Sports, December 26th

WELKER BACK IN PRACTICE, MAY NOT PLAY VS. RAIDERS

ENGLEWOOD (AP) – Wes Welker returned to the Denver Broncos’ practice field on Christmas Day for the first time since suffering his second concussion on Dec. 8.
He was allowed to participate on a limited basis according to the league’s concussion protocol. Also returning to practice was defensive end Derek Wolfe, who hadn’t practiced since having a seizure-like episode on the team bus trip to the airport on Nov. 29.
And rookie cornerback Kayvon Webster practiced for the first time since undergoing surgery on his right thumb Dec. 13 after breaking it in the first half against San Diego the night before.The only players who didn’t practice were backup center Steve Vallos (concussion) and tight end Joel Dreessen (knee).

ELSEWHERE IN SPORTS…

GREEN BAY, Wisc. (AP) – Today is the day Green Bay is expected to decide if quarterback Aaron Rodgers will return for the winner-take-all NFC North game with Chicago on Sunday. The Packers main signal caller has missed seven games after suffering a fractured left collarbone in the Nov. 4 loss to the Bears.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Portland puts its high octane offense to the test when it hosts the Los Angeles Clippers in a meeting of two of the NBA Western Conference’s division leaders tonight.  The Trail Blazers’ 23-5 mark is tied for the best in the league.  Portland has a string of 13 straight games in which they’ve topped 105 points.

DALLAS (AP) – The suddenly struggling Spurs visit Dallas tonight in a second straight battle of Southwest Division contenders. Division leading San Antonio has lost two of its last three, including a home loss to second-place Houston yesterday. The Mavericks are in third place in the division, 5 1/2 games off the lead.

SAN DIEGO (AP) – Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch leads No. 24 Northern Illinois into the Poinsettia Bowl tonight against Utah State.  Lynch has thrown for 23 touchdowns and run for 22 more.  He’ll be facing an Aggies defense that has 16 interceptions in the last nine games.

DETROIT (AP) – Mid-American Conference champ Bowling Green takes a 10-3 mark into the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl against Pittsburgh tonight in Detroit. The Falcons average 35.4 points and 472.5 yards with a balanced offense. The Panthers are 6-6 and are looking to post a winning record for the first time in four years.

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