Kawhi Leonard revealed Monday he is hoping to play for the Los Angeles Clippers this season, and those aspirations were a factor in signing a four-year deal to remain with his hometown team this off-season. 

Leonard suffered a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Game 4 of the Western Conference semi-finals against the Utah Jazz and had surgery July 13. 

A typical ACL return timetable would suggest Leonard is set to miss the entire upcoming season, but the 30-year-old was not willing to accept that as a given. 

That in turn led him to sign a four-year max extension worth more than $176million rather than take a one-year deal with a player option and opt out after this season to sign for five years. 

"I wanted to play," Leonard said at the team's pre-season media day. "I mean, the best situation for me to me was to do it one and one and then opt out and sign a long-term five-year deal, but there's a lot of concerns that that brings up for [the media] and your job and it creates storylines that I'm going to leave the team.

"One thing, I wanted to secure some money, and I wanted to be able to come back if I was able to this year. If I would have took the one and one, I probably would have not played [this season] just to be cautious and opted out and took a five-year.

"I'm here. I'm here to be a Clipper. I'm not going to another team unless something drastic happens, but I'm here for the long run."

Optimistic as he is about being able to play this season, Leonard declined to try and put a timetable on when that might occur. 

He said his focus is day to day, working with the Clippers' medical staff on whatever he needs to do to get back on the court while helping the team however he can in the meantime. 

"That's the challenge of it, just seeing how quickly I can get better and how much stronger I can get than what I was when I'm healthy," Leonard said. "That's where I pretty much turn my mindset to.

"Now just watching games as a coach, being in the coaches' meetings and trying to make myself relevant as possible."

The Clippers' head coach, Tyronn Lue, said the team will "let him take his time and continue to do his rehab" and adjust whenever Leonard is ready to return. 

"I hope he comes back October 21st, but the reality is he's not going to be ready then," Lue said. "We don't want to force him or put any pressure on him. We want to make sure he's rehabbing, doing everything he can to get back as soon as possible, and if that's next season, that's next season.

"We don't want to force him to come back too early. We want to make sure he's 100 per cent when he does come back."

After a 50-year gap between the franchise's first and second NBA titles, the Milwaukee Bucks plan on a much shorter wait for the third. 

That was the overall message Monday as the champions reconvened for the team's pre-season media day. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the charge for that mindset, looking forward rather than back at last season's triumph. 

"I'm not satisfied. I'm not even close to being satisfied," the Greek star told reporters. 

 "As the leader of this team, that's the tone I'm going to set. We understand that teams are coming for us, but we're going to be ready." 

While acknowledging that inevitable target on the team's back, Antetokounmpo sought to maintain the underdog mentality that drove the Bucks last season. 

"We know we were the 2021 NBA champs, but right now we're just the Milwaukee Bucks again that nobody believes in us," he said. "And nobody believes that we can do it again."

Their hopes of repeating will of course rest largely on Antetokounmpo's shoulders, and there were questions about his health Monday. 

He and head coach Mike Budenholzer indicated they will take it easy on the NBA Finals MVP, who is still recovering from the knee injury he suffered in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks. 

"I think Giannis’ health and Giannis being at 100 or as close to 100 per cent for as much of the season is important to us," Budenholzer told reporters.

"I think now is the time when you can err on the side [of caution]. We’re always on the side of caution but whatever the other side of that is and just get him strong and physically ready for an 82-game season and a playoff run.

"But it’s the whole group. I think there’s a real awareness that we need to be very conscientious of just trying to do things that make sense given where we are and coming off the season that we had."

Antetokounmpo is on board with that plan, emphasising that the playoffs were a time to play through pain, but the situation is different now. 

"I'm good to go," Antetokounmpo said. "But if I feel like I'm in pain again or whatever the case might be, I have to listen to my body. When you feel pain, it’s your body telling you that it’s protecting you, that you can’t go anymore.

"I've played through pain. I don't think now is the time to risk that. It's too early in the season."

The San Francisco Giants were off Monday but suffered a key loss, announcing X-rays had revealed a fracture in star first baseman Brandon Belt's left thumb.

Belt took a 93 mph fastball off his hand in the seventh inning of Sunday's game against the Colorado Rockies and immediately went to the ground in pain. 

The team did not provide a timetable for his potential return, saying he would meet with doctors over the next few days. 

