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When the Chicago Bulls take on the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night, forward Bobby Portis will take his spot on the bench and play back-up to Lauri Markkanen, possibly even see some reserve minutes throughout the game.

It will be Portis’ first action of the season after serving a team-issued eight-game suspension following an altercation with teammate Nikola Mirotic on October 17, which resulted in Mirotic suffering a concussion and facial fractures.

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Although he is no longer experiencing any concussion symptoms, the timetable for Mirotic’s return is not nearly as close at hand. In fact, he’s expected to miss several more weeks and that, understandably, does not sit well.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports that Mirotic remains both upset about the altercation and distant from his teammates and the organization.

Though he is free of his concussion symptoms, Nikola Mirotic remains weeks away from returning from the two facial fractures that Portis caused with a punch to the face during an Oct. 17 altercation between the forwards in practice. Mirotic remains upset enough over the disparity in time of absences that he has had little contact with teammates, and his camp has made clear to management that, for now, it doesn’t see a way the two forwards can coexist.

Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg supports the return of Portis despite Mirotic’s continued frustration.

“This is something that, unfortunately, it happened,” Hoiberg said. “There was an altercation. And Bobby served the eight-game suspension. It was something that was thought a lot about as far as what the punishment would be, in collaboration with the league. They felt that this was the right punishment. He sat out his games and was able to stay active and practice with us. Now we’ll put him back on the floor. And we welcome him back.”

To this point, Portis and Mirotic have not spoken since the altercation, although Portis has reportedly attempted to reach out. Ultimately, it’s going to be very tricky for the Bulls to keep both players on their roster despite continued efforts to do exactly that.

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HOUSTON — Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien says he and general manager Rick Smith have discussed signing Colin Kaepernick following the season-ending injury to quarterback Deshaun Watson.

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When asked about Kaepernick on Monday, a day after Tom Savage struggled in a 20-14 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, O’Brien said: “We talk about the roster and what’s out there every day Rick and I.”

O’Brien was then pressed on whether they have specifically discussed adding Kaepernick.

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“Oh yeah, everybody gets discussed,” he said. “Is that a problem? Isn’t that the way most teams do it. People seem shocked by that.”

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, began the national anthem protest movement by kneeling last season. He remains unsigned and has filed a complaint that NFL owners colluded against him because of the protests, which are aimed at police brutality against African-Americans and other social justice issues.

O’Brien was pressed several times on Monday about whether the Texans would sign Kaepernick if it were his decision. He avoided answering the question directly, saying that his job is simply to “coach the football team.”

After that, he was asked if he believes signing Kaepernick would make that job easier.

“Uh, that’s an interesting question,” he said before pausing for a couple of seconds. “I would tell you that I like the guys that we have and we’re going to continue to coach them and try to do a better job of coaching them.”

The Texans have not been very active in anthem protests, but the majority of the team kneeled during the anthem before a game on Oct. 29 at Seattle after a report revealed that team owner Bob McNair said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” during a meeting of NFL owners about players who protest by kneeling. No member of the team kneeled on Sunday before Houston’s annual salute-to-service game to honor members of the military.

Houston is looking for answers to get its offense back on track and try to make a push for a third straight playoff berth. The Texans’ record fell to 3-5 with the loss to Indianapolis. They are two games behind Tennessee and Jacksonville, who are tied for first place in the AFC South.

O’Brien said he’s studied Kaepernick since he was in college, but avoided any comparisons between him and the quarterbacks on Houston’s roster.

“Colin Kaepernick’s a good football player, hasn’t played football in a while,” O’Brien said. “But these things are discussed daily and they’ll continue to be discussed.”

Although Dwyane Wade was not part of the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ run of three straight NBA Finals appearances, he’s here for the run at a fourth. And he’s observed some familiar struggles.
Wade referenced the 2013-14 Miami Heat team — the last of the Big Three coalitions — when discussing the current Cavs’ plight. Where that might scare some northeast Ohioans given that team’s fate, he provided some contrast as well.

“That last year in Miami when we went to the Finals, I don’t know how we made it,” Wade said Thursday, via ESPN. “As a team, we were kind of like this. It was worse, because it wasn’t new guys; it was guys who had been around each other four years in a row. Your jokes weren’t funny anymore to other guys, when you walked in it wasn’t a big smile any more. Guys were just over you. It’s like being in a bad marriage.”
LeBron James and Wade led the Heat to their fourth straight Finals appearance, but the San Antonio Spurs dominated the top-heavy team on what turned out to be its last legs. James left for Cleveland a month later, taking his unprecedented finals-qualifying talents (excepting the 1960s Boston Celtics in an eight-team NBA for much of that span) to his hometown and using a collection of new teammates as sidekicks.
Several sidekicks remain from all three finals teams — like Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson and Iman Shumpert — but the Cavs are breaking in plenty of new players this season. And they’ve lost four in a row to plummet to 3-5. Only two East teams are worse.


The Cavs are not averse to drama during the James-2.0 stretch, but they are entering some oddly key regular-season games in November. James’ final Heat team started 4-3 before reeling off 10 straight wins. Wade didn’t guarantee that, but the 35-year-old guard believes the Cavs are better than what they’ve shown.
“With the new guys here, you’ve got guys that have never been [to the Finals], guys who are hungry,” Wade said. “Obviously, Isaiah (Thomas) is one of them, who’s out. [And there’s] Derrick (Rose) and guys who have never been. Hopefully we can eventually pull from that and everybody wants to see the other guys succeed and get to that pinnacle they got to.
“… We have to continue to understand that we’re going to get out of this together and this is going to be a distant memory at one point, but right now we’re in it. We have to figure it out, and I think we will.”


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Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was denied a request for a preliminary injunction by U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla, meaning he will have to serve the six game suspension. At least, for now.


According to ESPN, after hearing arguments from the NFL and NFLPA yesterday afternoon, Judge Failla stayed the decision for 24 hours to afford parties the opportunity to consider appellate options. In other words, Zeke and the NFLPA have the option of appealing the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, in the next 24 hours and could seek a stay that would allow him to continue playing while the appeal process plays out.
In her ruling, according to ESPN, Judge Failla said, “the NFLPA has failed to demonstrate a substantial question warranting the extraordinary remedy of injunctive relief or a balance of hardships that decidedly weighs in its favor.”


Although Elliott was never charged in the domestic violence case, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him for six games following a year-long investigation into the accusations made by his former girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson. The league determined that he violated the NFL’s conduct policy, which warranted a mandatory six-game suspension. 
If the suspension stands, and at this point we’re not comfortable assuming anything, the Cowboys figure to lean on veteran running backs Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden. The Cowboys will host the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9 this Sunday.


Dallas’ upcoming schedule includes Week 10 at the Atlanta Falcons, Week 11 home vs the Philadelphia Eagles, Week 12 home vs the Los Angeles Chargers, Week 13 home vs the Washington Redskins, and Week 14 on the road against the New York Giants.
Zeke would be eligible to return for the Cowboys’ Week 15 matchup against the Raiders in Oakland.