Extras: DrogbaDrogbaDrogba, Sabathia Woes, Patrick Kane With a Tambourine

Extras: DrogbaDrogbaDrogba, Sabathia Woes, Patrick Kane With a Tambourine

Good mornin' Philly sports fans. Just a quick link dump to start your day. 

Best non-USA news of the World Cup so far? Looks like Didier Drogba will play for the Ivory Coast after being medically cleared. Whether or not you care about the plight of Côte d'Ivoire or Drogba, it's a better, more entertaining tournament with him out there, especially considering today's match will pit Drogba against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal. Too bad my SlingBox doesn't arrive until tomorrow. [AP/USA Today]

Topping that injury news is the US announcement that Tim Howard will play on Friday against Slovenia. Howard, the team's backbone and greatest strength, took a set of cleats to the chest while making a save in Saturday's opener versus England. [ESPN Soccernet]

The Phillies kick off a series at Yankee Stadium tonight facing CC Sabathia, an ace against whom they've had some dramatic success. Lately, everyone but the Orioles has hit CC though. What's wrong with the ace? [Rob Neyer]

Hey Mr. Tambourine Mullet! Here's one link that will help calm any sadness over the Flyers not being the team on the celebration circuit right now. Not sure a scene could be more annoying than this. [Puck Daddy]

Whereas Digital Mike Richards will smash your face. [Flyers Goal Scored By]

Still feeling empty after that Flyers loss in game 6? So is Peter Laviolette. Hard to remember a coach that could instill this much confidence in us coming off a crushing loss, and Lavvy's pre-season prep has already begun. [DelcoTimes] [Inq]

Want to hate the NBA Finals matchup even more? Here's a look at which stars could have been Sixers, as well as the players selected instead of them. Some more frustrating than others... [CSNPhilly]

Slump or no, I'm buying this Milt Thompson instructional video for my nephew's 10th birthday this weekend. [MiltThompson.com]

Been listening to Graceland and watching Paul Simon's Concert in Africa a lot this week. Even more than usual. Someone please put this on Blu-Ray. 

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Phillies corner outfielder/infielder Howie Kendrick is finally nearing a return. He'll begin a rehab assignment tonight with Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Kendrick has been out since April 15 with an oblique strain. He did defensive work during the Phillies' road trip and has been taking outdoor batting practice at home this week.

Kendrick was off to a hot start when the oblique injury sent him to the DL. In 10 games, he went 13 for 39 (.333) with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs. He batted second all 10 games.

The Phillies are in a bad offensive funk and could use Kendrick's bat over Michael Saunders' right now. The Phils' 1-2 hitters were among the most productive in the majors in April, hitting close to .350 for the month. They're down to .282 on the season as Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera have slumped in May.

With Clay Buchholz likely out for the season and Saunders providing little offense so far, the Phillies' trio of offseason veteran additions has not panned out through two months.

Supplement-free Lane Johnson heaviest he's ever been, feels he has much to prove

Supplement-free Lane Johnson heaviest he's ever been, feels he has much to prove

It's only natural to have some reservations about Lane Johnson after he was suspended for 10 games last season for his second violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. One more positive test and the Eagles will lose their starting right tackle for two full years.

Fortunately, Johnson seems determined to avoid any future run-ins with the league. The 27-year-old changed his entire approach this offseason, cutting out negative influences or any other voices at all while preparing for the 2017 season.

"I just trained by myself back in Oklahoma," Johnson said after the Eagles' first full-team practice of OTAs on Tuesday. "Trained by myself and everything went good. I came back, my body weight is about 325, so I'm heavier than I've ever been. I feel in good shape, and I have a lot to prove, so it's a big year for me.

"I did everything by myself. There wasn't going to be any mishaps."

Two suspensions totaling 14 games later, Johnson has gained a healthy fear of being unknowingly steered toward an illegal supplement.

Johnson tested positive for PEDs before the season last year after taking a banned substance known as peptides and was eventually slapped with the full 10-game penalty after a lengthy appeal process. The fifth-year veteran always maintained peptides were not listed on the label of the offending supplement.

Johnson filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the players' association in November after the suspension was upheld. Its status is ongoing.

Johnson also served a four-game suspension in 2014.

When he's not in trouble with the league office, Johnson is a vital cog in the Eagles' offense. They went 5-1 with him and 2-8 without him last season.

"I feel like whenever I'm playing, I try to be the best right tackle in the NFL," Johnson said. "My deal is to just stay on the field, play a complete season, and I think it will be a big year for me."

Johnson isn't concerned about losing a competitive edge, physically or mentally, after dropping supplements altogether.

"I've always been the athlete that I am," Johnson said. "That's what I'll continue to prove. I'm gonna go play and show people what I can do."

Signed in January 2016 to a five-year contract extension worth $56 million, Johnson has plenty to prove. He was working out in place of 35-year-old left tackle Jason Peters, who wasn't at the start of OTAs, on Tuesday and is expected to one day replace the nine-time Pro Bowl selection permanently.

Despite his checkered past, it sounds like Johnson knows exactly what's on the line, which is why he chose to go it alone this offseason. The only person you can trust is yourself.

Then again, Johnson still has his vices, which might raise some eyebrows with the news he's up to 325 pounds — eight more than his listed weight.

"My big deal is cutting out the ice cream, the Ben & Jerry's late at night — the stuff you want to indulge in," Johnson said. "If you get me on an ice cream binge, it's not good."

The Eagles can probably deal with a little extra ice cream, just as long as Johnson remains committed to keeping dodgy supplements out of his body.