Belt has been among the hottest hitters in the game in recent weeks, hitting .349 with a 1.172 OPS in September while hitting nine home runs. 

He leads the Giants with 29 homers despite missing nearly two months' worth of games in separate stints earlier this season due to a knee injury. 

The Giants have MLB's best record at 102-54 but remain locked in a struggle with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers (100-56) for the National League West title entering the final week of the regular season. 

If the Giants can maintain their edge, they will avoid having to play in the one-and-done wild card game to open the postseason. 

Losing Belt will make that a bit more difficult, and an extended absence would be a critical blow to a team that has found a way to win all season. 

The thought of playing more than half of their games without Andrew Wiggins is "not ideal" for the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry said Monday. 

The NBA announced Friday it had denied Wiggins' request for an exemption from COVID-19 vaccination requirements, and the forward's status was the prime topic of discussion at the team's pre-season media day. 

Beginning October 13, San Francisco will require vaccinations for all participants age 12 and older at large indoor events unless an exemption is granted for medical or religious reasons. 

Wiggins had sought one on medical grounds, but the NBA's denial means he will not be eligible to play in home games at Chase Center. 

Golden State star Curry, who has been an outspoken advocate of vaccinations, was asked whether he believes Wiggins' decision is acceptable as a member of a team. 

"Acceptable is a strong word," he said. "It's not ideal. ... We hope we have a full team for the entire year and understand that, on all accounts and what the research says and things like that, that [the vaccines are] safe and we're all in the same boat.

"So we hope he's available, and if not, we'll adjust accordingly. But we hope not."

Wiggins deflected numerous questions about the topic during his session with reporters Monday, repeatedly saying he was going to keep his thoughts on the matter "private". 

One reporter noted that Wiggins said last year he would get vaccinated if he had to in order to play and asked him if he felt like his back was against the wall in having to choose between his personal beliefs and being able to play. 

"Back is definitely against the wall," he said. "But just going to keep fighting for what I believe, whether it's one thing or another, get the vaccination or not get the vaccination, who knows.

"I'm just going to keep fighting for what I believe and what I believe is right. What's right to one person isn't right to the other." 

While controversy swirls around Wiggins, the men at the top of the organisation expressed the hope that the situation would be resolved by the time the regular season begins on October 19.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he has not reached the point of trying to figure out how to account for regular absences by unvaccinated players. 

"I haven't spent any time thinking about that, nor will I. We'll just see how everything plays out. We're hopeful that it is all resolved in the next couple of weeks but we are going into camp [Tuesday] with a plan to have everybody out on the floor and ready to roll."

General manager Bob Myers echoed that sentiment, saying he was not interested in discussing hypotheticals and is preparing to start the season with the full team available. 

"I get why people have to wonder," he said. "But we're going to deal in reality now and that's what we're doing each day."

Wiggins played 71 games last NBA season, averaging 18.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

Josh Gordon is set to begin his latest attempt at an NFL comeback with the Kansas City Chiefs. 

The receiver was reinstated Monday by the league after serving his sixth suspension for violating the NFL's policies on performance-enhancing substances and substances of abuse. 

Gordon said on Twitter he is joining the Chiefs, and multiple media outlets reported he was expected to start on the team's practice squad before being promoted to the active roster when he gets up to speed. 

The 30-year-old missed all of 2020 while under suspension and applied to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for reinstatement in July. 

It was the third full season Gordon has forfeited since entering the league with the Cleveland Browns in 2012. 

He was an All-Pro selection the next season after leading the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards, but that remains the high point in a career filled with lows. 

Gordon missed all but five games in 2014 due to league and team suspensions, then sat out all of 2015 and 2016 before returning for the final five games of the 2017 season. 

The Browns traded Gordon to the New England Patriots in September 2018, and he was claimed off waivers by the Seattle Seahawks in November 2019 but he has not been able to stay on the field consistently since his first year in New England. 

All told, Gordon has played in 63 NFL games across nine seasons and has made 247 receptions for 4,252 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Michael Porter Jr has agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Denver Nuggets that could pay him up to $207million.  

Porter's agents, Priority Sports, announced the agreement on social media on Monday. 

According to an ESPN report that was retweeted by the agency, Porter's extension will max out if he makes the All-NBA first, second or third team this season. If not, he will make $172m over the course of the deal.  

Porter has had recurring back problems that have limited him to 116 regular-season games over three NBA seasons, but the Nuggets apparently believed his production and potential were worth the risk. 

