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WSU basketball player out of surgery and recovering 

Published: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 @ 3:52 PM
Updated: Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 5:50 PM

Custers give update on Ryan

UPDATE @ 5:50 p.m.:

Ryan Custer, the Wright State University basketball player injured diving into a makeshift pool near Miami University, is out of surgery and recovering in his room, according to a social media page dedicated to his progress.

Doctors informed the family that the procedure went well, according to posts to the Facebook page from Custer’s father. Custer is the third person in the world to get a 20 million-count stem cell injection, his father said. Doctors estimate it will take a period of 60 to 90 days before any results will show. 

UPDATE April 28 @ 10:40 a.m.:

Ryan Custer, the Wright State basketball player who was injured diving into a makeshift pool near Miami University, is scheduled to undergo an extensive stem cell operation this morning at 11 a.m. 

George Custer, Ryan’s father, released on facebook the details of this procedure stating, “We are of course nervous, but Ryan is in good hands and Dr. Fessler told us although they have to open up his first incision on the back of his neck it is a lot less dangerous than his fusion surgery.” George Custer also advised that Ryan will have 20 million stem cells injected into his neck. 

Additionally, HBO is going to be at the hospital interviewing the Custer family and filming the actual procedure. George Custer said he will be give an update on Ryan’s procedure later in the day. 

EARLIER: George and Kim Custer, the parents of injured Wright State basketball player Ryan Custer, held a brief press conference Tuesday to afternoon at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to give an update on their son’s condition and what lies ahead.

George, who got emotional multiple times during his 3 1/2 minute statement, said Ryan is being considered for a stem cell study at Rush University in Chicago.

“We just found out he leaves Friday morning at 8 o’clock,” he said. “There’s no guarantees, but he’ll be evaluated for five days and hopefully he’ll pass the test that they’re going to give him and he’ll receive an injection. And then he’ll be there seven to nine days afterward for further evaluation. At that time he’ll go to an in-patient rehabilitation facility.”

»RELATED: Wright State coach on injury: ‘It’s certainly hit everybody hard’

Ryan fractured his C5 vertebrae April 8 when he jumped into a makeshift pool during a party at Miami University. He was air-lifted to the UC Medical Center, where he is still recovering after doctors removed vertebrae fragments and shaved the C3, C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae.

»INITIAL REPORT: Wright State freshman critically injured at party

George said the family is encouraged by some of the small improvements Ryan has made recently.

“Over the past few days he’s shown some improvement in his touch and movement. He’s able to feel his fingers to the touch and he has slight movement in his fingertips. Right now he has hardly any feeling below his legs, although he has felt us rub the top of his feet and he said there’s been some tingling in his thighs and his feet.”

George also made a point to clarify that Ryan did not injure himself by diving off a balcony or through someone’s legs into the makeshift pool during an April 8 party at Miami University, as was stated in the police report.

Ryan is in good spirits but also “nervous and scared for his future,” George said, adding “He’s not sure what’s going to happen. But we’ve assure him he’s not going to make this journey alone. We’ll be right there with him.”

George and Kim, who did not take questions, wrapped the press conference by thanking everyone for their prayers and donations, and they asked that those prayers continue.

“The more prayers we have, maybe God will answer our prayers and give him the healing he needs,” George said. “The only answers we can come up with through this whole terrible situation is that Ryan has and will be an inspiration to other people. He’s a very special kid and everyone’s going to see how tough, determined and resilient his spirit truly is.”

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Only one player missing from start of Bengals OTAs

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 2:19 PM

The Ohio riverfront was again the site of football Monday when the Bengals began 2018 OTAs outside Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Bengals opened voluntary OTA practices Tuesday with 90 of the 91 players on the roster present.

The only one missing was defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who has not been be present for any of the voluntary offseason team activities the last six weeks.

›› JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Like our Cincinnati Bengals News Now Facebook page

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis downplayed Dunlap’s absence, saying “it’s not a story.” Lewis said he has been in contact with Dunlap but does not know if the nine-year veteran, who is entering the final year of his contract, will attend the mandatory minicamp June 12-14.

“I haven’t asked Carlos whether he will be here for minicamp,” Lewis said. “It’s not a story. It’s not a big deal.”

