it hard to believe that Sanders has lost his touch. Is Palardy the issue with the holds? Will Palardy get replaced? — Dixon Tam on Twitter

A: There’s something to it at this point. Jason Sanders has missed a kick in five of the past seven games.

The latest: Doinking an extra point off an upright in Sunday’s win over the Carolina Panthers at Hard Rock Stadium, just a week after a field goal attempt at MetLife Stadium banged off the goalpost.

Between the five missed field goals and the point-after attempt on Sunday, he has missed six kicks, doubling last year’s total of three when he was an All-Pro selection in 2020.

Sanders is in a little bit of a funk right now, but I wouldn’t give up on him and make a drastic change this offseason. We still know what he’s capable of when he’s on his game, and he hasn’t yet compounded multiple misses within a game to the point where you say he’s got the yips. Against the Panthers on Sunday, he did make two fourth-quarter field goal attempts — under no pressure in the blowout, granted — after his extra-point failed.

As far as punter Michael Palardy being his new holder this season, Dolphins special teams coordinator Danny Crossman denied that had anything to do with the misses last week.

“In this profession, and especially in that job, it’s a fine line between being successful and not being successful,” Crossman said. “We have complete confidence in [Sanders]. It’s small things. We’ll keep working, and Jason will be fine.”

Crossman also said there has been no change in Sanders’ mechanics.

“There’s nothing different,” he said. “He’s been the same for the three years that I’ve had him. We’ll just keep fine-tuning and keep working and keep grinding. One thing about Jason is he’s a worker. We’ll get that taken care of.”

As far as Palardy’s role in the punting game, he shanked a few early in the season and has one of the lowest yards-per-punt averages in the NFL (44.2), but he’s No. 3 in the league in punts inside the 20 (21). He has pinned opponents down deep plenty, and gunner Mack Hollins has great chemistry with him downing his kicks deep in opponents’ territory.

Sanders also just signed a five-year contract extension this past offseason. Palardy is on a one-year deal.

Have a question?

Email David Furones, or tag @OmarKelly or @DavidFurones_ on Twitter.

Previously answered:

What changes could come to receiving corps in offseason?

What offensive linemen should Dolphins target in free agency?

Why are Dolphins interceptions down from last year?

Can Tua still be a top-10 quarterback?

Was 2021 team destined for failure before Tua’s injury?

Does Austin Jackson’s move to left guard bring hope?

Did franchise botch Fitzpatrick, Tunsil, Tannehill trades?

Will O-line go through more changes?

Does Tua’s injury reignite Deshaun Watson talks?

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As sports fans let ‘Fire Nagy!’ chants fly around Chicago, Bears safety Eddie Jackson says, ‘We hate it, honestly’

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As sports fans let ‘Fire Nagy!’ chants fly around Chicago, Bears safety Eddie Jackson says, ‘We hate it, honestly’

“Fire Nagy!” chants broke out yet again Monday night during the Bulls game at the United Center as Chicago sports fans continue to express their displeasure with Bears coach Matt Nagy at games — regardless of the sport and venue.

Bears fans unleashed the chant during the Week 11 loss to the Baltimore Ravens — the Bears’ fifth straight before a Thanksgiving win against the Detroit Lions. Over the last week, it has echoed at Bulls and Blackhawks games and on Monday night included a taunting variation of “Hire Nagy!” directed from Illinois basketball fans to Notre Dame fans after Irish football coach Brian Kelly was reported to be leaving for LSU.

It’s likely to continue Sunday at Soldier Field if the Bears can’t keep up with the 9-2 Arizona Cardinals. But at least one Bears player hopes it won’t.

“We hate it, honestly,” Bears safety Eddie Jackson said Monday after practice at Halas Hall. “The fans have got to understand that doesn’t help anything. Y’all want us to play better, do better, that’s not helping when you all are sitting up there and chanting that.

“But I get it. The frustration, longtime Bears fans have been going through this for a long, long time, so I understand it, but it’s not helping the situation. I feel like it’s just making it worse. We just continue to rally around each other and look upon ourselves to get this turned around and block out all the outside noise.”

Jackson made clear the Bears “owe it to Chicago to go out here and play our best ball.” He wasn’t complaining as much as noting that Nagy is “still human, we’re still human,” and not many people want to be booed at their jobs.

It’s just another thing the Bears have to tune out as they try to focus on their final six games — and the uncertainty of the organization’s leadership after that.

Last week, a report surfaced on Patch.com that Nagy would be fired after the Lions game. Nagy’s bosses left him to refute the report to the media before Bears Chairman George McCaskey met with players a day later to say it was not true.

It made for a strange week for players, coaches and Nagy, but they were ready to move past it Monday when they returned to practice from a long weekend. Jackson said he thought players reported back with high energy.

Nagy said he enjoyed the time away with family while sneaking in work early in the morning and at night, “when you can steal some time and not get yelled at for it.”

Jackson is in his fourth season playing under Nagy and said he thought the coach showed “resilience” last week in dealing with the ongoing job speculation.

“I feel like it’s got to be tough, but for him to come in and still lead us and not show any signs of weakness or letting that affect him, that says a lot about him and his character,” Jackson said. “And for us, for him to be our leader, (it’s) just to fall behind what he’s doing. I feel like it’s tough, but he’s handled this situation very well.”

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