The 23-year-old averaged 19.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game last season – nearly doubling his average minutes from the prior season after sitting out all of 2018-19 following surgery.  

The hope is that he is just beginning to tap into his potential as a match-up nightmare who can shoot from anywhere on the floor.  

Porter has shot better than 40 per cent from three-point range in his first two NBA seasons (42.2 and 44.5). The only other active players to do that are Golden State's "Splash Brothers", Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.  

Porter is the fourth member of the 2018 NBA Draft class to reach a max extension this off-season, following Luka Doncic with the Dallas Mavericks, Trae Young with the Atlanta Hawks and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with the Oklahoma City Thunder.  

 

Benoit Paire is through to the second round of the Sofia Open following a 6-4 7-5 win over seventh seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. 

The Frenchman - ranked no. 49 in the world - marked his debut at the ATP 250 event by ending a three-match losing run, progressing after one hour and 37 minutes on court. 

Paire, who recorded five breaks of serve en route to victory, will be up against either James Duckworth or Emil Ruusuvuori next. 

"[I am] happy about the win," Paire said in his on-court interview. "It was not easy. Alejandro is a very good player, so I had to be focused on my game. 

"I had to serve well and do my best and that is what I did and I am very happy and proud of my game today.  

"I played well in the first game, it was good for my confidence. The most important thing is to stay on my game and stay focused. I was solid today so I am very happy." 

Also in Monday's action, Adrian Mannarino was another seed to suffer an early exit, going down in straight sets to Gianluca Mager. 

Miomir Kecmanovic came through a tight two-set contest to knock out Adrian Andreev, including taking the opener via a tie-break. 

Wimbledon champion and world number one Ash Barty has withdrawn from this month's Indian Wells Open. 

The Australian has not played since her surprise third-round defeat to Shelby Rogers at the US Open last month. 

Barty follows four-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka in pulling out of the California event, the final WTA 1000 tournament of the year. 

The 25-year-old had indicated after her defeat at Flushing Meadows that she planned to play at Indian Wells. 

Defending champion Bianca Andreescu heads a strong field, with world number two Aryna Sabalenka, Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova, French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, Olympic bronze medalist Elina Svitolina and last year's Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin all taking part. 

Three other previous winners – Simona Halep, Elena Vesnina and Victoria Azarenka – will also be present, along with teenager Leylah Fernandez, who reached the US Open final. 

Kim Clijsters saw her latest WTA Tour comeback ended by Hsieh Su-wei at the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic on Monday.

The four-time grand slam champion, playing in her first match of 2021, was defeated 6-3 5-7 6-3 in a contest lasting two hours and 18 minutes on Stadium Court.

Clijsters, who retired in 2012, made her return to the Tour last year, losing her three matches.

After knee surgery at the end of 2020 and having contracted COVID-19 this year, the 38-year-old at last made her first appearance of the season but was bested in a gruelling contest by Australian Open quarter-finalist Hsieh.

Speaking prior to her return in Chicago, Clijsters spoke of how she was drawing inspiration from Andy Murray, who continues on the ATP circuit despite two major hip surgeries.

"Seeing Andy Murray and the way he speaks about his comeback and everything, it's so motivating and it gives you a lot of energy too," she said. "To see him go through the things he's gone through and be open about the challenges of it and the belief that he has, I feel like it's something I can relate to."

Seeds Jessia Pagula, Danielle Collins and Veronika Kudermetova all progressed in Chicago on Monday, although home favourite Madison Keys had to retire from her match with Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy has stated that all three of his quarterbacks - Justin Fields, Andy Dalton and Nick Foles - are in contention to start against the Detroit Lions. 

Veteran Dalton missed the 26-6 defeat to the Cleveland Browns bn Sunday due to a knee injury suffered in the Week 2 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, while rookie Justin Fields is a doubt with a hand issue, meaning Foles could get the nod if neither recovers in time. 

Nagy revealed that an X-ray on Fields' injury came back negative, while Dalton is being assessed on a week-by-week basis. 

"They're all under consideration right now in regard to where they're at," Nagy said when speaking to the media on Monday.  

"We'll just have to see the next couple days where they're all at. 

"We know where Nick [is] at, health-wise, but we just want to keep an eye on Justin and Andy and for us to just stay on that and make sure that we have a plan for any of those." 

