ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP)The ”Prayers for Damar 3” have been answered. Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is finally home.
Nine days after he stunned and saddened his teammates by going into cardiac arrest and being resuscitated on the field in Cincinnati, and placed the NFL on hold, Hamlin was released from a Buffalo hospital on Wednesday, the Bills announced.
This marks the next major step in what doctors have called Hamlin’s remarkable recovery, which came two days after he was deemed healthy enough to be transferred from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center to the Buffalo General Medical Center. Dr. Jamie Nadler said the 24-year-old Hamlin will continue his rehabilitation with the Bills.
The Bills and Nadler did not disclose the results of the tests Hamlin had over the past two days in Buffalo to determine the reason his heart stopped after he struck squarely in the chest by Bengals receiver Tee Higgins while making what appeared to be a routine tackle. Hamlin collapsed during the first quarter of Buffalo’s since-canceled game at Cincinnati on Jan. 2, a chilling scene that played out in front of millions on television.
OWING MILLS, Md. (AP) – Roquan Smith made quite an impression in just a half-season with Baltimore.
The Ravens signed Smith to a contract extension, agreeing to a five-year deal with the star linebacker who arrived in a midseason trade from Chicago and helped his new team secure a playoff spot with a stout defensive effort down the stretch.
The team announced the extension Wednesday – the same day local media announced that Smith had been voted team MVP despite playing in only nine games for the Ravens.
The 25-year-old Smith was the NFL’s third-leading tackler this season. He came to Baltimore after his tenure with Chicago ended somewhat acrimoniously. With his rookie contract set to expire, Smith participated in voluntary and mandatory offseason workouts, but when training camp started, he attended meetings and practices without participating in drills. He also went public with a trade request and accused general manager Ryan Poles of negotiating in bad faith.
Smith eventually started practicing and played the first eight games for Chicago before being dealt to the Ravens. Since the trade, Baltimore has allowed just 14.7 points per game.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – This time, Carlos Correa’s deal is done.
Correa passed his physical exam Wednesday and signed a $200 million, six-year contract to return to the Minnesota Twins, who re-entered the most convoluted free agent negotiations in baseball history after deals with the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets fell through.
Correa agreed Tuesday to a contract that could be worth $270 million over 10 seasons if the All-Star shortstop stays healthy, a uniquely structured deal the Twins assembled to jump back in contention after it appeared they’d be outspent – twice – by bigger-market franchises.
The agreements with the Giants and Mets dissolved over concerns by those clubs about the long-term viability of his lower right leg. Correa broke a bone near his ankle sliding into third base as a minor leaguer in 2014, and he had a metal plate inserted for extra support in the surgical repair.
BOSTON (AP) – Jaylen Brown scored a season-high 41 points and had 12 rebounds and the Boston Celtics won their fourth straight game, holding off the New Orleans Pelicans 125-114.
Jayson Tatum added 31 points and 10 rebounds, Malcolm Brogdon scored 20 points, and Al Horford had 14, making four 3-pointers. The Celtics have won their last five home games.
CJ McCollum had 38 points for New Orleans, his fifth consecutive game with at least 25 points.
SACRAMENTO (AP) – Domantas Sabonis had 25 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists as the Sacramento Kings beat the skidding Houston Rockets 135-115.
De’Aaron Fox added 24 points and nine assists for Sacramento. Trey Lyles scored 15 of his 20 points off the bench in the fourth quarter. Keegan Murray and Harrison Barnes each finished with 16.
Alperen Sengun became the youngest center in NBA history with a triple-double. The 20-year-old finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for Houston. Jalen Green had 26 points for the Rockets, who have lost eight consecutive games and 13 of their last 14.
DENVER (AP) – Nikola Jokic had 21 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists before sitting out the fourth quarter and the Denver Nuggets won their 12th straight home game, routing the weary and short-handed Phoenix Suns 126-97.
Bones Hyland added 21 points and Jamal Murray had 16 to help the Nuggets win for the 14th time in 17 games. They reached the halfway point of the season tied with Memphis for the Western Conference lead.
Torrey Craig scored 16 points and Josh Okogie added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Suns. They have dropped 10 of 12.
HOUSTON (AP) – Marcus Sasser scored a career-high 31 points, Jamal Shead added 20 points and six rebounds, and No. 1 Houston used a huge second half to beat South Florida 83-77.
Sasser scored 25 points and Shead had 13 as the backcourt mates combined to score 38 of Houston’s 46 second-half points. Sasser, a preseason All-American, finished 7 of 17 from the field, including 6 of 12 on 3-pointers. In the second half, Sasser and Shead combined to shoot 10 of 16 from the field and were 6 of 11 on 3s.
Tramon Mark scored 13 points for Houston (17-1, 5-0 American Athletic Conference), which won its eighth straight game.
NEW YORK (AP) – Geno Auriemma returned to UConn’s bench and Azzi Fudd to its lineup as the fourth-ranked Huskies routed St. John’s 82-52.
Auriemma had missed the Huskies’ previous two games because he wasn’t feeling well. He also missed two games while sick in December. The 68-year-old coach is also grieving the death of his 91-year-old mother in early December.
The Hall of Fame coach had been likely to miss a third game as the Huskies were set to play DePaul last Sunday, but that game was postponed when UConn (14-2, 7-0 Big East) didn’t have enough available players due to injuries. It will be made up on Jan. 23.
Fudd, playing in her first game since injuring her right knee against Notre Dame on Dec. 4, finished with 15 points in 20 minutes. The sophomore guard had been averaging 20.6 points but had missed the Huskies’ last eight games.