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Giants cagey about Daniel Jones’ neck injury as QB is limited in walkthrough practice

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Giants cagey about Daniel Jones’ neck injury as QB is limited in walkthrough practice

One Joe Judge comment stood out above all the others Wednesday.

The Giants’ head coach was asked if there is concern Daniel Jones’ neck strain could be a season-ending injury.

“At this moment, no,” Judge said.

The coach’s hedging provided an adequate summary of where Jones’ injury stands: somewhere in the gray.

The third-year quarterback — who is considered week-to-week, according to sources — was limited in a quick walkthrough practice. He conducted his weekly press conference and said he’s “feeling good” and “preparing to play” Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

But a lot of that felt like gamesmanship.

Judge prefers to keep injury information in-house. Since Jones’ injury got out, Wednesday felt like the Giants trying to overcorrect and create uncertainty for the Dolphins (5-7).

The Giants even waited longer than usual for the media to leave after the brief viewing period at the start of practice. The offensive huddle stayed on the sideline waiting for reporters to depart so they wouldn’t tip off which players took the field.

Jones always tries to play through injuries. His desire to play isn’t the issue, though. Backup Mike Glennon is still expected to start as the Giants (4-7) seek a second straight win.

“There’s a number of things the trainers and doctors want to see,” Jones said of his “sore” neck. “But my focus is to continue to improve and get better and put that [decision] in their hands come this weekend.”

Jones did say he doesn’t believe this is season-ending, although clearly there have been discussions the past couple days about just how bad it was.

“I don’t know,” Jones said. “I think there was obviously a series of tests and conversations with doctors, and I always understood it to be something I could recover from and get back out there.”

Judge said “we’re not gonna rule anything out right now” on Jones’ status for Sunday. However, the head coach admitted that the timing of Tuesday’s signing of quarterback Jake Fromm off the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad was motivated by Jones’ injury.

“When you first get any kind of flag on any player … you immediately say, ‘OK, what kind of insurance do we need for the game right now?’” Judge said. “And then it was an opportunity for us to add a player we liked in college and the draft.”

Fromm was not available to the media after his first practice with the team.

Jones, despite dealing with his neck injury, surprisingly has not been evaluated for a concussion during or since Sunday’s win over the Philadelphia Eagles, per Judge and the team.

The coach said he did not know about Jones’ injury until “our post-game injury report on Monday.” Asked if Jones had said anything about the injury during Sunday’s game, Judge said: “Nothing to me.”

Jones said he felt OK during the game even after sustaining the injury on the second play from scrimmage. Then “after the game it was sore” and “I woke up [Monday] and it was sore.”

The quarterback said he doesn’t want to miss time. He never does.

“I feel that responsibility to be out there,” he said. “I never want to miss games. As a quarterback you never want to miss any time. That’s my focus is to get back and be ready to play… My focus is to get back this week.”

The Giants have recent experience with rushing Jones back too quickly and seeing it backfire, though.

Last season, Jones played on a right hamstring strain in Week 14 against the Arizona Cardinals. He couldn’t move, got tuned up by the Cardinals’ pass rush, and sprained his left ankle. He then had to sit out the following week’s 20-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

“I think every injury is completely independent of another one,” Judge said, when asked if the Giants had learned a lesson from last year. “The medical team’s got to do their job in terms of determining if somebody’s healthy enough to go on the field. And I’ll do my job of getting him prepared for football.”

Jones said there has been no discussion of any shot or painkiller being required to help him manage the injury. He said the Giants and Jones “have a pretty clear understanding of what it is” and now it’s “just about treating it.”

The quarterback stressed that he’s tried hard this season to protect himself better when running, though this is the second time this season he has gotten hurt by lowering his head forward.

“It’s something I’ve been focused on this season is to get down and avoid some of those hits,” he said. “I’ve just got to continue to do that. It can be tough at times, but it’s something you’ve got to be able to do.”

He’ll have to get better at it if he wants to use his athleticism to his advantage — that is, whenever he does get back in an actual game.

TONEY’S INJURY RE-CLASSIFIED

Kadarius Toney missed last Sunday’s win over the Eagles with what the Giants called a “quad” injury. On Wednesday, the team changed that designation to an “oblique/quad” injury, and Toney continued to sit out practice. Toney had pointed to his left hip when he got hurt in Tampa on Nov. 22, so it makes sense that his injury is more than a quad.

Since the start of training camp, Toney has missed practice or game time due to a positive COVID-19 test and injuries to his thumb, ankle, hamstring, quad and oblique.

Jones was the only player listed as limited in Wednesday’s walkthrough. A laundry list of players were non-participants: Toney (oblique/quad), wideout Sterling Shepard (quad), tight end Kyle Rudolph (right ankle), corner Adoree Jackson (quad), tight end Kaden Smith (knee), wideout John Ross (illness), edge Trent Harris (ankle) and special teamer Cullen Gillaspia (calf).

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Man and dog die after being shot in Fenton on Sunday

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Man and dog die after being shot in Fenton on Sunday

FENTON, Mo. – A man and a dog have died after they were shot Sunday in St. Louis County.

Police said the shooting happened at about 3:25 p.m. in the 600 block of Greenhurst Court. When officers arrived, they found 25-year-old Austin Vines and a dog suffering from gunshot wounds. Vines was taken to the hospital for medical treatment, but has since died. The dog has also died from the gunshot injury.

St. Louis County Police Department Crimes Against Persons detectives are investigating this homicide. Contact the St. Louis County Police Department at 636-529-8210 to speak to investigators if you have any information regarding the incident. To remain anonymous or potentially receive a reward, contact CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS (8477).

