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  • December 15, 2017 11:34 PM GMT

    DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk has already come back from one ruptured Achilles tendon.Now hes doing it again -- and faster than before.Less than six months after he was hurt during an offseason workout, Sirk is aiming to be back on the field next month when the Blue Devils begin preseason camp.I just dont want to be back just to say that Im back, Sirk said in an interview with The Associated Press. I want to be even better than I was before. It wouldnt do me any good or the team any good to say, `Hey, Thomas Sirk is back. I want to come back and help our team win in every game.Sirks recovery will likely be a topic of discussion Thursday during the Atlantic Coast Conferences media days in Charlotte. Coach David Cutcliffe said this week that hell have a better idea of Sirks availability in the next couple of weeks -- Duke begins Aug. 8 -- but that Sirks work ethic during his rehab process left a strong impression on him.I dont ever go into the facility and not see him working, Cutcliffe said.Sirk is a rising redshirt senior who in his first season as Dukes starter led the Blue Devils to their first bowl victory since 1961, an overtime win over Indiana in last years Pinstripe Bowl in which he earned co-MVP honors after rushing for two touchdowns and throwing for another. He passed for 2,625 yards with 16 TDs last season and also led the team in rushing with 803 yards and eight scores.Then came a seemingly benign conditioning session with his teammates on Feb. 9. He started to run a 10-yard sprint and heard his left heel pop. It was the same sound he heard from his right heel in April 2013 -- when he ruptured that Achilles tendon and missed that entire season.I just kind of accepted it at that point -- here comes the rehab process, Sirk said. I knew that I did it once, I can do it again and come back from it.To many outside the team, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Sirk wouldnt play in 2016, and the first-team reps during the spring game went to Parker Boehme.But the Blue Devils werent so pessimistic. Cutcliffe said during spring practice that Thomas may be ready, just so everybody knows while mentioning his rehab was ahead of schedule, and it was Sirk who was listed atop the post-spring depth chart.For Sirk, some of the lessons from his first comeback helped to accelerate the process this time around, he said.Its kind of sped up as far as what Im doing, and now I feel like Im reaching the goals that I had last time for my Achilles faster, and Im reaching them at 100 percent, Sirk said. Im not just reaching them to say that Ive reached them. You dont want to be too ambitious, but at the same time youve got to have faith in the process.The worst of the exercises, he said, were calf presses because its kind of disheartening when you cant lift up on one side as well as you can the other side but that hes regaining the muscle definition in his left calf.He said hes been throwing five days a week with his receivers to keep his timing, touch and coordination, even if sometimes those throws have been while hes on his knees. And hes jogging both on land and on an underwater treadmill, working toward his goal of running full speed.Ultimately, he wants to help Duke reach -- and win -- an ACC championship game after the injury during his redshirt freshman year kept him sidelined during the Blue Devils run to the Coastal Division title in 2013.It means everything to me, coming back for my senior year and being there with the guys I came in with and finishing what we started, Sirk said. We want to win an ACC championship. I think we have that caliber of talent on our team. ... I feel like I still have unfinished business and I want to make my senior year the best I can for myself and my team. Cheap MLB Jerseys . U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield in Manhattan agreed that lawyers on both sides could make their formal requests by Nov. 8. A hearing is scheduled for a day earlier. 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The Hall of Fame defenceman told Landsberg that he believes fighting still has a place in todays game, but thinks staged fighting needs be outlawed.NEWARK – With some uncertainty at the position, Dave Nonis took steps to address the Leafs strength down the middle, both now and in the future. Nonis sprung to acquire Game 6 hero Dave Bolland from Chicago on draft day, also selecting 6-foot-5 Rimouski pivot Frederik Gauthier with the 21st overall pick. The moves work to address a position of instability within the organization, most immediately with the acquisition of Bolland, a 27-year-old Toronto native who won his second Cup with the Hawks earlier this week.  “It doesnt mean that were not [stilll] looking to try to shore up that area because from our standpoint, it still is an area of, I wouldnt say weakness, but were not incredibly deep down the middle and thats why it was important to get him,” said Nonis, minutes after the deal for Bolland was announced. Centre-ice had been, and still remains to some degree, a position of uncertainty. Tyler Bozak, the Leafs number one middleman in 2013, is on the verge of unrestricted free agency with the very real possibility looming that he moves elsewhere for more money than Toronto is willing to offer. With that in mind and some additional uncertainty in the contributions of Mikhail Grabovski and Nazem Kadri next season, Nonis looked for assurance in Bolland, who has one year remaining at a cap hit of $3.3 milion. “It wouldnt rule out signing Tyler at all,” Nonis said of Bozak, who is searching for a significant raise this summer. “If we can find a way of getting him