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#pounditThursday, October 1, 2020

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Danica Patrick says dating standards ‘off the charts’ after Aaron Rodgers split

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick and Aaron Rodgers called off their relationship after nearly two years together back in July, and the former NASCAR driver has a warning for the next guy she dates — better bring your “A” game.

Patrick touched on her relationship with Rodgers during an appearance on “The Rachel Hollis Show on Quibi” this week. While she didn’t mention the Green Bay Packers star by name, Patrick did talk about what she learned from “the last relationship.” She said her needs have changed significantly now.

“The next guy has his work cut out for him because my intuition, my standards, my boundaries, my wants and needs are like off the charts because I’ve gotten to know me so much more,” Patrick said. “It’s going to be so much more narrow and specific. I think that’s the challenge with a relationship is — and I said this at the beginning of the last relationship — you either grow together, one grows and one doesn’t, or you grow apart.”

That almost sounds like a warning to Patrick’s future boyfriend. Whoever that lucky guy may be can thank Rodgers.

Patrick and Rodgers dated for nearly two years. We’ve seen Patrick fire back at some trolls on social media since the split, and she has been fairly open in discussing it.

While Rodgers has said very little publicly about the breakup, he seemed to address it this week with remarks that some interpreted as a swipe at Patrick.

Steelers-Titans postponed to later in season following more positive tests

Roger Goodell

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans will not be playing a game in Week 4 due to positive coronavirus tests.

Eight members of the Titans organization — three players and five personnel members — tested positive for COVID-19 following the team’s game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. One more Titans player tested positive on Tuesday, and Wednesday’s testing returned another positive player test and positive personnel member test. That brings the total to 11.

The NFL had originally said the Titans’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers would be played wither Monday or Tuesday of next week, but that has now been postponed to later in the season.

Fortunately, there have been no positive coronavirus tests announced from the Vikings organization. The spread appears to be contained to the Titans, but the NFL is obviously erring on the side of caution.

COVID-19 cases were expected to pop up at some point during the season, which is why the NFL has protocols in place to deal with them. Teams have prepared for the possibility of having to reschedule games.

The Rock releases hype video announcing XFL will return in 2022

The Rock

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson partnered with an investor to buy the XFL for $15 million nearly two months ago, and the league is officially coming back in 2022.

The Rock released a hype video on Thursday announcing that the XFL will resume play in the Spring of 2022.

While the XFL is facing an uphill battle after its first season back was cut short due to the coronavirus, it should be in good hands with The Rock. The WWE legend and actor is worth an estimated $300 million. He also played college football at the University of Miami, so he has an extensive background in both football and entertainment.

There was talk that Vince McMahon could be planning to buy the XFL out of bankruptcy at a cheap price after the league file for bankruptcy protection in April. That obviously did not happen, and The Rock stepped in.

McMahon invested over $200 million of his own money into reviving the XFL, which he first launched in 2001. This year’s reincarnation of the league played half of its 10-game season before things were cancelled due to the coronavirus.

5 biggest surprises through three weeks of the 2020 NFL season

Josh Allen

The 2020 NFL season has been unique so far due to COVID-19, but the NFL has handled the virus well and played all games as scheduled.

The early part of the season has paved the way for quite a few disappointments, which we examined last week, as well as quite a few surprises. Here’s a look at five of those surprises, with an emphasis on positive stories.

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Anthony Davis shares why playing in NBA Bubble is easier

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis shared on Wednesday why some players find it easier to play in the NBA Bubble.

The NBA resumed its 2019-2020 season in a “bubble” setting this summer on the Disney World campus after a four-month layoff due to the coronavirus pandemic. Until the playoffs, there were no fans in attendance. Even in the postseason, there is limited attendance, and it’s from guests of the players and team staff members.

Some players have liked playing in the bubble compared to their home or road arenas, and Davis explained why.

“Some guys like the bubble because you don’t have the pressure from opposing fans, or even (home) fans,” Davis said after his Los Angeles Lakers’ Game 1 win in the NBA Finals. “Fans boo you if you’re not playing well, especially if you’re on the road, it can get to you. You have a little bit more ease here in the bubble not having to worry about any of that. But for me, I just go out there and play basketball, and I don’t really care where it is. Once the ball is tipped, I’m fine, the team is fine. We go out there and play basketball.”

Davis said that he loves to play basketball anywhere, so it hasn’t made a difference to him. But that is the reason he believes other players like it.

Davis scored 34 points in the Lakers’ 116-98 win over the Miami Heat. Davis has been the Lakers’ leading scorer all year and is averaging 28.8 points per game this postseason.