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White House: Texas hostage-taker not in terror database

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Texas synagogue hostage-taker had stayed in area shelters

By JAMIE STENGLE, JAKE BLEIBERG and ERIC TUCKER

COLLEYVILLE, Texas (AP) — The gunman who took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue in a 10-hour standoff that ended in his death was checked against law enforcement databases before entering the U.S. but raised no red flags, the White House said Tuesday.

Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen, arrived in the U.S. at Kennedy Airport in New York about two weeks ago, a law enforcement official said. He spent time in Dallas-area homeless shelters before the attack Saturday in the suburb of Colleyville.

British media, including the Guardian, reported Tuesday that Akram was investigated by the domestic intelligence service MI5 as a possible “terrorist threat” in 2020, but the investigation was closed after authorities concluded he posed no threat.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Akram appears not to have set off any alarms in U.S. terrorism databases when he entered the country.

“Our understanding, and obviously we’re still looking into this, is that he was checked against U.S. government databases multiple times prior to entering the country, and the U.S. government did not have any derogatory information about the individual in our systems at the time of entry,” Psaki said.

She added: “We’re certainly looking back … what occurred to learn every possible lesson we can to prevent attacks like this in the future.”

The standoff in Colleyville, a city of about 26,000 people 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of Dallas, ended after the last of the hostages ran out of the synagogue and an FBI SWAT team rushed in. Akram was killed, but authorities have declined to say who shot him, saying it was still under investigation.

President Joe Biden called the episode an act of terror.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who was among the hostages, told “ CBS Mornings” that he had let Akram into Congregation Beth Israel on Saturday morning because he appeared to need shelter.

Cytron-Walker said the man wasn’t threatening or suspicious at first, but later he heard a gun click as he was praying.

One hostage was released hours later, and the rabbi and two others later escaped after Cytron-Walker threw a chair at the gunman.

During the standoff, Akram could be heard on a Facebook livestream demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who is suspected of having ties to al-Qaida and was convicted of trying to kill U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan. The prison where Siddiqui is serving her sentence is in nearby Fort Worth.

An attorney in Texas who represents Siddiqui said the prisoner had no connection to Akram.

The investigation stretched to England, where over the weekend police announced that two teenagers were in custody in connection with the standoff. The teenagers are Akram’s sons, two U.S. law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. The officials were not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

On Tuesday, police in Britain said the teenagers had been released without charge. They were detained in Manchester, about 30 miles from Akram’s hometown of Blackburn.

Akram’s family said he had been “suffering from mental health issues.”

Federal investigators believe Akram bought the handgun used in the hostage-taking in a private sale, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still going on.

___

Stengle reported from Dallas and Tucker reported from Washington. Also contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Paul J. Weber and Acacia Coronado in Austin; Michael Balsamo in Washington; and Danica Kirka and Sylvia Hui in London.

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Becky Hammon: It was easy decision to leave NBA, return to WNBA

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Becky Hammon: It was easy decision to leave NBA, return to WNBA

Becky Hammon said she has always followed her heart and not worried about what other people think of her career decisions.

There were concerns when she chose to play at Colorado State instead of a bigger school. There was backlash about her playing for Russia in the Olympics and now she has heard rumblings about leaving the NBA and coach the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces.

“My heart was saying it was time to go. This is where I am supposed to be right now,” she said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “There were a lot of sleepless nights getting to this conclusion.”

She spent eight years as an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs becoming the first fulltime female coach in NBA history. She learned from one of the NBA’s best in Gregg Popovich and now feels it is time to for a different path, so she pivoted to the WNBA, where she played for many years.

“Las Vegas sees me as a head coach now,” she said. “The WNBA has called every year with job openings. … I’ve always said thank you I’m very flattered, but stayed on this path. This was first time where I was like I’ll listen.” ”

She’s proud of her still–being-written legacy as a trailblazer, having interviewed for several NBA head coaching jobs. But for now, her dream of becoming the first woman to lead an NBA team is on hold.

“Women are getting hired in all sorts of positions now. Not just the NBA, but across professional sports leagues,” she said. “For anyone to say the needle hasn’t moved is wrong. The process (interviewing) in Portland moved the needle. It was a great process for me.”

Hammon has heard the outside noise that taking the WNBA job is a step down and she takes umbrage with any who believes it.

“I think it’s an ignorant statement. To think I’ve outgrown the WNBA in a coaching capacity is ridiculous,” she said. “I’d rather be a coach in the WNBA and have my own organization and be running a team.”

There are still a half dozen women assistant coaches in the NBA. Hammon’s resume jas earned her plenty of respect: A person familiar with her contract says she will be the WNBA’s highest-paid coach. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details of the deal has not been publicly announced, and they are still unclear.

“It’s a great opportunity to have a head coaching job at that level.,” Popovich said. “To prove herself. She’s already proven herself to me, but that doesn’t matter in the long run. She’s interviewed for a few jobs in the NBA, and she’s more than qualified and would have done a great job.”

Hammon will be pulling double-duty for the next few months until the Spurs’ season is over. One of the first things that she’ll have to do is hire her own coaching staff. She’s begun calling Aces’ players to get to know them.

“Right now I’m reaching out to all the players on the roster,” she said. “Establish a relationship with them and talk a little bit about roles what we’re doing offensively and defensively.”

The Aces finished with the second-best record in the WNBA last season at 24-8 before falling to the Phoenix Mercury in the semifinals. The franchise, looking for its first WNBA title, has a solid core led by former MVP A’ja Wilson.

Hammon was coy about what her on-court philosophy will be, only saying that the team which was last in 3-pointers attempted will definitely shoot more this season. The 44-year-old former WNBA player says she just wants to coach for now and not worry about being the team’s general manager.

“Down the road we’ll talk. I just want to coach. That’s it. Get out there, get with the players,” Hammon said. “Get in the foxhole with each other.”

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