Colorado Rockies pitcher John Axford has had a rough Spring Training after his 2-year-old son was bitten twice by a rattlesnake. The boy has been in a tense battle for the past week, and while his right foot has been saved from amputation, it remains possible that one of his toes will be removed.

Axford, meanwhile, is missing Spring Training to deal with the difficult recovery. The team has picked up his option and he's considered safe to make the team's regular-season roster, but the personal battle continues.

The Denver Post reports that Axford had just finished pitching in a Spring Training game when he received a call about his son's accident. At the time, his son was being rushed to a nearby hospital and was in critical condition.

"It was sheer panic," Axford told the Post. "Things got very bad, very quickly."

By the time Axford arrived at the hospital, his son had received anti-venom medication. Although he stabilized, complications developed: His foot swelled, then began to blister, and black spots develops. To save the foot from amputation, doctors had to scrub dead tissue from the boy's foot on a daily basis until the following Tuesday -- a very painful process.

Axford doesn't know when he will return to the team -- he and his wife are vigilantly watching their son's progress, hoping his entire foot will recover and that their son's health will be preserved.

Although the circumstances of the snakebite aren't entirely known, it is suspected that the 2-year-old stepped on a baby rattlesnake in the backyard of Axford's Scottsdale rental.

No, LeBron James isn't best friends with Kevin Love. And yes, that's perfectly OK.

As media and fans try to split hairs over the uncertain chemistry between James and his new Cleveland Cavaliers teammate, LeBron isn't making any bones about it: They aren't best friends.

But that's not a diss.

"First of all, I’ve got three very good friends in this league, and that’s Carmelo [Anthony], and that’s C.P. [Chris Paul], and that’s D-Wade," James said, according to Cleveland.com. "And after that I have a bunch of teammates. I have guys I ride for every day."

James' comments were partially in response to Love saying that he and James weren't best friends. In that case, too, Love downplayed the implications of that non-friendship, saying that they got along as teammates.

James agrees that the friendship component of their relationship doesn't determine their on-court success.

"Kyrie [Irving] is a guy I understand how important he is to this team, how important he is," James said. "And the same with [Kevin] as well."

Earlier this month, Love said that his former UCLA teammate and current Oklahoma City Thunder star, Russell Westbrook, would be his pick for MVP. That rubbed some observers the wrong way, who saw it as a slight that he didn't pick his own teammate in James.

Again, James shrugged off those comments and said he didn't take them personally. And while it's true that their personal relationship has nothing to do with their on-court success and title aspirations, one can't help but wonder what it says about the long-term stability of the current Cavs roster.

Then again, James did ditch his self-proclaimed best friend this summer when he left Miami and Wade to play in Cleveland. Maybe it really is all about basketball.

Every spring the University of North Dakota manages to grab national attention when its hockey team rises to the top as one of the best programs in the country.

In this year's college playoffs, UND is ranked No. 2, with a great shot at winning another national championship. The spotlight that shines down on the hockey powerhouse also illuminates another North Dakota oddity:

The school's sports programs do not have a mascot.

First, a little background: For decades, North Dakota's mascot was the Fighting Sioux. Three years ago, a battle of deeply invested sides -- groups heavily in favor of removing the mascot, and others insisting that it stay -- was finally ended when the state's Board of Education put the Fighting Sioux mascot to death.

For many UND supporters, the mascot's removal was an emotional issue, and one difficult to come to terms with. that resulted in the current situation: People who loved the Fighting Sioux mascot didn't want it replaced.

And so, three years later, no successor has been named.

But, as The Wall Street Journal reports, the school's "cooling-off period" to select a new one has come to an end.

The school has announced that nominations for new mascots will be accepted through April, and a vote of the top candidates will be held in May. If all goes according to a plan, the school will have a new mascot.

