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part-time cheerleader and coach is finally over.
CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irvings stint as part-time cheerleader and coach is finally over. Its time for the All-Star guard to get back on the court. Irving practiced with his Cavaliers teammates for the first time in two weeks Tuesday after missing eight games with a biceps injury. Irving took some contact during his first workout since straining a left biceps tendon March 16 against the Los Angeles Lakers. "I feel good," Irving said. "It was great to be back out there. It was definitely hard for me these last two weeks just sitting on the bench. But as always, if I go down, Im the biggest cheerleader. " Irving doesnt know yet if hell play Wednesday in Orlando, a key game in the Cavs playoff push. Hell take part in the shootaround and then consult with the medical staff. The third-year pro, who has missed 49 games because of injuries during his NBA career, said whether he plays is not entirely his call. "If Im ready to go, I see no reason to stop me," he said. "But obviously everyone has their reason, as we know in this business. Obviously, you have a respect for it, but as a basketball player and as a competitor, theres an inner drive to be back out there. Well see what happens." Irvings return comes as the Cavs enter their biggest games this season. While he was out, the team went 4-4 and climbed into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland trails Atlanta by three games for the No. 8 spot. After playing the Magic, the Cavs face the Hawks on Friday in Atlanta. "Im excited just to be a part of it every single day," Irving said. "When we talked at the beginning of the season, we said, Aw, we need to figure this out, we need to figure that out, but now, as Im watching the team, even late in games we get down 14, 16 with five minutes left to go in the game, and teams just cant score against us in that last five minutes. "Weve learned how to buckle down. Were finding ways to win and learning how to win. On the road -- or at home. Its fun to watch." Irving doesnt think his return will disrupt the clubs new chemistry. "These guys trust me and I trust them," he said. "Were all teammates. Ive been staying locked in with them since I got hurt, which has been really important for me, and really good for my growth." Cavs coach Mike Brown said Irving has contributed despite not playing. "A guy like Kyrie can be a game-changer even if hes not in uniform," Brown said. "Guys listen to him, guys respect him. If they see hes engaged, it makes the team that much more connected. Hes helped in that area, in that connectivity." Brown said Irvings playing time might be limited when he returns. More certain is that the Cavs on Wednesday night will be without forward Anderson Varejao, who sprained his shoulder Sunday against Indiana. Its not clear if hell miss more time. Rookie Anthony Bennett was excused from the team so he could return to Toronto because of a "family health matter." He will not be with the team in Orlando or Atlanta. Gary Payton Jersey .One day after winning her record 63rd World Cup race, Vonn posted to her Facebook account Tuesday that she was happy Woods surprised her by coming to the race, and that she felt terrible that his tooth got knocked out. Hamidou Diallo Jersey .5 million, two-year contract that runs through 2015. Venable, the son of former big leaguer Max Venable, will make $4. . Andrew Luck couldnt believe his ears. Colts fans couldnt believe the scoreboard, and the Kansas City Chiefs couldnt believe their incredibly bad luck. Cheap Swingman Thunder Jerseys . -- The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets will forever be tied together for making the same spectacular misjudgment on budding NBA sensation Jeremy Lin. Ray Allen Jersey . Granada goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez saved Morenos first two headers from corner kicks taken by Sergio Garcia, but the defender beat him on his third try after Garcia found Moreno unmarked at the near post in the 78th minute.SAN FRANCISCO - Madison Bumgarner sat in the outfield alongside Jake Peavy before Game 7 of the World Series and told his teammate exactly what needed to happen: Tim Hudson would work a few innings and get the ball to Bumgarner, who would hand it off to the bullpen to finish the championship.Peavy quickly offered his own prediction that Bumgarner would end it himself.Thats exactly what MadBum did, following up a pair of World Series wins with a save at Kansas City to close out San Franciscos third title in five years and cap a brilliant post-season that made him a household name — or, at the very least, a household nickname. He is the 2014 Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.I was sitting in the outfield with Madison and he was asking me how I thought this game was going to play out, Peavy recalled this month. I said to him: Madison, when you get the ball, youre not coming out of the game. Youre the best guy weve got. ... He said, Man, thats exactly what I hoped you would say and exactly what he wanted. He just needed some confirmation, somebody to believe in him as well. I said, Fight for that ball, man, and what he did will go down in the ages as the best ever.The shaggy-haired left-hander who takes as much pride in his pitching and durability as he does his deep North Carolina roots, Bumgarner became Octobers biggest star for a San Francisco club that really needed one during another improbable World Series run.Bumgarner finished first in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors. He beat out Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw — who won the National League Cy Young and MVP. Retiring New York Yankees star Derek Jeter and golfer Rory McIlroy tied for third place. The award was announced Tuesday.After months of the same questions about his well-tested left arm, Bumgarner made light of it all.He had just thrown 270 innings, including 21 with two wins and a save in a World Series that went the distance against the fellow wild-card Royals.I got a splinter in my finger the other day. That was kind of painful, Bumgarner quipped, sounding perfectly serious. Fortunately, it was on my right hand.Bruce Bochys 25-year-old workhorse has earned the managers trust that he will speak up if anything ever feels off with his arm. Otherwise, hes going to keep getting the ball.With that tricky cross-body, three-quarters delivery — resembling a sling shot — Bumgarner shows hitters the ball briefly with an outstretched arm before that rapid release and suddenly its right there leaving batters baffled.ddddddddddddOn two days rest in Game 7, that day he sat with Peavy in Kansas City, he pitched five scoreless innings of relief in a 3-2 win.Only after that would Bumgarner acknowledge he might need a mental and physical break at last after tossing a record 52 2-3 post-season innings.You know what? I cant lie to you anymore, he said. Im a little tired now.Pitching coach Dave Righetti began fielding inquiries before the World Series began about whether Bumgarner had the chance to make three appearances. He knew it could happen, though it wasnt exactly planned.You dont realize when youre in the middle of the eye, Wow, what this guys doing is so special, Righetti said. That really hasnt been done in years. ... When youve got a healthy guy whos on a roll, those are the kind of guys who change big series and do special things.The Giants locked up Bumgarner long-term in April 2012 on a $35.56 million, six-year contract through 2017. It could keep him in orange and black even longer, given the $12 million options for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. That almost seems like a bargain now given Bumgarners performance and star power on baseballs biggest stage.Bumgarner was MVP of the World Series and NL Championship Series, going 4-1 during the post-season following an 18-10 regular season.From his four-hit, 10-strikeout gem that got things started in an 8-0 wild-card win at Pittsburgh all the way through his brilliant relief outing in Game 7 of the World Series, Bumgarner dazzled like never before.He pitched a different game than we had seen from him earlier in the season, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle recalled recently. We had watched video and saw how much sharper he had gotten as the season played out. In the wild-card game he had command of all his pitches and lived on the edges the entire outing. He also used his fastball up in the zone with deadly accuracy.Bumgarner made the rounds on the post-Series appearance circuit, then took a break to attend a rodeo.Despite the heavy workload, Bumgarner will be eager for spring training come February.Everything feels great and were looking to just keep a normal off-season and a normal routine, Bumgarner said.It will hardly be normal given the attention and hype he is sure to generate after a spectacular 2014.I just love the way hes handled everything, all the attention, Righetti said. It looks like hes stayed the same. 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