Lester possibly has Cancer?

Tony Massarotti has a special breaking news report on the Boston Herald website, where he says that Red Sox rookie lefthander Jon Lester is being examined not only for a possible back injury as a result of a recent car accident, but also for cancer. Massarotti says:

Although Red Sox officials are being extremely tight-lipped about the matter, Lester has been undergoing an array of exams in Boston for internal medical issues, including cancer.

The tests have prompted serious concern within the organization. Other than citing Lester’s ongoing back problems, Sox general manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona have declined to address any matters concerning the health of one of their brightest prospects.

However, during the team’s nine-game road trip that ended today with a 7-2 loss to the Oakland A’s, Lester was diagnosed with enlarged lymph nodes, according to sources. Such a symptom can be caused by an array of issues, from infections to cancer.

I’m at a loss for words here. How many of us said that things couldn’t get any worse than having Big Papi in the hospital with a heart condition?

Get the rest of the Red Sox stories on the Red Sox Daily Links page.

The Patriots wind down the preseason tonight with an exhibition with the New York Giants. The BSMW Patriots Game Day crew has their weekly roundtable discussion on the team, probing such topics as Deion Branch, roster depth and Reche Caldwell.

You can browse through stories from newspapers and blogs around the region on the Patriots Daily Links page.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. WCVB has Patriots/Giants at 7:30. ESPN2 has Boston College/Central Michigan college football at 6:00.

Green Helps Out

On the Patriots Game Day page, Bill Barnwell examines why Laurence Maroney was a curious draft choice for the New England Patriots, and what chance he stands of being a success in the NFL.

Bob Duffy reports on Patriots defensive lineman Jarvis Green being honored with the Ron Burton Service Award for his volunteer work in his native New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina. Robert Lee has more on Green, who might be one of the most well rounded Patriots, both on and off the field. Alan Greenberg has more on Green, who is always eager and willing to help out others. Albert Breer looks at how Katrina moved Green to action last summer. Michael Parente looks at how the devastation in his home town really moved Green to do anything and everything he could to help out.

John Tomase examines how the Patriots will find work for both Maroney and Corey Dillon this coming season. Ian Clark looks at the solid group the Patriots have assembled on the offensive line this season in an effort to protect Tom Brady. Rich Garven looks at little Patrick Cobbs hoping to buck the odds and win a roster spot with the Patriots. Dan Pires has Dan Klecko happy to be just a defensive lineman once again. Eric McHugh has Rodney Harrison positioning himself as one of many early candidates for comeback player of the year.

In an Tomase sidebar, Bob Kraft seems to think the Deion Branch situation will be resolved one way or the other by Friday. Shalise Manza Young has Dillon saying that his helmet caused his eye injury on Saturday night, not an opposing player. There’s been some buzz out there about an Associated Press article that has Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick talking pretty frequently, indicating that whatever issues there were between the two have been worked out. This isn’t the first mention of the two this summer. In the first week of camp, Ron Borges had an article on the “Oklahoma” drill and mentioned how Belichick, Parcells and Marty Schottenheimer spent time together this summer talking in New York during a gathering to honor Harry Carson.

Mike Reiss’ notebook has Bob Kraft holding out hope that something can be worked out with Deion Branch, and also has a look at yesterday’s roster cuts. Tomase’s notebook has more on Green’s work being saluted. Lee’s notebook looks at yesterday’s roster cuts. Garven’s notebook has more on those released by the team yesterday, which appears to include safety Ray Ventrone, who is no longer listed on the roster. Parente’s notebook looks at Monty Beisel and Marquise Hill surviving the first round of cuts for the Patriots.

Beckett Good, Sox Bats Still Silent.

The Red Sox fell to their fifth straight loss on the west coast, 2-1 to the Oakland A’s. Josh Beckett pitched well once again, but the Red Sox have simply no offense to speak of.

Jeff Horrigan says that last night might be considered at least a moral victory for the Red Sox. Nick Cafardo refers to the Red Sox patchwork lineup as a “collection of glorified Triple A hitters.” Steven Krasner notes that the Red Sox were finally able to score last night. Once. It wasn’t enough. David Heuschkel looks at a physically beat up and mentally spent Red Sox club falling again in Oakland.

Gordon Edes reports on the tests that David Ortiz is being put through for his irregular heartbeat, talks to others with the condition, and looks at what the end result might be. Tony Massarotti notes that the Red Sox are being very careful with Ortiz, and with things the way they are, there might be no hurry to rush him back out onto the field. Liz Kowalczyk in the Globe says that the condition of atrial fibrillation shouldn’t really threaten Ortiz’s playing career. Jessica Fargen in the Herald says that it is too early to be sure about anything. Felice J Freyer says that this condition is most usually benign.

Massarotti brings up the name of Reggie Lewis as a warning example that the Red Sox need to do everything possible to be sure about Ortiz’s health. Krasner looks at the Sox losing all their muscle in the middle of their lineup, the biggest loss of course being Ortiz. Horrigan has Ortiz’s teammates doing their best to encourage him with stories of heart issues that have worked out ok.

Jackie MacMullan talks to Larry Bird, who has also suffered from an irregular heartbeat, having an incident while he was coaching the Pacers. Bird also talks about how much he enjoys watching Manny Ramirez. Jim Donaldson says Theo Epstein has no clue and that he should be fitted with a clown suit. Krasner’s Inside the Game looks at Josh Beckett suddenly finding his breaking ball. Alex Speier looks at the Red Sox 2006 season crumbling “with all the suddenness of the Old Man of the Mountain.” Jay Gearan looks at a Gardner native who has struck up a long time friendship and business partnership with Mark Loretta, long before he joined the Red Sox.

Cafardo’s notebook has Theo Epstein entertaining offers for David Wells. Horrigan’s notebook has the Dodgers as a likely suitor for Wells. Krasner’s notebook has more on the Sox efforts to trade Wells, as well as well as an upcoming group rehab at Pawtucket. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on Ortiz.

Misc

Jim McCabe has a mini-feature on caddies who refuse to give up the dream of playing the game that they love.

Kevin Henkin says that the struggles of the Red Sox could open the door a crack for the Bruins and Celtics to win back some of their depleted fan bases.

Bob Ryan looks at Team USA’s chances in the World Basketball Championships out in Japan. Joe Sullivan looks at the many NH links to Dave Gavitt, which may not all be mentioned in his upcoming Hall of Fame induction speech.

Fluto Shinzawa has rookie Phil Kessel joining the Bruins veterans for an informal skate yesterday.

NESN has Red Sox/A’s at 3:30. ESPN has Tigers/Yankees at 7:00.