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Only hope is Tiger Woods can walk again after car accident

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Whether Tiger Woods ever plays another golf tournament is irrelevant now.

The Masters in April?

Who cares?

His pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major championships?

So what?

What matters most in the wake of his horrific car accident on Tuesday in the Los Angeles area is not Tiger Woods the golfer, but Tiger Woods the human being.

You’ve probably seen the chilling images of the wreckage on TV and the internet. Woods’ Genesis courtesy car mangled and lying in the woods on its driver’s side. His Nike luggage strewn on the dirt outside the vehicle. The front grill of the SUV, license plate still attached, along with the “Welcome to Rolling Hills Estates’’ sign, sheared in half, both lying in the street.

Rescuers had to extricate Woods from the vehicle out of the windshield, which had to be shattered and removed.

A Los Angeles County sheriffs department officer carries a broken “Welcome to Rolling Hills Estates” sign destroyed from the vehicle driven by Tiger Woods.

AFP via Getty Images

TIGER WOODS WRECKED CAR AT THE SCENE

A vehicle rest on its side after a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods along a road in the Rancho Palos Verdes section of Los Angeles. He was removed through the windshield.

MACE / BACKGRID

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These images in your mind, the first thing you wondered — hoped — was that Woods would survive such a crash.

This accident couldn’t help but give you flashes of the day Kobe Bryant perished in that helicopter crash in the L.A. area just more than a year ago. When news of the crash involving Bryant first broke, the first and only thing you hoped was that he survived, not anything else he was going to do with his basketball career.

Two days before the crash, on Sunday, Woods sat in the CBS booth speaking to Jim Nantz as the final round of the Genesis Invitational was unfolding at Riviera Country Club. Woods, the tournament host, was not playing because he’s been recovering from his fifth back surgery, on Dec. 23.

Tiger Woods had to be pulled out from his car’s busted windshield after his crash in LA on Tuesday.
MACE / BACKGRID

Nantz did his best to press Woods on the state of his latest recovery, asking whether he’d be able to play in the Masters in seven weeks.

“God, I hope so,’’ Woods said. “I’ve got to get there first.’’

Woods, as he always does, kept a shroud of mystery around himself, not revealing much of anything in terms of any timetable for his return.

As much as Woods’ remarkable career has been defined for his unprecedented collection of trophies — the record-tying 82 wins, including 15 major championships — the latter half of it has been defined by a constant barrage of questions about his health and when he was going to return from whatever latest surgery he underwent.

The reaction from Woods’ fellow players and friends on Tuesday, was shock first.

“I’m sick to my stomach,’’ a visibly shaken Justin Thomas said Tuesday at the WGC-Workday tournament in Florida. “[I’m] just worried about his kids. I’m sure they’re struggling.’’

Tiger Woods in December.
Tiger Woods in December.
Getty Images

A theme to the player reactions about the incident, which left Woods in surgery for most of Tuesday to repair multiple injuries to both of his legs, was centered around the physical and mental toughness that has allowed him to keep coming back from multiple surgeries to his knees, Achilles and, most recently, his back.

Woods’ career surgeries, like his major championships, are in double digits.

“You just hope Tiger’s all right,’’ Tony Finau said from the WGC event. “We all know he’s strong physically and mentally. If anyone is going to come back from this, he will.’’

Woods famously won the 2008 U.S. Open playing with ACL damage in his left knee and stress fractures in his left leg. He went 11 years, spanning the disintegration of his marriage in scandal and those five back surgeries, before winning his next — and likely his last — major, the 2019 Masters.

This is a totally different deal. This is about Woods being able to walk again, play with his two children and live a normal life. It’s not about when he’ll play in his next Masters or next golf tournament.

“I just hope he can get out of the hospital walking and play with his kids and have a normal life,’’ Jon Rahm said from the WGC event.

There, of course, has been little “normal’’ about Woods’ very public life, which has consisted of a series of dramatic chapters. Some of those chapters have been great (the 15 major championships). Others have been forgettable (the marital scandal, surgeries and embarrassing DUI incident in Florida when he was addicted to pain killers for his back).

NY Post Page 1

Ben Hogan, one of golf’s most iconic players, famously was involved in a head-on collision with a Greyhound bus in February 1949. The left side of his body was crushed, with pelvis, shoulder, ribs, knee, ankle and internal injuries sustained.

Hogan came back from that and won 11 more tournaments, including six of his nine career major championships. Hogan was 36 years old at the time of his car crash. Woods is 45 with a body that has endured so much already.

How much more can he endure?

The only hope, at his point, is that he’s able to walk again.

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Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic ejected for Flagrant 2 foul in Game 4 vs. Suns

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When was Nikola Jokic drafted? How the Nuggets landed the future MVP in a draft day steal

Nikola Jokic’s MVP season may have ended a few minutes earlier than the rest of his Nuggets teammates Sunday night.

The big man was ejected from Game 4 of Denver’s playoff series with Phoenix for a Flagrant 2 foul with 3:52 remaining in the third quarter. Jokic hit Cameron Payne across the face while trying to swat the ball out of Payne’s hands.

MORE: CP3 egged on refs to T up Jokic in Game 3

Officials determined that Jokic met the criteria for a Flagrant 2, deeming the contact “unnecessary and excessive.” The action consisted of “windup, impact and follow-through.”

Before learning his fate, Jokic went nose to nose with Suns guard Devin Booker, who was assessed a technical foul for the encounter. Jokic exited after scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

Denver trailed 83-75 at the time as it tried to stave off a sweep attempt by Phoenix in the Western Conference semifinals.