Among the possibilities, according to the WSJ, include "Roughriders" in honor of Teddy Roosevelt; "Nodaks," as a tribute to residents of the state; "Pilots," due to North Dakota's prominent aviation and aerospace programs; and "Flames," which refers to an eternal flame burning on campus.

That will resolve the issue of operating without a mascot. But the controversy over doing away with the "Fighting Sioux" continues to linger, despite the passing of time. Dave Berger, who runs the North Dakota sports website SiouxSports.com, said that many fans would prefer not to insert a new mascot, although the school likely won't make that an option.

Berger told the WSJ the challenge will be choosing a mascot that is evocative of the state, prideful and original.

"We don’t want to be just another animal or weather event," he said.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is getting married this weekend to Kelly Hall. Perhaps wisely, Stafford has steered clear of providing too much input into the wedding planning. This is a case where less can definitely be more.

Meanwhile the wedding gifts have started to arrive for the couple, who met in college at Georgia where Kelly was a cheerleader. Lions tight end Eric Ebron sent customized Air Jordans:


Tom Coughlin, the NFL's oldest coach, showed his age this week at the league's meetings in Arizona.

The 68-year-old revealed his knowledge of cell phones to a group of reporters, and it is "lacking" to say the least.

In an anecdote detailing his journey to his grandson's roller hockey game, Coughlin opened up about his profound distrust in Siri.

"Two weeks ago I'm trying to get to a roller hockey game that my grandson is playing in, so Marc Ross [the Giants' director of college scouting] had showed me how to talk to this phone," Coughlin told reporters. "I don't trust the lady in GPS, I don't trust her, because they don't send you the right way. I hit the button and I go 'Park Ridge, New Jersey.' And she comes back on, she's giving me directions.

"So now I figure out where I am. I hit the thing and I said, 'Thank you very much, I know exactly where I am now.' And she comes back and says, 'You don't have to thank me.' I swear to God that's what she said. And then I couldn't get her to shut up. Every turn. 'Take a right here.' I know where I am. I know where I am. I'm a block away from my house and she's telling me where to go. I said, 'I know where I'm going.'"

This almost sounds like a modern day version of "Who's on First?" Fortunately for Coughlin, he made it to his destination safely.

Coughlin said he uses his phone mainly for calls and texts, and if he has any questions his 11-year-old grandson and 11-year-old granddaughter are happy to help.

When asked, Coughlin espoused his theory as to why the younger generation is so adept at technology.

"When I was raised it was 'Don't touch that,' 'Don't break that,' 'Don't you dare,'" Coughlin said. "These guys, they have no fear of these things. They just go and they do it. They're probably reinforced by people saying, 'You can't hurt it.' I could hurt it. I defy all odds."

In an otherwise forgettable season, the Los Angeles Lakers will at least have a few moments to remember.

In December Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan for third on the NBA's all-time scoring list. And this week the Lakers were again a part of history.

On Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers fielded Jeremy Lin and Jordan Clarkson, the NBA's first all Asian-American starting backcourt.


Lin is Chinese (his parents immigrated from Taiwan), and Clarkson is half Filipino.

Clarkson scored 30 points while recording seven assists and four rebounds. Lin went for 19 points, seven assists and two boards.

Here are the guards' highlights from Tuesday:

After the game, which the Lakers lost 127-117, Lin sent out this photo.


After coming off the bench since December, Lin will likely start for the Lakers for the final 13 games of the season.

"I think we'll be able to help each other," Lin told the LA Times of playing with Clarkson. "I don't necessarily always see it as you're the point guard, I'm the shooting guard. ... It's a tandem."

Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky has a rather unusual namesake: Frank The Tank, a character played by Will Ferrell in the movie Old School. Yes, it's somewhat strange to see a university embrace a student-athlete's nickname inspired by a beer-chugging, frat-frenzied late-night streaker, but Ferrell's character has become the stuff of legend, not unlike Kaminsky himself.

