Cal­i­for­nia wild­fires force prac­tice changes for Rams, 49ers, Raiders

The Maui News - - SPORTS - The As­so­ci­ated Press

NFL mon­i­tor­ing sit­u­a­tion with games set for Sun­day, Mon­day

The Los An­ge­les Rams can­celed prac­tice Fri­day af­ter a wild­fire forced about 20 play­ers and coaches to evac­u­ate their homes.

The Rams (8-1) will cram their nor­mal Fri­day prepa­ra­tions into a work­out at the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia to­day be­fore they face the Seat­tle Sea­hawks at the Coli­seum on Sun­day.

Just one day af­ter the Rams were stunned by a mass shoot­ing less than five miles from their train­ing com­plex in Thou­sand Oaks, they were forced to make big changes in their nor­mal game-week rou­tine by two wild­fires burn­ing in Ven­tura and Los An­ge­les coun­ties.

“I don’t think any­body’s house has been specif­i­cally af­fected, but they did have to leave the areas,” coach Sean McVay said. “It’s still a scary thing, and ex­tremely un­for­tu­nate that they had to go through this. … We just felt like the most im­por­tant thing was for peo­ple to be with their fam­i­lies.”

About 45 Rams em­ploy­ees were evac­u­ated from neigh­bor­hoods south of the Rams’ train­ing com­plex, al­though McVay doesn’t be­lieve any homes have been lost. Those forced to leave their homes Fri­day in­cluded de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Wade Phillips and de­fen­sive line coach Bill John­son.

Some of the evac­uees moved early into the down­town ho­tel used by the Rams on the night be­fore games. McVay will hold morn­ing meet­ings at the ho­tel to­day, fol­lowed by a prac­tice at USC.

The San Fran­cisco 49ers and Oak­land Raiders al­tered their prac­tice sched­ules Fri­day, as well, due to the wild­fire.

With the air qual­ity rated at lev­els con­sid­ered un­healthy, the 49ers worked out ear­lier so they could get off the field be­fore con­di­tions wors­ened.

The team has been in con­tact with NFL of­fi­cials to keep them up­dated about the sit­u­a­tion, 49ers spokesman Bob Lange said. The 49ers don’t play un­til Mon­day, when they host the New York Gi­ants.

The NFL is also mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion in nearby Oak­land, where the Raiders are sched­uled to host the Los An­ge­les Charg­ers on Sun­day af­ter­noon. The Raiders changed their Fri­day prac­tice to a walk­through in­stead of a full prac­tice as a pre­cau­tion.

Coach Jon Gru­den said he didn’t know if the poor air qual­ity would force any change to the game sched­ule.

“I hope that the fires go away,” he said. “I’m more con­cerned about a lot of peo­ple that are be­ing im­pacted by this. We’ll re­act to what­ever the cir­cum­stances are, what­ever hap­pens. I just hope this ends fast.”

JAGUARS: Jack­sonville run­ning back Leonard Four­nette is good to go for Sun­day’s game at In­di­anapo­lis.

Four­nette prac­ticed with­out any lim­i­ta­tions or set­backs all week, prompt­ing coach Doug Mar­rone to de­clare him “com­pletely healthy” for the first time since Week 4.

The fourth over­all pick in the 2017 NFL draft missed the last four games and six of eight this sea­son be­cause of a strained right ham­string.

Four­nette has 20 car­ries for 71 yards with no touch­downs. He ran for 1,040 yards and nine touch­downs in 13 games in 2017.

BEARS: The Chicago Bears are get­ting Khalil Mack back for their game Sun­day against the Detroit Li­ons.

Asked if he would be 100 per­cent healthy or hin­dered by the sprained right an­kle he suf­fered Oct. 14, the star pass rusher smiled on Fri­day, but hedged.

“You want me to give up ev­ery­thing?” Mack said. “When I get there, I’m go­ing to try to be my­self.”

If that means 100 per­cent healthy, it could be a prob­lem for Li­ons quar­ter­back Matthew Stafford — es­pe­cially af­ter the Li­ons gave up 10 sacks to the Min­nesota Vik­ings last week.

Mack has been out two weeks but prac­ticed Fri­day to com­plete three straight days of full work. He is not listed on Chicago’s in­jury re­port and is ex­pected to play.

CHIEFS: The Kansas City Chiefs could be get­ting some much-needed help for their ail­ing, leaky de­fense when linebacker Justin Hous­ton and safety Daniel Sorensen are ex­pected to play against the Ari­zona Car­di­nals on Sun­day.

Hous­ton has missed four straight games af­ter hurt­ing his ham­string, while Sorensen was added to the ac­tive ros­ter this week af­ter land­ing on in­jured re­serve in train­ing camp with a bro­ken leg.

Wide re­ceiver Sammy Watkins prac­ticed Fri­day for the first time this week af­ter deal­ing with a foot in­jury, while Cam Erv­ing was back on the field af­ter deal­ing with an ill­ness.

AP photo

Pan­thers quar­ter­back Cam New­ton col­lects him­self af­ter fum­bling the ball af­ter be­ing hit dur­ing the first half of Carolina’s 52-21 loss to the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers on Thurs­day.

AP file photo

Khalil Mack has been out two weeks, but is ex­pected to play Sun­day when the Bears host the Li­ons.

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