The Bears have started the season poorly, dropping to 1-2 following the heavy defeat to the Browns in which they managed just 47 total yards of offense. They have also scored just 40 points through three games. 

Fields underwhelmed after replacing Dalton against the Bengals and did not improve against the Browns, completing just six of his 20 pass attempts for 68 yards while taking nine sacks. 

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has been released from hospital and is expected to return to work on Monday or Tuesday.

On Sunday, the Chiefs said Reid left Arrowhead Stadium in an ambulance following their 30-24 defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers having felt ill.

He was taken to The University of Kansas Health System for further evaluation.

In an update on Monday, the Chiefs said Reid was in "great spirits" and "doing well" after being released.

Taking Reid's Monday media conference, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said: "The most important thing is coach Reid, so we're glad that he's feeling better."

Kansas City's loss dropped them to 1-2, their first losing record since the 2015 season.

The Chiefs will attempt to bounce back in Week 4 on Sunday when they visit Reid's former team the Philadelphia Eagles.

'It's too early to talk about the MVP!', you might think when the NFL's most prestigious individual award is brought up in discussion in September.  

On the surface, that is reasonable logic three weeks into an extended 17-week season. There are many twists and turns to come that will ultimately decide the identity of this year's Most Valuable Player.  

Yet the reality is that talk of who is most deserving of the game's top solo prize plays a critical role in forming the narrative of a season.  

Conversation over which quarterback – sorry, Aaron Donald – is most deserving of the award at certain points of the campaign and what impressive performance does for a player's hopes consistently captures attention and creates heated debate, regardless of whether we think such talk is premature.  

By the end of last year, Aaron Rodgers had rendered any suggestion of alternative candidates pointless with a stunning 2020 season for the Green Bay Packers.  

While Rodgers did his prospects of retaining the award no harm by making 37 seconds seem like an eternity in the Packers' last-gasp win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, the opening stages of the season suggest he will have intense competition.  

And perhaps his biggest threat plays his home games several hours south of Levi's Stadium, where Rodgers unsurprisingly was the leading man in the theatre the Packers and Niners produced in primetime.  

Indeed, long before Mason Crosby was sending a 51-yard field goal into the Northern California night to settle a fierce NFC battle, Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers took a similarly dramatic AFC contest off the leg of their kicker, with Brandon Staley's faith in Herbert and the passing game rewarded with a win that alters the complexion of the playoff race.  

Herbert's four-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams, the second time in the game he hooked up with the former Clemson star, sealed a 30-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs that solidified the Chargers' status as a threat to the two-time defending AFC champions, who dropped to a losing record for the first time since 2015.  

It was just reward for a display in which Herbert furthered his MVP credentials, the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year outshining Patrick Mahomes on a day where the man most regard as the game's most talented and most explosive quarterback made history. 

Herbert joins exclusive club

By throwing for 260 passing yards, Mahomes took his career tally to 15,092, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to reach 15,000 in 50 games or fewer, doing so in his 49th appearance. 

Herbert is not quite on the same pace, averaging 294 passing yards a game through the 18 he has played so far in his still embryonic career. Last year's sixth overall pick is on track to reach 15,000 in 51 games. 

But he outshone the 2018 MVP in Week 3, finishing with 281 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions while Mahomes threw for three scores but with two picks, including one with the game tied that set the Chargers up to go for the game-winning score. 

His performance saw Herbert become the fifth player in the Super Bowl era to record five games with at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions in his first two seasons. 

Herbert joins Lamar Jackson (six), Dan Marino (six), Mahomes (five) and Dak Prescott (five) on that list. Three of the other four members of that exclusive club have all won the MVP. 

Fourth in passing yards with 956 but 17th in yards per attempt (7.59), tied-10th in touchdowns (six) and 18th in passer rating (97.9), the raw numbers do not fully support the argument that Herbert is a candidate to join Jackson, Marino and Mahomes this season. 

However, an understanding of why Herbert deserves to be firmly in the mix through three games requires a deeper look at his statistics and an examination of the high-level throws he is making look ridiculously routine.

Unerring accuracy

Herbert finished Week 3 with a well-thrown ball percentage of 91.7. Only one quarterback, Kirk Cousins (91.9), to attempt more than one pass was superior in that regard going into Monday Night Football. 

