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Aaron Ekblad Jersey

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Richard Sherman has been cleared to practice for the San Francisco 49ers at the start of training camp.

Sherman joined San Francisco after getting released by rival Seattle following season-ending surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon. He was unable to participate in the offseason program but pronounced himself 100 percent when he reported to camp Wednesday and will take part in the team's first practice Thursday.

Sherman earned a $2 million bonus for passing his physical under a contract he negotiated himself following the injury that ended his season last November. Sherman consulted with former Lakers great Kobe Bryant on what it takes to come back from that kind of injury and always believed he would be ready for the start of camp.

"It was a grind Tuukka Rask Jersey ," he said. "But I think it was more like one of those things that you can look at optimistically or pessimistically. You can look at it as, 'Woe is me, why did this happen to me? Why do I have to go through this?' Or you could look at it as, 'I needed another great challenge and I needed another mountain to climb.' That's how I treated it."

Coach Kyle Shanahan said the initial plan for Sherman will be to practice the first two days, take a day off Saturday and then return to the field Sunday. The 49ers will take Monday off and the team will see how Sherman has responded to figure out what's next.

"We trust what he thinks and how he works," Shanahan said. "A lot of it is up to Richard. If he's being too aggressive, it's our job to pull him back. It's a matter of time when he gets back and we want to be smart with that."

Six players will open camp on injured lists, although most are expected back relatively soon. Guard Jonathan Cooper (knee), receiver Trent Taylor (back) and linebacker Dekoda Watson (calf) are on the physically unable to perform list.

Linebacker Malcolm Smith had a lower leg injury while working out on his own recently and will begin camp on the non-football injury list, along with rookies Marcell Harris and Kentavius Street, who were hurt when they were drafted.

But having a healthy Sherman to start camp is a big boost for a team full of optimism after winning the final five games last season under quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to finish 6-10.

The midseason acquisition of Garoppolo from New England turned around a struggling franchise that had lost 24 of 27 games before he took over as starter late last season.

"I don't think anybody is thinking about last year," Sherman said. "It was a 6-10 team that didn't make the playoffs. The few positives that come from last year, you can appreciate them Ryan McDonagh Jersey , but it's still a 6-10 team that was picking in the top 10 in the draft. There's not a lot to celebrate. That's the way to approach it. Guys are hungry, they're excited to go out there and prove this is a great team that can win ballgames."

Sherman talking up the 49ers is an odd change following his years tormenting the franchise when he played for Seattle. He made the deflection that led to an NFC title-clinching interception in January 2014 before trash-talking Michael Crabtree and then memorably celebrated a Thanksgiving night win over the 49ers the following season by eating a turkey leg at midfield at Levi's Stadium.

Now he's mentoring young cornerbacks such as Ahkello Witherspoon, trading tips with Garoppolo, and quickly turning into a locker room leader.

"He's been pretty much the exact opposite of what I thought," veteran left tackle Joe Staley said. "I thought he was going to be annoying like he was annoying to me when he was in a Seahawks uniform but he's been nothing but great."

The 49ers are also hoping Sherman can get back close to his level of play during his prime in Seattle when he was perhaps the game's top shutdown cornerback. He was a first-team All-Pro for three straight seasons starting in 2012, leading the league with eight interceptions in 2013.

Sherman still was one of the better cornerbacks the past three seasons, ranking second in the NFL by allowing just 49.2 percent of passes against him to be caught, according to Pro Football Focus.

He said he feels re-energized after the injury.

"I'm not saying you get complacent, but you get bored," he said. "It's a routine. You go out there and play 16 games, play at a high level and do your best and you enjoy it, but sometimes when you throw a wrench in the plans kind of helps you. It wakes you up. It reignites the fire. It takes you back to where you need to be."

NOTES: Second-round WR Dante Pettis signed his rookie deal late Wednesday afternoon. ... The 49ers signed OL JP Flynn to a two-year deal and DLs Will Sutton and Cedric Thornton to one-year contracts. DB Don Jones, OL Jamar McGloster and DL Blaine Woodson were waived to make room on the roster.

HOUSTON — Any lauding of the Houston Rockets‘ resilience in Game 4 on Tuesday at Oracle Arena begins with an acknowledgment of their defense Womens Kyle Palmieri Jersey , with cliched adjectives serving the general purpose of explaining how they overcame a double-digit, fourth-quarter deficit to claim victory and square the Western Conference Finals before the series relocated back to Toyota Center.

But for a series rife with adjustments, the truth of how Houston salvaged its championship aspirations lies within the minutiae. Methodically and stubbornly, the Rockets have invited the Warriors to play their brand of isolation basketball, influencing Golden State for long enough stretches to temporarily secure advantages with a style of play that blatantly benefits Houston.

The fourth quarter of Game 4 offered a prime example. The Warriors claimed their largest lead of the contest at 82-70 when Stephen Curry assisted on a Shaun Livingston dunk at the 10:45 mark. That play produced the 14th and final assist of the evening for Golden State.

“We scored 12 points,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of the fourth period. “So it’s not like we were getting great shots either.

“It was sort of trench warfare. It was just everybody grinding it out, a lot of isolation. I guess this is the modern NBA. But the only way you can do this and win is you have to have great one-on-one players. You’ve got to have great defenders, two-way guys, and we do and they do. And so, it just becomes a one-on-one battle with all the switching, and they did a great job of it.”

The Warriors paced the NBA in assist percentage (68.5) during the regular season. The Rockets, conversely, ranked 22nd at 55.7 percent TJ Brodie Jersey , relying on the isolation brilliance of James Harden and Chris Paul. And while Golden State features two exceptional one-on-one talents in Kevin Durant and Curry, isolation basketball doesn’t reflect the Warriors’ offensive identity.

The Warriors’ 14 assists in Game 4 represented a series low. Their 48.2 assist rate in the series is worse than the Rockets’ assist percentage (49.3), a remarkable and surprising development. The final period on Tuesday revealed Golden State at its most unrecognizable and disjointed.

“I think we just got a little rushed,” Curry said. “I think some of the mix-ups we had on defense affected our energy on the offensive end. And credit to them: We know they’re doing a lot of switching and trying to force us into one-on-one-type situations, but that’s no excuse to not get the ball moving, trusting what we do best. And whether it’s the first quarter, second quarter, or crunch time in the fourth, we got to be us. And that’s going to be the adjustment for Game 5.”

With Game 5 set for Toyota Center on Thursday, the Rockets have a clear understanding of their most immediate mission. Their season-long defensive might has served them well during crucial spans against the Warriors, with Houston scrambling and contesting at a fevered pitch.

The moments when the Warriors get rolling offensively have been harrowing for Houston, yet the Rockets mustered the gumption in Games 2 and 4 to claw back into contention behind their defense. When Golden State threatened to run off to a 3-1 series lead, Houston was unbowed.

“These are the moments that we spend all that time for Aaron Ekblad Jersey ,” Paul said. “Mental toughness is just as important as physical toughness, and I think guys on our team showed that.”

That level of perseverance wasn’t attached to the Rockets’ collective identity or aligned to Harden individually. But in Game 4, Houston finally won at Oracle Arena and snapped the Warriors’ 16-game home postseason winning streak. After falling to the Warriors in five games in consecutive postseasons, the Rockets have finally cleared one hurdle. Another one awaits.

“We came a long way,” Harden said. “Obviously new personnel but we came an extremely long way, and we’ve been talking about it all season long (starting in the) summertime: put ourselves in the best position, and we’re doing that. And so, another opportunity Game 5, we’ve got to come out and take advantage of it. Simple.”

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