- Created on 19 November 2012
Hall of Famer and ESPN analyst Mike Ditka said Monday he's feeling good just days after suffering a minor stroke.
"I feel good. I felt good before I had this thing," Ditka said on his weekly "Mike and Mike in the Morning" appearance on ESPN Radio. Ditka was released from the hospital on Sunday after receiving a clean bill of health from doctors.
Ditka's agent, Steve Mandell, told ESPNChicago.com on Sunday that Ditka plans on hosting his radio program, "The Mike Ditka Show," on Tuesday on ESPN 1000. Ditka, 73, was at a suburban country club in Chicago playing cards Friday when he suffered the stroke.
"I was kind of like driving down the highway of life real fast and I had a flat tire," Ditka said Monday. "It opens your eyes."
Ditka, a former tight end who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the class of 1988, described himself as "optimistic."
"I feel good about everything. I''m going to be all right," Ditka said.
Ditka, who coached the Bears from 1982 to 1992, hasn't had any health problems since suffering a heart attack on Nov. 2, 1988, after the Bears lost to the New England Patriots. He returned on Nov. 13 that season to oversee a 34-14 win over Washington.
He was named head coach of the Bears In 1982. Three years later, he led Chicago to a Super Bowl victory over the Patriots. The Bears finished the season with an 18-1 record. He coached the Saints from 1997 to 2000 before retiring with a record of 121-95.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
- Created on 16 November 2012
It's official, the Chicago Bulls' new practice facility is landing close to home.
The team announced Friday it is developing plans to build a 55,000-square-foot practice space on the east side of the United Center. It's scheduled to be completed in time for the 2014-2015 season in the lot currently marked parking lot J, located on the east side of Wood Street between Madison and Monroe.
"Investing in a modern facility for our players and coaches will help us to achieve our team's number one goal – winning championships – while also playing an important role in the city's ongoing redevelopment efforts in our West Side neighborhood," Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement issued by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
It's a big move for the team. The Bulls have called the Sheri L. Berto Center their practice home since 1992 and most of the players live in the suburbs.
Team president Michael Reinsdorf said the current facility has presented some limitations for the Bulls. "As we looked to invest in the team's future, we recognized the importance of also investing in our community," he said.
Emanuel, of course, couldn't be more pleased.
"The Bulls are an iconic championship team and a source of pride for our city," he said. "Their future, and the future of the West Side, is bright."
- Created on 14 November 2012
After his second concussion as a member of the Chicago Bears and at least his fourth dating back to his career at Vanderbilt, coach Lovie Smith is not worried about quarterback Jay Cutler long term.
Cutler was at Halas Hall Wednesday as the team begins preparation for Monday's game at San Francisco. The team is not practicing for the first time this week until Thursday and Cutler's status remained vague after Smith's update.
"I know a lot of you would like to know about Jay Cutler and how he is doing," Smith said. "He is getting better. Still evaluating him. He's meeting with people. Seeing medical staff, our trainers and all of that. But he is getting better. We do have a little bit more time and that is always good."
If Cutler cannot start Monday, the Bears will use backup quarterback Jason Campbell. They re-signed journeyman Josh McCown on Tuesday to have another experienced passer in the mix. The 49ers could possibly be without their starter Alex Smith as well. He was knocked out of Sunday's game with a concussion forcing San Francisco to use Colin Kaepernick.
Cutler last suffered a concussion in Week 4 of the 2010 season. He missed the game the following week. At that time, club sources revealed Cutler's history included a concussion as a rookie with the Denver Broncos in 2006 and one in college.
Do multiple concussions for Cutler make it more concerning for Smith?
"I can't really get into all of that," he said. "When a guy has a concussion, period, whether it's first or whatever it is concerned for you. We will do everything possible to get him back up to par and all of that. It will all take care of itself. Whether it's two or whatever, he's not going to go back, he's not going start practicing until he is completely healed and ready to go. He won't play of course until there are no issues with that. It will all take care of itself."
Cutler is signed through 2013 and while it's premature to say how this injury will affect him, it's fair to wonder if a history of concussions will impact contract talks that most have speculated would take place after this season. Smith was asked if he has concern for Cutler long term.
"No," Smith replied. "I am just worried about the one that he had the other night. Can't look into the future or anything like that. Every case is different. Jay's feeling a whole lot better. I just know that. It will all play out."
- Created on 15 November 2012
(AP) — Carlos Boozer's latest big game against Phoenix came in handy when the Chicago Bulls blew an 18-point lead.
Boozer had 28 points and 14 rebounds, and the Bulls scored the first eight points in overtime to outlast the Suns 112-106 on Wednesday night.