He did much of his best work when under pressure too, delivering a perfectly thrown jump pass to Keenan Allen for Los Angeles' opening touchdown with defensive tackle Khalen Saunders in his face, and putting a pass down the right sideline to where only Williams could get it, the duo connecting for the first of two fourth-quarter scores despite Chris Jones screaming off the edge. 

More exquisite placement came on the decisive drive, Herbert finding Williams on a lofted back-shoulder throw to put the Chargers close, a pass he delivered with his weight falling away from it. He then hit the same receiver for the game-winner. 

Those plays will be the ones most remember from Herbert's contribution to an engrossing encounter that ended with a failed Hail Mary from Mahomes, the Chargers having inexplicably left him with over half a minute to produce a reply. 

Yet just as impressive from Herbert were the plays that came up short, including a second-quarter missile from his own 45-yard line - one he uncorked after escaping pressure and rolling left - which was broken up in the endzone to prevent Jalen Guyton hauling in a spectacular touchdown, but that incompletion served as yet more evidence of Herbert's near-boundless ceiling. 

The first three games of the year have seen Herbert consistently demonstrate that upside. His well-throw percentage of 84.4 is fifth in the NFL to attempt multiple passes, with Kyler Murray (84.5) the only player to have averaged seven or more air yards standing above him on the list. 

While Murray provides a greater running threat than Herbert, the Chargers' signal-caller has done a superior job of taking care of the ball. He has thrown an interceptable ball on 2.46 per cent of passes, compared to 4.12 per cent for Murray. 

Though Murray has one more win than Herbert this season, he does not yet have the signature moment the former Oregon man produced at Arrowhead. 

Kyler playing catch up

With already 1,005 passing yards to his name to go with seven touchdowns and a further three scores on the ground, Murray is building a strong case of his own for MVP. 

Yet wins over the Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars are unlikely to move the needle to the extent that Herbert's victory over Mahomes should. 

Murray's MVP stock could receive a bump when the Cardinals face fellow unbeaten division rivals the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4. However, for now, he is playing catch-up to Herbert in terms of a potential season-defining win that permeates the consciousness of the wider NFL public. 

Anybody who has taken even a passing interest in a Chargers franchise known in recent years for letting opportunities slip through their grasp should recognise Herbert will have a plethora of hurdles to overcome before he can claim to be an MVP frontrunner. 

But across the first three games, he has the production, at least in terms of overall yardage, and has showcased the accuracy to stand as the top challenger to succeed Rodgers at this extremely early juncture. 

Herbert enters Week 4 in a position of which few quarterbacks have experience, having gone blow for blow with Mahomes and come out on top. 

If he maintains the level that saw him achieve that feat, Herbert will have an excellent shot of replicating Mahomes and Jackson in winning the MVP in his second season.

Zion Williamson required surgery to repair a fractured right foot in the offseason, though the New Orleans Pelicans are still hopeful he will be fit for the start of the new campaign.

Williamson was hurt while working out ahead of his third year in the league, having made a huge impact for the Pelicans since he was selected with the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

The power forward averaged 27.0 points per game, up from 22.5 points in his rookie year, as well as 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in the 2020-21 regular season.

Executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin announced Williamson's situation on Monday, making it clear New Orleans are "very optimistic" over the 21-year-old's recovery.

"Zion is returning from a foot surgery suffered at the beginning of the summer, earlier in the offseason prior to NBA Summer League," Griffin said.

"He had a fractured right foot, which was repaired surgically. His timeline should get him back on court in time for the regular season, that would be our hope and view. 

"We're very optimistic about what that looks like. Unfortunately, that's going to be taken as a big negative by all of you (the media), but it isn't for us, because we were dealing with it for the whole offseason. 

"We feel very confident about where things are and very happy with the improvements there."

Williamson's rookie season was a shortened one due to a torn meniscus, delaying his debut. He played in only 24 games, yet quickly demonstrated just why he was so highly rated coming out of Duke.

He became an All-Star for the first time in his second year but a finger injury cut short his involvement with the Pelicans, who missed out on the playoffs once more.

New Orleans open the new season with a home game against the Philadelphia 76ers on October 20 - and their superstar expects to be on the court for that contest.

"It's part of the game," Williamson said of his injury when he spoke at the team's official media day.

"I think I was overdoing it when I was training because I felt like I had this huge chip on my shoulder, this huge boulder, so I was getting after it every day and it just happened. 