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Islanders vs. Lightning: Three takeaways from New York’s Game 1 win

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Islanders vs. Lightning: Three takeaways from New York's Game 1 win

It has been a long time since the Islanders and Lightning have faced off in any kind of game, let alone a postseason clash. To be exact, it has been 265 days. That was when they met in the 2020 Eastern Conference finals. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, they did not go toe-to-toe in the regular season this year.

And while the score was exactly the same as the final in Game 6 of last year’s battle, the result was different in Game 1 of the 2021 Stanley Cup semifinal series. In this one, the Islanders were the victorious squad, skating away with a 2-1 win.

Here are three takeaways from New York’s Game 1 win:

Mat Barzal delivered

As mentioned in Sporting News’ series preview, Barzal’s play is critical to getting New York into the Stanley Cup Final. The Isles need him to be at his best. He struggled at the start of the playoffs, collecting just three points against the Penguins and going goalless in his first eight games. Then, he flipped the switch and has had six points — three of them goals — in the last six games.

Barzal continued to roll Sunday. He notched the critical first goal with an outracing-the-defender, net-crashing, five-hole effort. After receiving a stretch pass from Josh Bailey, he got past 2021 Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman and buried the puck behind netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy.

“I’d say it’s more so, just, I’m actually putting the puck in the net,” Barzal said when asked what has changed in the last few games. “I think my chances throughout the whole season, in the playoffs, are always there. It’s just a matter of beating a goalie. . . . This is the playoffs, so sometimes, in some games we’ve played, I don’t need to get the fifth goal in when we’re up 4-1. So, it’s just a matter of trying to be there for the boys when they need me and just doing the right things.”

Tampa Bay’s power play is lethal

The Lightning entered the semis with a 41.7 percent effectiveness on the power play. 

“Anytime you play a team like Tampa or Boston or anyone with a lethal power play, you don’t want to be in the box all night, ’cause that’s just, you’re just asking for a loss,” Barzal noted.

New York did a good job of playing a hard game while not taking too many penalties — one in the last minute of the middle frame (interference on Kyle Palmieri) that it killed off, and a high-sticking by Brock Nelson with 98 seconds left. Brayden Point did get the Lightning’s lone tally on that last man advantage, which was effectively a 6-on-4 with Vasilevskiy pulled. 

After going 1 for 2 on the power play, the Lightning are now at 42.1 effectiveness. Needless to say, the Islanders need to remain disciplined. 

Game 2 will be interesting

It’s obvious that the Islanders walked into Amalie Arena with a game plan, and they executed it to perfection. Last year in the conference finals, they were blown out 8-2 in Game 1. Things were definitely not the same in this year’s opener. 

“No. 1 is just managing a puck,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said when asked what the keys were Sunday. “Two, we were disciplined. Three, we didn’t take a lot of risk, unnecessary risk. . . . I thought we made pretty good decisions.”

On the Lightning’s bench, Jon Cooper was anything but happy with his team’s decision-making. 

“Our work ethic was there, our compete was there, our minds weren’t there,” he said. “Some of our decisions were poor. That’s what happens when you get this deep into the playoffs. There are only four teams left and you have to have everything working in unison. We just weren’t quite there tonight.”

New York did a good job of keeping the Lightning away from the front of the net as goalie Semyon Varlamov only faced three high-danger shots at 5v5 and stopped 8 of 9 overall (per Natural Stat Trick). Varlamov made 30 saves while Vasilevskiy turned aside 29 shots.

There’s nothing more the Islanders would like than going wheels up back to New York with a 2-0 series lead, but there’s a reason the Lightning are the defending Cup champions. While this may be the first time it has trailed in a series in 2021, Tampa Bay has a skilled squad that will not go quietly into the night.

“We knew it was going to be extremely tough,” captain Steven Stamkos said. “We’ve been in this position before, so there’s definitely no panic in this room. But we do realize that it’s going to be an extremely tight series and we just have to expect that going forward.”

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Glen Davis implies Kyrie Irving’s ankle injury a result of Celtics basketball karma

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Glen Davis implies Kyrie Irving's ankle injury a result of Celtics basketball karma

Glen Davis clearly believes in basketball karma.

Nets guard Kyrie Irving exited Sunday’s playoff game vs. the Bucks after spraining his right ankle. Irving would later be ruled out of the game with the injury. The Nets would fall to the Bucks in Game 4 107-96, sending the Eastern Conference semifinal series back to Barclays Center even at 2-2. 

Davis, a member of the Celtics’ 2008 championship-winning squad, had some thoughts on the injury. In an Instagram reply, Davis seemed to imply that it was a result of basketball karma after Irving stomped on Boston’s center court logo earlier in the playoffs.

“Karma is real. Energy is real no matter what you guys say,” Davis said in another IG comment. “That logo means something negative or positive. Ky wished that on hisself (sic). Energy is real, always have respect for other no matter if its (sic) a logo are (sic) not.”

MORE: Kyrie crossover sends Thanasis into another galaxy 

After the Nets’ Game 4 victory over the Celtics in the first round, Irving greeted teammates at center court and stomped on the drawing of Lucky the Leprechaun, the team’s mascot. A fan was ejected from TD Garden, arrested and charged with felony assault for allegedly throwing a water bottle at Irving following the stomp.

Davis’ comments are pretty baseless, all things considered. Karma isn’t a tangible effect, after all. What is tangible is that the Nets and Bucks head back to Brooklyn with the series tied and both Irving and James Harden’s status for Game 5 uncertain.

By the way, it wasn’t the same ankle that stomped on Lucky, just to fact check. That was Irving’s left one. The injury was to Irving’s right one.

Think before you comment, folks.

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