How perfect, then, that the University of Wisconsin and Access Hollywood were able to wrangle a meeting between the two Franks. Ferrell, who was receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, gave his time to meet Kaminsky and give an interview for the TV program:



Perhaps the most impressive thing about this meeting is how tiny the 6-foot-3 Ferrell looks when propped up next to a college basketball star.

Ferrell was also joined by friend John C. Reilly, who has starred with Ferrell in several movies, including "Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby" and "Step Brothers."

It's pretty clear from his Instagram and relentless dropping of Ferrell quotes that Kaminsky is a big fan.


Kaminsky now turns his attention back to basketball, where his Badgers will play this weekend with trips to the Elite Eight and Final Four on the line.

In 2012, then-Xavier basketball player Dez Wells was kicked out of school after he was accused of rape. A settlement in the case was reached, and Wells has maintained his innocence ever since.

That did not stop Jenna and Jacque Huggins from launching a full-scale assault on him Sunday, when Wells -- who now plays for Maryland -- faced a West Virginia team coached by their father, Bob Huggins. According to numerous reports from the game, the two women were very vocal in heckling Wells over his checkered past, calling him a rapist at every opportunity.

They also continued their criticisms on Twitter:

While it might have the initial appearance of social activism or issue awareness, Jenna and Jacque Huggins put on a rather crass, undignified display that seemed more motivated by their Mountaineers support than any genuine concern they might have harbored. As their antics started to get more attention, the women grew more hostile and combative:

This isn't the first time Huggins' daughters have inserted their opinions into basketball matters. Jenna Huggins called Xavier's basketball team "bitches" after an on-court brawl in a game against Cincinnati, her father's former team -- and a school that both profess pride for.

Also, they don't care at all that the media are reporting their story -- or so they say. Here's their response to one Twitter user pointing out the coverage they're getting:

Classy.

So it's safe to write them off as obnoxious homers with what is likely a very large sense of entitlement. Jenna Huggins even has a job at West Virginia as a Program Assistant for the school's business office, an appointment in which her father's prominent campus status surely played no role.

But there is one sign of regret coming from the Huggins women: Jenna has deactivated her Twitter account, while Jacque has made hers private.

Social media is great for letting fans get a peek into the personal lives of celebrities, but a recent Instagram photo from LeBron James again prompts the question: How much is too much? Of course, different people have different standards.

What's your stance on LeBron providing a look at his molars while he's seated in the chair with various dental instruments in his mouth? Is it a cool moment that parents can use with their kids? See even LeBron has to go to the dentist. Or is this just classic TMI? So, LeBron, how often do you floss? Can we see that next?


So is this why folks say they hate Monday's!!???

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

In the course of hosting a daily radio show and facing the pressure to keep the airwaves hot with your half-baked opinions, the inevitable sometimes happens: You say something you shouldn't.

That's happened to almost every sports radio personality who has been in the industry long enough. So it's hard to be surprised at hearing Colin Cowherd make a poor choice of phrasing involving race.

On his ESPN radio show Friday, Cowherd was discussing the hypothetical seedings of all 50 states. Oregon's slotting as a No. 14 seed shocked and confused him.

Cowherd points to a number of reasons why Oregon deserves a much higher seed in the bracket:

"How about wonderful people, mostly white, that drink lots of beer and wine," Cowherd says. "Don’t screw with Oregon. First of all, great city, Portland, as I’ve told half this company, most underrated city in America. It’s the French Riviera from Fourth of July to October. Perfect weather. Great people. NBA team. Seahawks up the road. Unbelievable wine. The coast. Oregon’s like a four-seed. Oregon’s really nice."

In today's age, that comment about "mostly white" was more than enough kindling to start a social media firestorm. Cowherd caught on to the reaction pretty quickly, and he used the airwaves to issue and apology and an explanation:

According to ForTheWin, ESPN reviewed the comments and understood their context: tongue-in-cheek, if a little tone-deaf. Cowherd doesn't appear likely to face any punishment, but don't expect that to quiet his online critics.

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