"The process through healing has been great, working with the trainer every day. I expect to be back for the first official game."

The Baltimore Ravens might not get a well-rested Justin Tucker in Week 4 after he rescued them with a miracle field goal against the Detroit Lions.

Baltimore trailed the winless Lions 17-16 with 64 seconds left and faced a fourth down and 19 with 26 seconds remaining.

However, Lamar Jackson hit Sammy Watkins for 36 yards to keep their hopes alive, setting up Tucker for an improbable 66-yard game-winning field goal.

Tucker's effort from an NFL-record distance bounced off the top of the crossbar and over in a remarkable finish that sparked jubilant Ravens celebrations.

The Ravens are now 2-1 and face a tough road game with the Denver Broncos next week, one that Tucker may have to tackle with little sleep.

"When you're that far away, it's just not a normal kick where you treat it like any other kick," Tucker said.

"You do have to kind of juice it a little bit. You gotta let adrenaline just take over. The technique may change just a little bit. It was actually more like a kick-off, where you just lay into it, like you're a competitor in a long-drive contest.

"You just let it rip and you kind of hope it stays straight. And that ball stayed straight as an arrow.

"I did see it hit the crossbar, and I thought that it might have just gone straight up and then fallen short. But when I saw that it did clear the goal post, I can't even tell you how excited I was to get that result.

"Everything just went perfectly. It had to – the snap, the placement, the kick, the ball went exactly how far it needed to go. Exactly.

"I am floating. I won't be able to sleep for days."

There was controversy on the play prior to Tucker's field goal, which saw the Ravens avoid being assessed a delay of game penalty despite the play clock expiring.

It means Lions head coach Dan Campbell is still waiting for his first win, and he was in no mood to discuss that lapse from the officials.

"There's nothing I can say to that, because it's the same thing," Campbell said.

"Tomorrow, you'll get an apology, and it doesn't mean anything. That's life, and that's the hand we were dealt.

"We still had an opportunity to – that was fourth-and-long, a long way to go, and we gave it up."

Kyle Shanahan was rightly worried the San Francisco 49ers left too much time on the clock for Aaron Rodgers in their thrilling defeat to the Green Bay Packers.

The Niners suffered their first defeat of the season in Week 3 as Mason Crosby's 51-yard field goal as time expired gave the Packers a 30-28 victory.

Thirty-seven seconds earlier, fullback Kyle Juszczyk had ploughed into the endzone to give a 49ers team that had trailed 17-0 a 28-27 lead on a 12-yard pass from Jimmy Garoppolo.

Despite having all three timeouts, Garoppolo snapped the ball with 12 seconds left on the play clock, meaning he had the chance to salt more of the clock away and diminish the odds of Rodgers leading a decisive drive.

Instead, Rodgers hit Davante Adams for receptions of 25 yards and 17 yards to set up Crosby to settle the game in Packers' favour.

Asked if he was worried about the amount of time left for the reigning MVP, San Francisco head coach Shanahan told a media conference: "You always worry with Aaron on the other side.

"That's why we didn't use any timeouts. We wanted to take it down. Hell of an effort by Juszczyk to get it in.

"I think [Garoppolo] hit the last guy in the progression and it was a hell of an effort after the catch."

Had Juszczyk been tackled short of the endzone instead of crossing the line with an extra effort, the Niners would have been able to use their timeouts to control the clock and potentially score while leaving the Packers with virtually no chance.

But curbing that instinct to score is near-impossible in the heat of the moment.

"I didn't really have a lot of time to think about it," Juszczyk said. "The entire team was swarming me. I didn't even know how much time was left on the clock to be totally honest with you.

"It wasn't really something that was on my mind during the play. We were down six so we needed a touchdown so I was trying to score."

"We were kind of in a good rhythm,” Garoppolo added. "That's when you tow the line of you have the defense on their heels, it's really hard to score down there in the red zone as it is, do you want to let them catch their breath? 

"When a guy catches it and makes a play like that you’re not going to be upset at him for scoring. It’s tough."

Naomi Osaka is going to play tennis again and expects to feed her itch to return to the tour "soon".

Osaka said in the wake of her shock US Open third-round defeat to teenager Leylah Fernandez that she would take a break from the sport.

"I honestly don't know when I'm going to play my next tennis match. I think I'm going to take a break from playing for a while," Osaka told her post-match media conference following that loss.

