TORONTO - After weeks of rumour and speculation about his future in MLS, star striker Jermain Defoe presented his side of the story Wednesday.Bottom line? The 31-year-old English international is happy to be back in Toronto and any transfer talk was out of his hands.Toronto FC has acknowledged turning down a franchise-record bid for Defoe at the closing of the summer transfer window and the talk did not stop there. Such speculation, said Defoe, is part of football and players have no control over offers from other clubs.In England, its normal a€” where theres speculation about players leaving, players going ... At the end of the day Im still a TFC player and Im totally committed to the cause, he told a news conference Wednesday, his first public comments since returning from England where he had been nursing a groin injury.For me it was sort of like Oh here we go again, he added. It was just normal. I didnt really pay too much attention to it because I think my main focus was trying to get fit. People that know me, they know I love playing football and I find it really it difficult to be on the sidelines. Especially at such a crucial time, pushing for the playoffs. I want to be involved, I want to score goals, I want to push the club forward.It was a polished 17 1/2-minute solo performance from Defoe, sitting at a table in front of a sizable media corps in the upstairs lounge at TFCs training centre. Defoe had shrugged off help from handlers in advance, saying he knew what he wanted to say.I never came out anyway and said I wanted to leave, Defoe, tattoos peeking out from a black T-shirt above jeans, said by way of summary.One suspects Defoes agent did not sit on his hands during the transfer window and who can blame him. Goal-scoring strikers are always in demand and Defoe has ties to the likes of Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp.Still Defoe single-handedly managed to stuff the transfer genie back into the bottle, at least for a while.I dont know whats going to happen in the future. All I can say to the fans is Im fully committed, he said.And with a salary listed at US$6.18 million this season, not to mention a reported list of perks that would do Van Halen proud, the five-foot-seven striker is not exactly roughing it on this side of the Atlantic.He is back but not yet fully healthy.Defoe ran Tuesday, only the second time since the injury, and said there was no negative reaction. He did some work in the gym Wednesday and hopes to be back in full training Monday. An Oct. 4 game against the Galaxy in Los Angeles seems the first possible return date.He said patience is the key, given he had made the mistake of coming back too fast in the past.Toronto (10-11-7) could use him. With six games remaining, the seventh-place team is three points out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.Defoe has missed 12 games this season through injury or suspension but still leads the team in scoring with 11 goals in 16 MLS contests. He has played 150 minutes, appearing in two of TFCs 11 league games since July 19.If anything, he says he wants more football. He said going out on loan to another club to keep sharp for the next MLS season was not out of the question, with Redknapp having already made the suggestion.Its something Ive thought about doing before I come back, so Im ready to go and Im sharp and Im fit, Defoe said.Given his recent health problems, which have been blamed on playing back-to-back English and MLS seasons, adding to his football schedule would seem to be a gamble, however.He himself acknowledged he had played 14-15 months straightAgain I love my football and Ive always tried to look after my body. Im someone whos tee-total, I dont drink, I always do my stuff in the gym.Defoe insisted he has enjoyed his North American experience, calling it amazing.I think Im lucky enough to be at a fantastic football club with special fans. Ive said that many times. And theres some fantastic people at the football club. From Day 1, I walked into the changing rooms, the players downstairs, all the boys have been fantastic. I think that helped me settle in and I felt at home.Its then just down to me to get on the pitch and perform. I love scoring goals. I love playing football.There have been no shortage of stories about Defoes future on either side of the Atlantic and some made their way through to Defoe despite his best efforts.I just tried to blank it out, he said. Obviously you see things on the TV. Social medias powerful when you see things. But I just tried to block it out and just concentrate on getting myself fit so I can come back and push for the playoffs.Some stories left a mark. The former West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham striker made a point of denying one story that had him texting former manager Ryan Nelsen to say If youre gone, Im gone.Thats not true, said Defoe. Thats hard to sit back and read something like that when I know thats not true. I would never do anything like that.Defoe said he went back to England to get a second opinion on a lingering groin injury. An initial scan had shown a strained adductor and a lower abdominal muscle strain. He kept playing though it and it got to the point, where he could feel it while running and it was sore shooting. A second scan showed the same.Fearing he had a hernia, he went to see a specialist and was a day away from going under the knife. Instead he went to a physio he had worked with before in England and was told the problem related to his hip.He had several injections, did rehab and worked on strengthening his core.It feels a lot better, he said.Since returning, Defoe said he had met with manager Greg Vanney and came away really impressed by what he heard.As to comments from outgoing MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke that he did not expect Defoe to be back next season, Defoe said Leiweke had reached out to say he didnt mean it like that.At the end of the day, Tim knows what sort of character and what sort of person I am, otherwise I wouldnt be here in the first place, he said.Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter Jadeveon Clowney Jersey