signed then we will. Nothing has changed in that regard from our standpoint.” The injection of Bolland, the former London Knight, into a complement that already includes Grabovski, Kadri (restricted free agent) and Jay McClement, means the Leafs could theoretically be set down the middle for the fall; that is if Bozak departs and Nonis cannot land additional help through the trade or free agent markets. “Yeah, no question that was part of it,” Nonis concurred. “To make sure that we had some depth and we would be able to compete with the group that we had. We feel that if we get everybody signed and in, and now with David, wed be in a perfectly good position to start the season.” With Grabovski and Kadri (potentially) slotting in as the first and second line centres – in lieu of any other moves, which remain a real possibility – Bolland could line up in the all-important three-hole for Randy Carlyle, removing some pressure on Grabovski in defensive situations while injecting the potential for more offence than McClement may provide. Additionally, if Nonis and the Leafs opt to upgrade further down the middle, Bollands acquisition allows further flexibility to perhaps move someone else out or otherwise enjoy long-starved depth at the position. “He played behind some pretty good people [in Chicago] and I think Randy, he wont pigeon-hole him as a third-line centre,” Nonis said of Bolland, who dropped to the fourth line spot for the Hawks in the playoffs, behind the likes of Jonathan Toews, Michal Handzus and Marcus Kruger. “I think hell probably be put in maybe a more prominent role with us than he was in Chicago.” Formerly the head man in Anaheim, Carlyle had plenty of first-hand experience in the Western Conference with Bolland, who fits the gritty mold the Leafs coach seems prefers in his players. “I can tell you that Randy is very happy that we brought Dave Bolland in,” Nonis noted. “Hes the type of player that thrives under the way he coaches. And Randy moves people around the lineup and I think thats something that Dave Bolland has done throughout his career very effectively.” A force during the Hawks run to the Cup in 2010 – 16 points – Bolland was hhobbled by injuries throughout the 2013 season – he sat out 13 games – even missing the first five games of the playoffs with a groin issue.dddddddddddd Plugged further down the lineup than he had been in the past, Bolland totaled just a single point in series wins against Detroit and Los Angeles before breaking out with three goals and five points against the Bruins, including the Cup-clinching goal in Game 6. “I think its going to be great,” Bolland said of returning home to Toronto. “I think this is one team like the Blackhawks team thats coming up and is going to do great things – hopefully like we did [in Chicago].” Nonis said discussions with Chicago general manager Stan Bowman had been ongoing for quite some time, the Leafs general manager initiating the deal, which sent the 51st and 117th picks to the Hawks this year as well as a fourth rounder in 2014, shortly after the Cup had been awarded. Toronto now has 12 players under contract for the 2013-2014 campaign, still working on contracts for a restricted free agent class that includes Kadri, Cody Franson, Carl Gunnarsson, and newly acquired Jonathan Bernier. With upwards of $19 million available following the likely compliance buyout of Mike Komisarek, Nonis still has plenty of work ahead. “We think theres more things that we hope to do,” he stated, “whether we can accomplish those between now and September remains to be seen. But were going to try to remain active and see if theres more changes we can make.” In addition to Bolland, Nonis and his scouting staff looked to address the centre position long-term, settling on Gauthier with their first round pick, a big, defense-first centre from the Quebec league. Gauthier projects as a stable, low-risk option down the middle, a player who might line up in a shutdown role for the Leafs one day, though not anytime soon.  “Were pretty comfortable that he should round out to a second-line centre top-end, but at least a third line guy that can be very responsible,” Nonis said of Gauthier, who remains a work in progress offensively, nonetheless totaling 22 goals in his first season with the Oceanic. “Hes the type of player that you need to eat up minutes, a big-minute crunching centreman that right now we were lacking.” Of those “indicators” which suggest NHL potential, Dave Morrison, the Leafs head scout, pointed to Gauthiers size, defensive savvy, and ability to process the game. “We just think theres some upside,” Morrison told TSN.ca, also emphasizing Gauthiers competitiveness and skill on the draw, “how much offensively remains to be seen. But were hopeful. Hes still a young guy, a big body thats still growing, still growing into that body.” Nonis said he and his management team looked seriously at the prospect of moving up in Sundays draft, the price-point just too high to justify a move. “The assets to move up didnt make any sense,” he said. “The temptation to try to do something is always there. I think as you get closer to the draft the temptation actually even increases. You have to make sure you check yourself because its pretty easy to do some pretty significant damage by moving pieces out that you think are going to be long-term pieces of the puzzle. “Were there options? There was a couple of options, but they werent going to help the Toronto Maple Leafs, they were going to probably set us back.” The Leafs went on to select Carter Verhaeghe, an Ontario native and centre from the Niagara IceDogs, in the third round, adding Swiss forward Fabrice Herzog in the fifth, P.E.I. 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