By not attending OTAs, Dunlap is forfeiting a $300,000 workout clause in his contract.

›› 6 things to watch for in Bengals OTAs

Among the players who were limited in Tuesday’s practice were safety Shawn Williams, who participated in position drills but was limited to running sprints between plays during 11 on 11 drills, tackle Jake Fisher and tight end Tyler Eifert.

Fisher missed the final eight games of 2017 with a heart issue, while Eifert missed the final 14 games with a back injury that required surgery.

›› Two Bengals rookies share inconceivable bond

Rookie center Billy Price, the first-round pick from Ohio State, participated in install drills but no active 11-on-11 plays as he recovers from the torn pectoral he suffered at the Combine.

Two players who only did side rehab work were tight end Tyler Kroft and rookie wide receiver Auden Tate, who was a full participant in rookie camp for the two practices that were open to the media.

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Fans say Brandi Chastain's Hall of Fame plaque is a bust

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 11:57 AM

What You Need To Know: Brandi Chastain

American soccer legend Brandi Chastain is one of the most recognizable women athletes in the world. But sports fans were scratching their heads after viewing her plaque as she was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame on Monday night.

>> Read more trending news

In their minds, Chastain’s bust was, well, a bust.

Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle, who wrote inscription for the plaque, called the rendition “shameful” and tweeted that Chastain’s plaque makes Cristiano Ronaldo’s plaque “look perfect.”

“Brandi Chastain is one of the most beautiful athletes I’ve ever covered. How this became her plaque is a freaking embarrassment,” she tweeted.

Chastain was inducted during a ceremony at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. She has won two Olympic gold medals and two World Cup titles with the United States women’s soccer team.

Chastain was diplomatic about the plaque, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

“It’s not the most flattering,” Chastain said. “But it’s nice.”

On a lighter note, social media posters were having a field day. Some compared Chastain’s likeness to Gary Busey, Rex Ryan, Jimmy Johnson, Jerry Glanville, Peter King, Jerry Lewis, John Goodman, Bill Belichick and even Mickey Rooney. Others were comparing it to a hideous rendition of another soccer legend, Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Cristiano Ronaldo sculptor: Eh, this isn’t too bad. Brandi Chastain sculptor: Hold my chisel,” The Washington Post tweeted.

“I don’t know about Brandi Chastain, but they nailed Mickey Rooney,” Jason Davis tweeted.

There are no plans to redo the plaque, Andy Savick, the vice president of finance and administration for BASHOF told the Mercury News. He told the newspaper that images on the plaques are “representations” and not intended to be photographic likenesses. 

Chastain’s bust was on a more favorable view at the 1999 World Cup. She scored the game-winning penalty kick and celebrated by sinking to her knees, ripping off her jersey to reveal her sports bra while clenching her fists. The photograph of that moment has become an iconic moment of celebration in sports history.

There are no plans to redo the plaque, Andy Savick, the vice president of finance and administration for BASHOF told the Mercury News. He told the newspaper that images on the plaques are “representations” and not intended to be photographic likenesses. 

Chastain’s bust was on a more favorable view at the 1999 World Cup. She scored the game-winning penalty kick and celebrated by sinking to her knees, ripping off her jersey to reveal her sports bra while clenching her fists. The photograph of that moment has become an iconic moment of celebration in sports history.

Here are some other infamous renditions of athletes. How does the Chastain plaque measure up?

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Wright State’s Gabe Snyder named Horizon League Player of the Year

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 1:33 PM
Updated: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 1:35 PM


            Wright State’s Gabe Snyder at the plate against Illinois-Chicago on May 5, 2018, at Nischwitz Stadium. Allison Rodriguez/CONTRIBUTED
Wright State’s Gabe Snyder at the plate against Illinois-Chicago on May 5, 2018, at Nischwitz Stadium. Allison Rodriguez/CONTRIBUTED

Wright State’s Gabe Snyder is one homer and four RBIs away from the tying the single-season program records in those categories. But even if he falls short, his place among the Raider greats is already secure.

“Gabe Snyder will probably go down as the best player who’s ever played here, as far as being the most impactful over his career,” coach Jeff Mercer said. “His senior season is the most impactful season I’ve personally ever witnessed.”

