Welcome to the roundup of must-see sports news from Wednesday, highlighted by North Carolina’s freshman phenom setting records in his college basketball debut and positive news regarding the status of Alabama’s QB Tua Tagovailoa for this Saturday’s titanic game against LSU.
All this and more as we get you up to speed with the sports world on this Thursday.
North Carolina Freshman Cole Anthony Shines Bright in Debut, Sets ACC and UNC Records
There was a lot of hype surrounding North Carolina freshman guard Cole Anthony coming into this season, and it didn’t take long for the No. 4 overall recruit in the nation to deliver.
Anthony had a historical debut on Wednesday against Notre Dame, scoring 34 points with 11 rebounds and five assists in No. 9 UNC’s 76-65 opening-night win.
His 34 points rewrote the history books on night one, as Anthony broke the all-time record for most points for a freshman in a UNC and an ACC debut.
Anthony, who is the son of former New York Knicks point guard Greg Anthony, hit on 12-of-24 shots including 6-of-11 from three-point range.
The ultra-talented freshman was named to the All-ACC preseason first team and is a bonified NBA lottery pick according to most mock drafts.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban Says Good Chance That QB Tua Tagovailoa Plays Saturday vs. LSU
As of Wednesday, the third-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide sound pretty positive about the status of their field general Tua Tagovailoa for college football’s marquee game of the season to date this Saturday vs. No. 2 LSU.
The junior quarterback sprained his right ankle against Tennessee on Oct. 20 and underwent “tight-rope” surgery, which is designed to strengthen the ankle and accelerate recovery.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said on Wednesday that his star QB has made positive strides in practice this week and “there’s a good chance he will play” on Saturday if he continues to make progress and doesn’t have any setbacks leading up to the game.
“It’s still day-to-day, and you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next day, but he’s moving around well and throwing the ball with confidence,” Saban told ESPN. “His mobility will be the big question, but every day that’s improved dramatically.”
Tagovailoa had the same procedure performed on his left ankle last season after he injured it in the SEC Championship Game. He was able to return to the field less than a month later for the College Football Playoff semifinal game against Oklahoma.
“He knows what to expect now, and you could tell with his rehab,” said Saban. “Sometimes the first time a guy gets hurt, they’re even afraid in rehab and are asking, ‘Am I doing too much? Am I doing enough? It hurts, should I keep doing this?’ But even in rehab, Tua was so much more aggressive because he knew the outcome. He already had it before, and his body also knew what to expect.”
Tagovailoa threw for 2,166 yards, 27 touchdowns and two interceptions before going down with the ankle sprain.
Backup QB Mac Jones led the Crimson Tide to a blowout win over Arkansas, 48-7, two weeks ago, and will be ready to go if Tagovailoa has any sort of setback this week.
“We’ve been focused on making sure we get both guys (Jones and Tagovailoa) ready to play as best we can,” said Saban. “I’m not going to put Tua in a situation that could be detrimental to him or his future.”
No. 2 LSU (8-0) and No. 3 Alabama (8-0) will put their undefeated seasons and national championship hopes on the line this Saturday in Tuscaloosa at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
DON’T MISS THESE STORIES: Rounding Up the Top Headlines
- Sixers’ Ben Simmons suffers shoulder injury against Jazz
- Bengals’ star receiver A.J. Green set to return this weekend
- Clippers’ Paul George set for first full-contact practice, could return next week
- Cowboys defensive tackle arrested on marijuana, weapon charges
- Dez Bryant announces plan to return to NFL this season
- International team for President’s Cup set; See who were chosen as captain’s picks
- U.S. women’s soccer star Alex Morgan plans to play in Olympics after pregnancy
WHAT’S ON TAP IN THE SPORTS WORLD ON THURSDAY
NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders
Philip Rivers and the Chargers (4-5) take on Derek Carr and the Raiders (4-4) in a critical game for both team’s AFC playoff chances.
WHEN: Tonight, 8:20 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, NFL Network
NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard is expected to be in the lineup tonight when the Clippers host Damian Lillard and the Blazers. The reigning NBA Finals MVP Leonard sat out Wednesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks due to load management.
WHEN: Tonight, 10:30 p.m. ET
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