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#pounditThursday, April 22, 2021

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Brooks Koepka to face Dave Portnoy lefthanded in golf charity match

Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka is chasing after that $40 million PGA popularity bonus pool.

Koepka and Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy agreed on Twitter Thursday to play a match for charity. Koepka is one of the top golfers in the world, which would make a match against Portnoy unfair. So Koepka, who golfs righthanded, is going to play lefthanded to even things out.

The two are putting $250,000 on the line. Koepka will donate to the Barstool Fund if he loses, while Portnoy will donate to Koepka’s charity fund if Brooks wins.

There is one other note. Barstool Sports personalities Big Cat and PFT, who co-host the “Pardon My Take” podcast, will caddie for Koepka, who is a regular guest on their show.

The PGA Tour this year began a $40 million bonus program to reward its 10 most popular golfers based on various metrics. Participating in a charity match with Portnoy, a popular social media figure, should help Koepka’s metrics.

Wizards rookie Deni Avdija to miss 12 weeks with leg injury

Deni Avdija

The Washington Wizards on Thursday shared news on Deni Avdija’s injury timetable.

The rookie is expected to miss 12 due to a right fibular hairline fracture. He will not need surgery.

Avdija got injured in Wednesday’s win over the Warriors. His lower right leg got bent awkwardly when he landed after a shot attempt.

Avdija had six points and three rebounds before exiting on Wednesday. The No. 9 overall pick was averaging 6.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game this season.

Trae Young gets good news on ankle injury

Trae Young

Trae Young suffered a bad-looking ankle injury on Wednesday night against the New York Knicks, but the diagnosis is a positive one for the Atlanta Hawks’ star guard.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Young has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 lateral ankle sprain. The guard is expected to be able to play again once the swelling clears up.

NBA injury expert Jeff Stotts said the typical recovery time for this sort of injury has been slightly over two weeks.

This is a relief, since the injury looked pretty bad when it took place, as you can see here.

The timing on this isn’t great for the Hawks, as they sit just a game above the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference. If they drop much lower, they’d be in danger of landing in the play-in tournament. However, this does make it likely that Young will be back before the end of the regular season, and almost certainly good for the playoffs.

The 22-year-old guard is averaging 25.3 points and 9.6 assists per game in 54 games this season.

DeAndre Hopkins hints he may take advantage of new NFL number rules

DeAndre Hopkins

The NFL officially changed its rules regarding which positions could wear certain jersey numbers this week, opening the door to some different looks as soon as 2021. While there’s not expected to be a rush of changes, one star is hinting that he might take advantage of things.

DeAndre Hopkins, who wore No. 6 at Clemson, posted an edited picture of himself wearing the number in his Arizona Cardinals jersey, hinting that he could make the switch.

To be clear, there are some reasons why players might be reluctant to change their jersey numbers. Hopkins can likely handle the cost of this one, though.

The Cardinals would probably be very happy to see Hopkins change his number, because there would likely be a sales rush for his new jersey. On the other hand, this guy probably wouldn’t like it at all.

Kellen Mond stock rising in NFL Draft?

Kellen Mond

Much attention has fallen on the top four quarterbacks in the NFL Draft, but teams drafting lower in the first round may be increasingly eyeing another option at the position.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond is rising in status ahead of the draft. In fact, several people within the game have told Pelissero that Mond is the most likely quarterback outside of the top four to be a surprise first round pick.

There is a lot that teams like about Mond. He was a consistent producer at Texas A&M and has shown good athleticism and ability there. He also impressed at the Senior Bowl, where he won MVP. However, teams have concerns about how stiff he is throwing the ball, though this could theoretically be coached out of him.

Mond’s college career was appreciated by many, including the guy he replaced at the top of the Aggie leaderboard in many categories. At the very least, it sounds like this is a name to watch on Day 2 at the latest.

NCAA makes key change to college football overtime rule

Mark Emmert

College football overtime will look a bit different starting in 2021.

In a set of rule changes announced Thursday by the NCAA, teams will now be required to attempt a two-point conversion following a touchdown starting in the second overtime period. Previously, this requirement kicked in at the third overtime.

In addition, the so-called two point conversion “shootout,” in which both teams will trade alternating two-point attempts, begins in the third overtime, a change from the fifth. Both changes are meant to try to reduce the chance of lengthy overtime periods.

While multi-overtime classics can be great viewing for fans, they’re also absolutely brutal for the players involved. Protecting players from physical issues has to be the main priority, and it’s just not feasible to ask them to play seven or eight full overtimes, hence these changes.