»RELATED: Snyder develops into most prolific power hitter in WSU history

»RELATED: Raiders blank NKU on wet night at Fifth Third Field

»RELATED: WSU women’s track fourth at Horizon League championships

Snyder, a fifth-year senior from Millersburg, Ohio, was named the Horizon League Player of the Year on Tuesday, while eight of his teammates were selected either first- or second-team all-conference.

The 6-foot-5, 235-pound first-baseman is hitting .360 with 15 home runs and 70 RBIs. He has almost as many walks (21) as strikeouts (23) and is the all-time leader in homers (44) and RBIs (215).

“He’s really a true testament to the redshirting process and just staying the course,” said Mercer, who was named conference coach of the year after leading the Raiders to a 36-15 record and the regular-season title. “He came to work for five years, and, now, he’s one of the top players not in our league, not in our region, but in the entire country.”

Snyder isn’t the only Raider to benefit from a redshirt year. Third-year sophomore right-fielder Peyton Burdick, a first-team all-league pick, sat out last season, though not by design.

He suffered an arm injury that required Tommy John surgery. But he returned this year to hit .358 with eight homers and 60 RBIs while playing outstanding defense.

“Losing Peyton last year was a tremendous blow,” said Mercer, whose team missed the NCAA tourney in 2017 after earning bids the previous two years. “Having him back this year has been a great boost for us — not just from his performance, but he’s such a great leader. His energy is so contagious.

“Offensively, he’s special. He and Gabe should both be All-Americans. They’re both All-American performers. He’s as talented an offensive player as I’ve ever coached.”

Senior second-baseman Matt Morrow, junior shortstop Chase Sloan and third-year sophomore pitcher Ryan Weiss joined Snyder and Burdick on the first team, while fifth-year senior reliever Derek Hendrixson, junior left fielder J.D. Orr, sophomore third baseman Seth Gray and redshirt freshman designated hitter Zane Harris made the second team.

The nine honorees are the second-most in program history behind the 10 who earned recognition in 2015.

Harris and outfielder Quincy Hamilton made the all-freshman team.

Orr has hit .315 with 32 steals in 36 tries, and he has a Joey Votto-like eye at the plate. He has 39 walks and 21 strikeouts in 181 official at-bats.

Morrow and Sloan give the Raiders an elite middle-infield tandem, while the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Weiss is another who made the most of his redshirt year. The two-time all-league pick is 9-2 with a 3.46 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 87.2 innings.

“He’s gained probably 50 pounds in the last three years. He’s an obsessive worker,” Mercer said. “Every calorie that he eats is counted. Every throw, every stretch, every weight lift — everything he does is calculated and well thought out and planned in advance. He treats his body like he’s an Olympic athlete. Consequently, he’s grown tremendously.

“People always ask, ‘How does a guy go from throwing 85 (mph) to 92-95 in two and a half years?’ It’s hard work. It’s not luck. You just out-work everybody.”

HORIZON LEAGUE TOURNEY: Wright State plays at 11 a.m. Thursday at Nischwitz Stadium against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Oakland and Youngstown State. The championship game is noon Saturday, and the winner will earn a berth in the NCAA tourney.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate and are $8 for adults and $5 for children (10 and under) and seniors. Wright State students are admitted free.

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Sports Today: Have the Cavaliers figured out the Celtics?

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 8:42 AM

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 21:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after a play in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics during Game Four of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 21, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 21: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after a play in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics during Game Four of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 21, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The NBA Silver Medal Series is now a best of three with the Cleveland Cavaliers winning game four of the Eastern Conference Finals 111-102 over Boston on Monday night. 

The Celtics never recovered from an abysmal first quarter, though this was the rare NBA game in which the team losing in the second half didn’t quit, so that’s something. 

RELATED: Cavaliers tie series

Whether or not that means coach Brad Stevens’ team found something to build on when the series goes back home to Boston for game five (and one has to assume game seven the way this series has gone so far) remains to be seen. 

Tyronn Lue’s Cavaliers certainly seemed to find favorable matchups frequently Monday night. 

