ch. The Clippers never trailed. Griffin had 13 points in the f

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TORONTO -- A star athlete from Cole Harbour, N. Dan Roundfield Jersey .S., sidelined by a concussion at the peak of his game. Its not a new story, but this time the athlete in question is UFC lightweight contender T.J. Grant rather than hockey superstar Sidney Crosby. The 29-year-old mixed martial arts fighter missed out on an August title shot and has had to pass on another slated for December while he waits to feel normal. Ask Grant these days how he is feeling and the answer is not simple. "Not too bad. Feeling all right," he said in a recent interview. "It could be better ... Im a lot better now than I was, thats for sure." Some days, it feels like one step forward, two steps back. But despite the occasional setback, the hard-nosed fighter says he is still on the road to recovery. "Progress is getting a little slower again. But it was going pretty good," he said. He says he does some "light activity ... to keep myself from going crazy." Grant (21-5) was riding a high after knocking out Gray (The Bully) Maynard two minutes seven seconds into their May 25 showdown at UFC 160. That earned the Canadian a shot at then-champion Ben (Smooth) Henderson. But two weeks later, Grant was hit in the head by his training partners foot during a jiu-jitsu session. Later in the session, he used his head to stop a sweep and was hit again. "I dont know which one it was," he said of the head blows. "All I know is just when I was done training, I didnt feel right." He saw a doctor and was diagnosed with a concussion -- his first. "I took my time hoping it would just heal up and I could get back at it. It just took longer than I expected. So thats kind of where I am now." For those who have not had one, its hard to imagine the disruption of a concussion. "Especially earlier on, I had difficulty concentrating, just carrying on a conversation with somebody. Just simple things that you do every day that are a lot more difficult," said Grant, ranked third among 155-pound contenders. The proud father of a five-month-old daughter, Grants symptoms were set off early on by the baby crying. Motion also made him nauseous. "Im getting past a lot of that stuff. Now I just have a little bit of a headache ... The worst is definitely behind me." But there are still limits to what he can do. He came to Toronto recently to do some TV work and appearances around UFC 165. "After the weekend I was a little bit worn out," he acknowledged. Grant says time is whats needed. Hes happy with the team he has helping him, with physiotherapy to work on his balance and regular visits to a chiropractor to have work done on his neck. The UFC has offered help and paid for an MRI, that came back clean. But inactivity must feel strange after years in a sport built around complex layers of training. And the lightweight merry-go-round continues in his absence. Replacement challenger Anthony (Showtime) Pettis submitted Henderson in the first round of UFC 164 on Aug. 31 to win the championship belt. The UFC had hoped Pettis would make his first title defence in December against Grant in Sacramento. But Grant said he would not be ready. "Its one of those unfortunate things that can happen in a contact sport," UFC president Dana White said when asked about Grant. "Were not going anywhere. The kids just got to take his time, heal up, and relax and well see what happens." Theres never a good time to be injured in the UFC, given inactivity equals no paycheque. But this timing particularly sucks. Grant, ranked third among lightweight contenders, was on a roll having won five straight since dropping down to 155 pounds from welterweight. "The belts going to be there no matter who has the belt," White said. "It will be there and well figure the T.J. Grant thing out when T.J. Grants healthy." In the meantime, the December title shot has been given to No. 4 Josh Thompson. Even talk of title shots has consequences for Grant. "Im trying not to put too much pressure on myself," he said. "Being offered fights and stuff like that was definitely putting more pressure (on me) which causes you to stress out and make things worse. "Man, Im just worrying about just getting better, taking it slow. No real pressure. When I feel 100 per cent and Im able to return to training and all that stuff, then Ill start looking for a fight. "For now, Im not really too much worried about it." White says concussions are monitored closely in that the sport is regulated by government agencies, with mandatory suspensions after knockouts. Often fighters have to be cleared by a doctor before they can step back into the cage after a bad loss. Injuries in training are tougher to monitor, he acknowledged. "We cant baby-sit everybody. We cant police grown men," White said prior to UFC 165. "We can lay down the rules. "If you are on a three month suspension because you were hit in the head or whatever your deal is in a fight and you go back into the gym and start sparring again, first of all youre a moron. No 2, the people who handle you probably dont care about you." Grant has been healthy the majority of his career, missing just two previous fights through injury or sickness in his 7.5-year pro career. He says he has known other fighters who had concussions. "Some guys try to hide it and keep going. They think its like any other injury. But I dont want to be that guy. So I want to do it as safely as possible. I want to enjoy my life, thats for sure." Grant has plenty of motivation on that front. He married wife Belinda on the weekend. They planned to slip away for a few days but with a young daughter the focus of attention, a real honeymoon will likely have to wait a while. As for Crosby, Grant says he does not know the Penguins star so has not been able to share war stories. It would make for an interesting conversation. "No doubt," Grant said with a chuckle. Don Sunderlage Jersey .com) - The 2014 Holiday Bowl is the first postseason venture pitting a pair of ranked foes against each other, as No. Maurice Cheeks Jersey . -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft wanted to keep Logan Mankins with the team for a long time. https://www.cheaphawks.com/734r-joe-johnson-jersey-hawks.html .C. -- Carter Ashton had a pair of goals and added an assist as the Toronto Marlies downed the Charlotte Checkers 5-2 on Saturday in the American Hockey League.Salt Lake City, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - Blake Griffin had 28 points, Chris Paul scored 17 with 10 assists and the Los Angeles Clippers rolled to a 112-96 win over the slumping Utah Jazz on Saturday night to finish off a successful road trip. Jamal Crawford added 22 points off the bench and J.J. Redick scored 13 for the Clippers, who finished 6-1 on their seven-game trek. They have won 11 in a row against the Jazz since Utahs last victory in the series on Jan. 17, 2012. Gordon Hayward poured in 30 points to lead the Jazz, who have lost five in a row overall. Derrick Favors chipped in 19 points and Trevor Booker scored 15 off the bench. The Clippers never trailed. Griffin had 13 points in the first quarter and Crawford hit consecutive 3s to cap a 10-0 burst that gave them a 20-point lead. Paul Millsap Jersey. It was 35-18 going into the second quarter and got as close as five points at the end of an extended 17-2 run by the Jazz, keyed by five points apiece from Dante Exum, Hayward and Booker. LA took a 62-50 lead into halftime and led by as many as 21 points in the third quarter. The Jazz trailed 90-76 entering the fourth and were never closer than 12 down the stretch. Game Notes The Clippers will start a four-game homestand on Monday against Minnesota, their first game at Staples Center since losing to Chicago on Nov. 17 ... Utah continues a four-game homestand on Monday against Denver. ' ' '

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