Video: Reds fan wipes out badly, loses nachos going after HR ball

Reds fan home run fall

A Cincinnati Reds fan came very close to snagging a Eugenio Suarez home run ball during the team’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, but unfortunately he was unable to pull it in. Believe it or not, dropping the souvenir may not have been the worst thing that happened.

In the process of trying to corral the homer, the fan lost his nachos and fell over about two rows of seats in front of him. A young kid then picked up the ball, and the dad who went tumbling had to console his own disappointed son.

It doesn’t get much worse than that.

That wasn’t the first fan we have seen have trouble catching a home run ball this year. The last instance had a very happy ending, so hopefully the Reds track that guy down and help him and his son out. Otherwise, the youngster may never forgive his old man.

Spencer Dinwiddie suggests playoff return is ‘realistic’

Spencer Dinwiddie

The Brooklyn Nets could have even more firepower available to them for the NBA Playoffs with a possible return from Spencer Dinwiddie.

Dinwiddie suffered a partial ACL tear on Dec. 27 and was expected to miss the remainder of the season. However, on Thursday, the Nets guard said it was “realistic” that he could ramp up enough to return during the playoffs if he can get his conditioning up to speed.

The Nets obviously have top-end talent, but recent injuries to Kevin Durant and James Harden have demonstrated that there is a degree of vulnerability in the team’s depth. That’s particularly true of the backcourt. Getting Dinwiddie back, even in a modest role, would help that issue to no end.

Dinwiddie, 27, averaged 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per game last season. The injury, as well as the Nets’ new core, has led some to apparently forget he’s even on the team, so a playoff return would certainly serve as a good reminder.

Photo: Erik Drost/Flickr via CC-BY 2.0

Kliff Kingsbury takes funny shot at Sean McVay over Rams’ draft setup

Kliff Kingsbury

The Los Angeles Rams are drafting in style this year, but Kliff Kingsbury thinks their motivation for doing so is about more than just building a great team for the future.

The Rams revealed on Twitter earlier this week that they have converted a luxurious Malibu beach house into their draft room for 2021. Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who is good friends with Rams coach Sean McVay, was asked about his buddy’s swanky setup on Thursday. Kingsbury joked that he thinks McVay is just looking for an excuse to show off his bod.

“I really think it’s just a ploy by McVay to allow himself the opportunity to take his shirt off again and jump in the pool like he did on Hard Knocks, sip some Rose’, take a dip in the ocean and make some picks,” Kingsbury said, via ESPN’s Ed Werder.

If you haven’t seen the Rams’ Malibu setup, you can check it out below:

It should be noted that McVay seemed to get sick of “Hard Knocks” pretty quickly, but we doubt that will happen with the Malibu house. If Kingsbury thought he was going to drop by for a swim at some point, he can probably forget about that now.

Aaron Rodgers helps launch athlete version of IMDB

Aaron Rodgers

There are plenty of websites available where you can get every stat imaginable for a professional athlete, but Aaron Rodgers has helped launch an outlet that he hopes can take that a step or two further.

Rodgers partnered with actor and producer Ryan Rottman to form the Online Sports Database (OSDB), which officially launched this week. The site not only lists stats and contract information, it also provides users with information about an athlete’s endorsement deals, business ventures, charity work and more.

Rottman told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky this week that the goal for OSDB is to build stronger fan allegiances and provide opportunities for athletes to connect with potential business partners.

“To me, the more you know about an athlete the bigger fan you become, and that’s essentially for the fan side what we’re trying to do,” Rottman said.

“Not only the fan side but we want to be able to help generate additional [exposure] for these guys. We’re not building this for 1 percent; we’re building it for the 99 percent who don’t get the eyeballs or people don’t know how to get ahold of them for deals where they can endorse, say, the local car dealership in Green Bay.”

Rodgers has notoriously kept his private life to himself, but there has been a noticeable change in his approach since he got engaged to actress Shailene Woodley.

“OSDB is a premiere digital sports database and growing daily,” Rodgers said in a statement announcing the launch of the site. “At OSDB, you’ll find stats, breaking news, human interest stories and personal information on your favorite athletes.”

It is probably no coincidence that Rodgers has let his guard down a bit right around the time OSDB launched. The 37-year-old recently gave a surprising response when he shared what he expects his next big challenge to be. He seems to be making an effort to relate to people more, which is the goal of his new business venture.