She subsequently pulled out of Indian Wells but the four-time grand slam champion, who withdrew from the French Open back in May to protect her mental health, does not anticipate her absence being an extended one.

"I know I'm gonna play again, probably soon because I kind of have that itch again," Osaka told HBO's 'The Shop'.

"But it wouldn't really matter to me if I won or lost. I'd just have the joy of being back on the court.

"Just to, like, you know, that I'm doing it for myself."

Explaining her unhappiness on the court, Osaka added: "I started to feel like that power was being taken away from me.

"And the way that I felt, like, I wasn't playing to make myself happy and I was more concerned about … what would people say about me.

"I used to love the competition and just being competitive. Like if I were to play a long match, the longer it was the more fun it was for me.

"And then I just started to feel – recently – the longer it was the more stressed out I became. But I just needed a break to go within myself."

Brandon Staley says the Los Angeles Chargers are lucky to have "gangster quarterback" Justin Herbert after he outdueled Patrick Mahomes in the fourth quarter at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.

The Kansas City Chiefs are bottom of the AFC West with a losing record for the first time in over five years after they were beaten 30-24 by the Chargers.

Kansas City led 14-3 at half-time, but fought back to lead 17-14 with under four minutes of the third quarter to go.

Reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert took centre stage in the final quarter, connecting on the first of two touchdown passes to Mike Williams and, after Mecole Hardman found the endzone for the Chiefs, leading a field goal drive to tie the game at 24-24.

Mahomes still had over two minutes to potentially clinch victory but threw a critical interception and the Chargers' gamble to eschew a game-winning field goal paid off as Herbert hit Williams for another touchdown and, despite a missed extra point, Los Angeles held on as a late Hail Mary from the Chiefs came up short.

Chargers head coach Staley said: "We're fortunate enough to have a gangster quarterback."

Victory for the Chargers over their AFC West rivals moved them to 2-1 ahead of a showdown with the undefeated Las Vegas Raiders (3-0) next Monday.

Staley hailed the pivotal contribution made by both Herbert and Williams.

"I thought that those two guys really stood out to me," he said. "Justin had four touchdowns, no interceptions. There was a fierce rush out there. I felt like he really played the position how you need to.

"I felt like he was patient when he needed to be. We had a couple play-action shots that didn't quite express themselves. I felt like he was awesome in the check-down game getting the ball underneath.

"They played a lot more two-deep zone coverage with some of their corner situation. He just played the position at a high level. He showed high-level toughness and then certainly in a two-minute drill, the big throw to Keenan Allen and then finishing off with Mike.

"You can't say enough about Mike Williams. I felt like this guy all year through three games, this guy played fantastic and he came through for us today."

Chiefs quarterback Mahomes became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to pass for 15,000 yards, reaching the landmark in the third quarter of his 49th game. 

The 2018 MVP finished the game with 260 passing yards, taking his tally to 15,092.

Steve Stricker has ruled out captaining the United States for a second time after the record 19-9 Ryder Cup victory over Europe at Whistling Straits.

The USA dominated Europe, winning by the biggest margin in the competition's history to regain the trophy on Sunday.

It was a dream three days for Stricker in his home state of Wisconsin as his side showed why they were such strong favourites.

The USA will travel to the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome for the 2023 event, but Stricker says they will have a different captain.

Asked about retaining the role, he said: "I don't think it's going to happen. It's mapped out and there's guys in positions to be the next captains.

"It was an unbelievable experience, don't get me wrong; I'm glad it's over."

Stricker paid tribute to his "special" team after such a phenomenal performance.

He said: "It was a special week all the way around. I don't know what else to say, and I've said it a number of times all week long and how these guys came together, and how they started two weeks ago when they showed up for the practice round.

"I could see the camaraderie then. I could see the willingness to prepare and get ready for this event prior to us even arriving. So a lot of these guys have played a lot of golf with each other. They have up with each other. It's a special group of guys."

He added: "It was just putting them out there in a position. The assistant captains and I talked a bunch with Tiger [Woods] on there, as well. And they're just so talented. Their average world ranking is 8.9. That's unheard of. Out of 12 guys.

"So it was really just getting out of their way; what I feel like. Let them go. Provide an atmosphere and camaraderie that they enjoyed and wanted to be a part of. And they all want to win, and it showed and they prepared for it.

"It was a great bunch of guys, and I really had a great time and they deserve it."

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