LeBron James recognized there was no one to stop him once he got into the lane and attacked relentlessly, piling up 44 points on 17-for-28 shooting (60 percent) for Cleveland. 

Meanwhile, J.R. Smith continues to be a pretty good bellwether for the Cavs. He scored nine points, and they won by that many. It’s not quite that simple, but it’s not all coincidence, either.

Smith was 2-for-16 with four points in two losses in Boston before going 6 for 17 in victories the last two games. After going 0 for 7 from 3-point range in Boston, he is 6-for-10 in Cleveland, and naturally he hit a pair from deep as the Cavs established control early in game four. 

Tristan Thompson also showed up (13 points, 12 rebounds) while George Hill and Kyle Korver combined for 27 for Cleveland. 

When all those things happen, these Cavs are going to be tough to beat. 

(If one of them isn’t getting it done, they could always get more from Kevin Love than they did in game four, too. He finished with nine points and 11 rebounds but also had six turnovers and missed 3 of 4 treys.) 

RELATED: That time LeBron consoled a Dayton prep star

Boston still would have had a pretty decent shot if the Celtics wouldn’t have had about three killer lapses, so maybe that’s the under-the-radar takeaway from this game: If the Celtics are on, Cleveland has to play at its best or beyond to win. 

Of course the onus is still on Boston to actually be at its best for that to matter. 

Then again the ultimate lesson might be the Celtics can’t stop Cleveland now that some of the matchups have shaken out, which tends to happen in a series as it drags on… 

  

As mentioned Monday, Reds pitching was even worse than usual last week as they dropped five of seven games to remain at the bottom of the National League. 

» SPORTS YESTERDAY: Reds pitching regresses

David Jablonski broke down the numbers in greater detail, and they reveal a couple of things: 

Tyler Mahle might not have killer stuff, but he probably has the best idea how to use it at thi spoint. The rookie competes and has the best ERA among the four guys who have gotten the majority of the starts. 

Luis Castillo and Sal Romano have both been up and down with Castillo better lately following a rough beginning and Romano getting roughed up twice in the past week after looking better in April. 

Homer Bailey and Matt Harvey are both top 10 picks and enigmas — Harvey the good kind and Bailey the bad

Obviously we haven’t seen enough of Harvey to know what to make of him. He may not be around long enough to get to know well, either. 

I thought it was interesting over the weekend that Bailey and Hunter Greene had similar things to say after getting knocked around in Cincinnati and Dayton, respectively. 

"I went back and watched it. It's a little frustrating, because there were some good pitches there that they did a good job hitting," Bailey said. "That's kind of tough sometimes. Man, sometimes it's just the way it goes. That's a pretty good offense over there, and they did a great job. I thought Tucker did a really good job of calling pitches. Sometimes it just doesn't go the way you want it to.”

And then in the Gem City

“[My fastball] felt good tonight. That team was ready to hit some fastballs. It’s just how it is. I’ve got to learn from it and just keep competing,” said Greene, who is 0-3 with a 10.06 ERA this season. 

Of course it must be said that while Bailey and Greene are both Reds first-round picks who throw with their right hands, that might be about all they have in common anymore. 

One is in his early 30s while the other is just 18, so it makes a lot more sense the latter is still trying to figure things out. 

Greene did get a little more technical, mentioning for not the first time that getting a better angle on his delivery could make his fastball more effective, so for the youngster reps really might be the most important thing.

After multiple arm surgeries, Bailey doesn’t have the stuff he once did, but it’s never quite clear how much he has learned about the art of pitching over all these years. 

RELATED: Maybe this is just who Homer Bailey is

In Dayton for a rehab assignment last year, he said his plan was generally to throw the heck out of the ball (I cleaned that up a bit) and hope the batters make outs, after all. 

Meanwhile, Greene showed a willingness to go to his secondary pitches right away in his first Dragons start

RELATED: Greene dazzles in Dragons debut

Despite throwing 100 miles per hour, the young Californian has learned in little time the necessity to do more than out-talent the opposition, even in Single-A. 

I get the impression Greene is trying to take a fairly advanced approach even at this extremely early stage of his pro career, so that’s kind of interesting in and of itself, too. 

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