Boozer, who scored 31 against Phoenix in the previous meeting last season, was a force at power forward again. He made 11 of 20 shots and had his way inside as the Bulls piled up 50 points in the paint. Luol Deng added 21 points and center Joakim Noah had 21 points and 12 rebounds.
"I just played off my teammates," Boozer said. "Rip (Hamilton) got me going in transition, Kirk (Hinrich) got me going with pocket passes."
Chicago scored six points on putbacks in a 10-0 run that gave the Bulls a 79-61 lead in the third quarter. But the Suns fought back in the fourth by being active on the offensive boards and defending with more energy.
"The lesson we have to learn is we have to play tough with the lead," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I thought we got a little loose. We were throwing lobs and not strong with the ball."
Luis Scola had 24 points and 14 rebounds for Phoenix, while Sebastian Telfair scored 17 off the bench.
"We played extremely hard, we just couldn't come up with offense when we needed it," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "Defensively in the second half I thought we did a great job of just hanging in and shaving a few points here and there. The players are trying to learn each other. ... In the meantime, we just keep playing hard and keep competing, and somewhere along the line good things are going to happen for us."
Marcin Gortat banked in a hook shot to cut Chicago's lead to 91-88, and Shannon Brown made it 91-90 on a driving layup with 4:22 to play in the fourth.
Telfair's 3-pointer tied it at 93 with 3 minutes left, but the Bulls hit four of six free throws over the next 2 minutes to go up 99-95. Brown converted a three-point play and Boozer missed a jumper to give Phoenix another chance to take the lead, but Brown missed on a drive to the basket with 19 seconds to go.
Richard Hamilton hit one of two free throws to give the Bulls a 100-98 advantage before P.J. Tucker gathered in a loose ball and laid it in to knot the score at 100 with 9.4 seconds left.
Hamilton missed a chance for the lead, and Phoenix didn't have time to get off a shot before the buzzer to end regulation. The Suns found themselves in overtime for the first time since April 11, 2011, and it took them a little while to get acclimated.
"You get down like that and these teams are tough," Tucker said. "There's a lot of good players. It takes so much out of you to actually fight back, to come back."
The Bulls won their fourth straight game in Phoenix, tying Miami and Oklahoma City for the longest active winning streak by a visiting team.
"We have a lot of vets on this team and we did a good job of being calm and letting the game come to us," Deng said.
The Bulls led 29-27 at the end of a back-and-forth first quarter. Boozer scored 10 points and Chicago shot 62 percent from the field.
The Bulls led by as many as seven points in the second, 40-33, before Scola heated up. He scored eight points during a 13-6 run that gave the Suns a 46-42 lead with 4:45 left in the first half.
Chicago stormed back with a 13-0 run, led by Boozer and reserve Jimmy Butler. Boozer scored 16 points in the first half on 8-of-12 shooting and the Bulls went 4 of 7 on 3-pointers while shooting 58.5 percent in the first half to lead 57-51 at the break.
Scola shot 8 of 13 and scored 16 points in the first half to go with seven rebounds.
The Bulls jumped out to a 63-54 lead, matching their largest advantage of the game, in the first 3 minutes of the third quarter. Noah stole a pass and dribbled from beyond halfcourt for a dunk to cap a mini-run.
Suns forward Markieff Morris went down hard in the closing seconds of regulation and walked slowly off the court with a bag of ice on his backside. He didn't return and is day to day with a bruised lower back.
NOTES: Hinrich returned to the lineup after missing Monday's game against Minnesota with a strained right hip. He scored three points and had seven assists in 27 minutes. ... Suns C Jermaine O'Neal was activated before the game after missing the previous five to attend to a family matter. He did not play. O'Neal has not played since Nov. 4 at Orlando. ... Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp sat courtside.
- Created on 13 November 2012
Bears coach Lovie Smith confirmed Jay Cutler likely suffered a concussion when Houston Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins drilled him in the facemask and knocked him to the ground in the second quarter Sunday night.
So why did Cutler take seven more snaps before being taken out of the game at halftime?
''It is a little troublesome that he stayed in for seven more plays,'' said Dr. Jeffery Mjaanes, the director of the Chicago Sports Concussion Clinic at Rush Medical Center. ''Seven plays is kind of a long time.''
Then again . . .
''Most people might get in that situation and say, 'Give me a minute, maybe things will clear up,' '' Mjaanes said. ''And the symptoms may not be apparent right away. Sometimes concussions can develop over several hours.
''It's really possible that at the beginning he didn't feel too much was wrong. The good news is he did come out eventually. I think the Bears did the right thing by evaluating him early and then keeping him out. And they're doing the right thing by allowing him to rest and get better.''