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. The Maple Leafs handed their embattled head coach a two-year contract extension on Thursday, while at the same time announcing that assistants Dave Farrish, Greg Cronin and Scott Gordon will not be back. HOUSTON -- Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks showed his team each of the 12 3-pointers Houston made in its 73-point first half Thursday night. The halftime video session worked. The Rockets didnt make another 3, and were held to a franchise-low in points in the second half of the Thunders 104-92 win. Kevin Durant scored 36 points and Reggie Jackson added 23 to lift Oklahoma City to the victory. James Harden and Terrence Jones scored 16 points apiece for Houston, which had just 19 second-half points after its season-best performance in the first half -- setting an NBA record for the largest scoring differential between two halves. Houstons 19-point second half is tied for the second-fewest points in a second half in NBA history. "Ive never seen anything like that," Brooks said. "Thats inspiring." Houston coach Kevin McHale was troubled by his teams inability to build on its great first half. "We had a terrible time shooting the ball, laying it in, making simple plays," McHale said. "We couldnt sustain anything offensively in the second half. Give them credit. They got out and got after us." The Thunder used a big third quarter to erase a 12-point deficit and tie the score entering the fourth. The teams stayed within a basket after that until Jackson scored five points in a 7-0 run which gave the Thunder a 97-89 lead with about 4 minutes left. Oklahoma City stretched its advantage to 103-92 on a fast-break dunk by Jackson with 1:18 to go. Durant shook his head when asked about the vast difference in Oklahoma Citys defence after halftime. Along with shutting down Houstons 3-point shooting, the Thunder also held Harden scoreless after the break. "We were able to come down and stifle them a little bit and get them out of their rhythm," Durant said. "Theyre a great offensive team. They score the ball so quickly. I think we did a great job of just putting pressure on them." Oklahoma City was up by eight when Houstons Dwight Howard and Kendrick Perkins got tangled up fighting for a rebound. The two had to be separated and Perkins received a personal foul and they both were slapped with technicals for the scuffle. Serge Ibaka added 21 points and 15 reebounds for the Thunder.dddddddddddd Howard had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Rockets. Jeremy Lambs 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter made it 86-85, giving Oklahoma City its first lead since early in the second quarter. The teams each scored a basket after that before both offences went silent, with neither team scoring for about a 3-minute span. Jackson ended Oklahoma Citys scoring drought with a reverse layup with about 7 minutes remaining before Chandler Parsons ended Houstons with a bucket about a minute later to cut the Thunders lead to 90-89. The Rockets had a 12-point lead with about 4 minutes left in the third quarter before Oklahoma City went on a 15-3 run to tie it at 83 entering the final period. Ibaka scored four quick points to get the spurt going and also had a 3-pointer in that span. Durant had the big finish for the run, taking Parsons off the dribble and pulling up to sink a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Durant fell backward to the court after the shot and flipped over before getting up wearing a huge grin as he was mobbed by teammates. After matching a season high with 41 points in the second quarter, the Rockets had a terrible third, scoring just 10 points, and their nine points in the fourth were a season low. The Thunder led by seven in the second quarter before Houston got going. The Rockets used a 9-0 run, powered by four points from Jones, to take a 43-41 lead with about 8 minutes left in the quarter. Harden had a nifty play near the end of that run when he hit an off-balance layup before crashing to the court. Houston capped the 41-point quarter with a 13-1 spurt to take a 73-59 lead into halftime. Parsons hit two 3s in that run and Donatas Motiejunas added a third. Durant was having a tough first quarter and had three turnovers before getting going in the last 1 1/2 minutes of the period. He scored all nine of the Thunders last points of the quarter to leave Oklahoma City up 36-32 entering the second. He had two dunks and was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws in that span. NOTES: Houstons 73 points in the first half were a season high for a half. ... McHale received a technical foul for arguing with the officials in the second quarter. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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