Draymond Green: ‘Pretty confident I’ll be playing’ against Hawks

OAKLAND, Calif. — Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green made it sound as if he will return to the starting lineup Monday night against the Atlanta Hawks.

“I think everything is going to be based on how I feel pregame,” Green said after Monday’s shootaround session, “but I’m pretty confident I’ll be playing.”

Green suffered a left ankle contusion in Friday’s 109-85 road win against the Los Angeles Lakers, and sat out Saturday’s 115-102 home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The incident occurred in the third quarter when Green appeared to graze teammate Ian Clark on the throat and twisted his left ankle, and as Green fell, he inadvertently struck Clark on the head with his right knee.

Both players left the game and would not return. Clark did not play Saturday as well.

“It feels good,” Green said of his ankle. “It’s still a little tender, but it’s probably going to be that until whatever.”

Typically, it’s a battle to get Green to take a game off. He wanted to play Saturday but the organization convinced him it was in his best interest to take the evening off.

Due to it being so early in the season, Green chose not to fight it.

“Pushing through it on Game 15 is a little on the extra side,” he said. “It’s not easy. It’s boring sitting out. It’s not fun at all. I’d rather not.”

Green says this isn’t an injury he’s overly concerned with and described it as a fluke accident.

“How many times are you going to come down on somebody’s neck? Maybe foot,” Green said. “Coming down on someone’s foot all the time, but coming down on someone’s neck, it was weird.”

Canucks sign D Hutton to 2-year extension

The Vancouver Canucks have signed defenseman Ben Hutton to a two-year, $5.6 million contract extension, the team announced Thursday.

Hutton, 23, has two goals and two assists in 20 games this season. In his rookie NHL season last year, he played in 75 games and recorded 25 points — 24 of them assists — to lead Canucks defensemen in scoring. Among NHL rookies, he was sixth in ice time and tied for seventh in assists.

He has struggled at times this season while looking for chemistry with Erik Gudbranson. However, he has played better of late for the Canucks, who have won four of their past seven following a nine-game losing streak.

“Ben is developing into one of our young, emerging core players and is an important part of our future,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement. “We’re excited to see him further elevate his game and help this team compete for years to come.”

A native of Ontario, Hutton helped Canada win gold in the 2016 world championships. He was picked by Vancouver in the fifth round of the 2012 draft, out of Maine.

Pats’ Alan Branch faces 4-game suspension after positive marijuana test

New England Patriots defensive tackle Alan Branch is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Branch tested positive for marijuana and will appeal the four-game suspension.

The suspension will not start until after the appeal is heard, so Branch is expected to play Sunday against the New York Jets.

He has started nine of the Patriots’ 10 games this season and has one sack and 33 tackles. Last season he appeared in 16 games, starting 15, and finished with one sack and 35 tackles.

Branch, 31, was suspended by the Patriots for a few days in August for violating team rules.

Branch joined the Patriots in the middle of the 2014 season. He had been released by the Bills in August 2014, when he was entering the second season of a three-year, $8.5 million deal ($3.1 million signing bonus) but made headlines with a DUI arrest.

Pelicans’ Anthony Davis misses game versus Magic with right quad bruise

ORLANDO, Fla. — Anthony Davis missed his first game of the season on Wednesday night with a right quad contusion.

Terrence Jones started at power forward for the New Orleans Pelicans in Davis’ place against the Orlando Magic.

“I got to figure out which one of my assistants lived a really bad life, because this punishment I know didn’t come from me,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said before the game. “What can you do? Whoever came up with, ‘It is what it is,’ that’s what it is. It is what it is.”

Gentry said Davis showed no symptoms after suffering the injury during Monday’s home victory over the Boston Celtics but experienced tightness Wednesday morning and again when he arrived at Amway Center in the afternoon for shootaround.

“With those situations happening, you don’t want to take a chance on something,” Gentry said. “It’s one basketball game. We’ll re-evaluate and see where he is tomorrow.”

Gentry said he didn’t know if the injury would affect Davis’ status for upcoming games.

Davis also has been receiving treatment for a back injury that briefly forced him out of Saturday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and led to him lying on the sidelines instead of sitting on the bench on Monday to keep it from tightening.

“Every time I sit down, it just tightens up,” Davis said Monday. “That was the best way for me to try to keep it loose.”

The 23-year-old has started in each game of the Pelicans’ 2-9 start to the 2016-17 season, averaging 30.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.1 steals and an NBA-high 2.9 blocks. Davis missed 68 games in the first four seasons of his NBA career. He set a goal in training camp of playing a full season after sitting out a career-high 21 games last season, including the final 14 to undergo an ultrasonic debridement on his left knee.

Davis leads the Pelicans in total minutes played, points, rebounds, blocks, steals, field goal attempts, field goal makes, free throw attempts and free throw makes.

Wednesday’s matchup is expected to be New Orleans’ final game without Jrue Holiday, who will rejoin the team on Thursday after a three-month hiatus to tend to his wife, former USWNT soccer player Lauren Holiday, as she recovers from the birth of their first child and surgery to remove a benign tumor from the right side of her brain.

E’Twaun Moore, who missed Monday’s win against the Celtics with a right big toe injury, will return to the Pelicans’ starting lineup in Orlando, moving rookie Buddy Hield back to the reserve unit.