Bam Adebayo intends to play in Game 2 despite shoulder injury

Bam Adebayo

Bam Adebayo is planning to play in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Friday night despite his shoulder injury.

Adebayo exited Game 1 of the Finals on Wednesday night with a shoulder strain suffered on collisions with Dwight Howard. An X-ray on his shoulder was negative.

According to the Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds, Adebayo intends to play through the injury, though the big man will need lots of medical treatment to get through it.

Adebayo had eight points and four rebounds in 21 minutes of the Heat’s 116-98 loss. He wasn’t the only Heat star player to suffer an injury in the game. Goran Dragic left with a foot injury that could keep him out the rest of the series. Jimmy Butler suffered an ankle injury but also intends to play through it.

The teams will play every other day through the first four games before that pattern breaks. They will have an extra day off before Game 5 (if necessary), which is scheduled for Oct. 9.

ESPN announcer suggests Dodgers cheating with Walker Buehler blister

Walker Buehler

ESPN announcer Eduardo Perez suggested that the Los Angeles Dodgers were cheating with their treatment of Walker Buehler’s blister.

Buehler got the start in Game 1 of the Dodgers’ NL Wild Card Series game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday. He lasted just four innings and was lifted after allowing two runs. He had an elevated pitch count at 73 over his four innings.

Buehler was trying to pitch through a blister on his right index finger.

Perez pointed out on the ESPN telecast that a pitcher is not allowed to have anything attached to his hands or wrists.

Buehler appeared to have a bunch of gunk on his fingers to help him pitch through the blister. Perez seems to believe the Dodgers were circumventing the rules with the way Buehler’s hand looked.

The Dodgers ace has been dealing with the blister all month. He missed two weeks during September due to his blister. Buehler has only pitched four innings in each of his last two starts. In his previous start, he allowed just one hit over four scoreless innings, which likely convinced the Dodgers it was worth having him start Game 1 of the series.

Many pitchers have been accused of using illegal foreign substances, though they don’t often get penalized for it.

Doc Rivers could reportedly decide to sit out next season

Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers is attracting a lot of interest as a newly-minted free agent coach. However, there is no guarantee that he will accept any of the opportunities in front of him.

Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer reported on Wednesday that the former LA Clippers head coach may opt to sit out next season. Pompey cites sources who say that Rivers appears to be happy living in Southern California. The Clippers also have to pay him for the remainder of his contract. There is significant schedule uncertainty for the 2020-21 campaign as well.

Rivers, 58, had been the coach of the Clippers since 2013. Prior to that, he had been coaching the Boston Celtics since 2004. Rivers took a one-year break to work as a commentator for ESPN after his tenure coaching the Orlando Magic from 1999 to 2003. Thus, another gap year could be long overdue for him.

We do know Rivers has gotten some interest from at least one contender. But suddenly uprooting his life for the sake of an up-in-the-air 2020-21 season may not ultimately be worth it for him.

Goran Dragic could miss rest of NBA Finals with torn plantar fascia

Goran Dragic

Goran Dragic’s status for the remainder of the NBA Finals is in doubt after he suffered a foot injury on Wednesday night.

The Miami Heat point guard left the team’s 116-98 Game 1 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers after hurting his foot in the second quarter.

Initial reports from 5 Reasons Sports said the injury was not promising and that Dragic was likely done for the series.

Other reporters said after the game that Dragic tore his plantar fascia. The team is not ruling Dragic out for the series yet, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said.

Yahoo’s Chris B. Haynes says Dragic was not in a walking boot and not favoring his foot after the game.

Dragic has been the Heat’s leading scorer during the postseason this year and is a valuable member. Without him, the Heat’s chances of beating the Lakers are vastly decreased. As if that’s not enough, the team has some other injury issues for its key players.

Miami Heat suffer massive injuries to star players in Game 1 of NBA Finals

Bam Adebayo

The Miami Heat looked overmatched in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. As if that weren’t bad enough, many of the team’s top players suffered injuries during the 116-98 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Point guard Goran Dragic left in the second quarter with a foot injury and did not return.

He underwent X-rays on his foot. Initial reports say he suffered a torn plantar fascia, putting his status in question for the rest of the series.

Heat forward Bam Adebayo suffered a shoulder injury in the third quarter and did not return. He got hurt on a collision with Dwight Howard.

Adebayo was termed to have a shoulder strain, though X-rays were negative.

Jimmy Butler rolled his ankle in the second quarter, though he still played a team-high 33 minutes.

Adebayo played 21 minutes and Dragic played just 15 minutes.

Dragic, Butler and Adebayo are the Heat’s three leading scorers and have led the team in minutes per game during the postseason. With the three of them hobbled, the Heat’s chances of coming back in the series are even more unlikely.