Damian Lillard on Trump protests: ‘Tearing apart your own city just isn’t the place to begin’

OAKLAND, Calif. — Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard questioned the damage and violence taking place in Portland, Oregon, during anti-Donald Trump protests, saying it isn’t the proper way to go about implementing change.

“I think it’s very unfortunate that people have done some of the things they have done during the protest. A lot of harm and damage has been done,” Lillard told ESPN on Saturday. “I do understand their frustration, and I commend people wanting to come together for some kind of change. Tearing apart your own city just isn’t the place to begin, and also making your own city less of a safe place isn’t the answer.”

Since Tuesday, thousands of protesters have congregated in outrage over billionaire businessman Trump being elected the 45th president of the United States. Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Oakland, California, are some of the other major cities actively protesting.

Marches across the country have overwhelmingly been peaceful, but Portland has received the nation’s attention for cases of vandalism and assault. Buildings have been vandalized and car windows smashed in. Some individuals have thrown objects at police officers who were trying to maintain order.

Police were forced to use flash bangs and tear gas Friday to disperse the protesters after informing them that their assembly was ruled unlawful and they were subject to arrest.

Early Saturday morning, one male protester was shot on the Morrison Bridge. His injuries aren’t considered to be life-threatening, and the gunman has not been apprehended.

“For someone to be shot on the bridge lets you know it has gone too far,” Lillard said. “That could have been a kid out there or any person catching a stray bullet.”

Lillard has embraced Portland ever since being selected No. 6 by the organization in the 2012 NBA draft. He proudly represents the culture, history and fabric of the city. His hometown is in Oakland, but he considers Portland to be his adopted community.

He said “his city” is better than this and pleads for those causing chaos to choose a peaceful alternative.

“Portland has been a great place since I’ve been here and long before, but this type of activity doesn’t even seem to fit the description of Portland,” Lillard said. “Especially when the majority of the people here voted for Hillary. So if this is an anti-Trump rally, then you’re probably harming the people that you side with in most cases. So again I share the same worry, but I don’t think this is the solution.”

Up to Cowboys coaches as to when Tony Romo will be available to play

When Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will next be in uniform and available on game day has moved from a medical decision to a coaching decision, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

“Any time a player comes back from an injury, you have feedback from the player as to how he’s doing,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, who would not confirm that the decision was up to the coaches. “You watch him as a coach, you see how he’s doing. The trainers watch him and you come up with a decision as to what his status is in the game, and we’ll do that with 10 guys at practice today.”

Romo has been recovering since suffering a compression fracture in his back during a preseason game in Seattle. Depending on how he responds to more extensive work in practices this week, Romo could be in uniform for the first time this season when the Cowboys visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, barring any physical setback.

“He’s champing at the bit,” Garrett said Wednesday. “But you know, we’ll watch him today at practice and see how he does.”

Romo was listed as a full participant in Wednesday’s practice for the first time this seasons, which could be a sign that he is trending toward being active on Sunday. He was listed as limited for two practices last week.

A final determination seems unlikely until late in the week.

“That will be a coaching decision,” a source told ESPN.

Romo has remained on the active roster and has been with the team on the sideline each week this season, but he has not dressed for a game while rookie Dak Prescott has led the Cowboys to an NFC-best 7-1 record. The Cowboys have not publicly committed to having Prescott continue as the starter when Romo is available, but there have been strong indications that is the plan.

Romo has thrown just 121 regular-season passes since the end of the 2014 season and hasn’t played a regular-season game since Thanksgiving Day last year.

“He’s been throwing the ball well. He had two good days of practice last week,” Garrett said Wednesday. “… The last couple of weeks have been really good for him.”

Because of Prescott’s performance and the team’s record, Jones has said the Cowboys would not be forced to have Romo return prematurely and risk reinjury — as has happened in that past — and that they’re in position to ensure he is fully recovered from an injury unrelated to his many other back problems.

Kings D Tom Gilbert gets 3-game suspension for boarding

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Kings defenseman Tom Gilbert has been given a three-game suspension for boarding Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Ritchie.

The NHL’s department of player safety announced the suspension Thursday.

Gilbert hit Ritchie during the second period of the Kings’ 4-0 loss to the rival Ducks on Tuesday, making contact with Ritchie’s head while driving him into the glass. No penalty was given on the play, but Ritchie didn’t return to the game, and he didn’t play in Anaheim’s loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Gilbert will lose over $23,000 in salary during his suspension.

He would be eligible to return next week when the Kings visit Montreal. The 33-year-old Gilbert spent the past two seasons with the Canadiens before signing with Los Angeles as a free agent four months ago.

Zac Dalpe Authentic Jersey

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Wild center Zac Dalpe will miss the next four to six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.

Dalpe was hurt Saturday in Minnesota’s 4-0 win over Dallas. The Wild placed Dalpe on long-term injured reserve on Tuesday after what the team called a successful operation, performed by Dr. Joel Boyd. Dalpe, who turned 27 on Tuesday, has one goal and two assists in nine games.

The Wild recalled forwards Christoph Bertschy, Tyler Graovac and Jordan Schroeder from their AHL affiliate in Iowa before hosting Buffalo on Tuesday.

Bertschy and Graovac played on Saturday against Dallas before being sent back briefly. Schroeder will make his season debut. He’s played in 51 games for the Wild over the last two years.