The All-Star weekend begins on Friday, giving most of the league some time off before the final stretch of the season. After the break, there are only four weeks left in the regular season for standard leagues. That’s not a lot of time to wait for guys to return from injuries. Owners will have to make hard decisions on whether to keep their injured stars or let them loose. More should be known after the All-Star break about the severity of many of these recent injuries, so hold on until then.

Blake Griffin underwent surgery on Monday to remove a staph infection in his right elbow. Prior to surgery, Griffin was expected to miss anywhere from 2-to-6 weeks. Griffin will be reevaluated in three weeks, which should help clarify when owners can expect to have Griffin back. Since Griffin is a top talent and there isn’t much clarity on his timeline, owners should hold onto Griffin for the time being.

With Griffin out, DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Hawes become the biggest benefactors. Jordan has put up back-to-back 20/20 games and looks like he’ll grab every rebound that Griffin used to get.

While Jordan is universally owned, Hawes becomes a top waiver wire pickup. In the three games that Griffin has missed, Hawes has averaged 11.0 ppg and 1.7 rpg. The numbers have been underwhelming so far, but Hawes has shown that he can fill up the box score when given starters’ minutes in the past. Last year as a starter, he averaged 13.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.2 bpg, and 1.6 3PTM. He probably won’t approach those numbers, but I expect Hawes to be useful for owners for as long as Griffin is out.

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It’s always nice to see the deep league guys you love turn into Mr. Planters and go nuts!

After 22 minutes, many of which trying to play through it, Jimmy Butler finally waved the white flag and checked out with a shoulder injury.  He first hurt it last Sunday, and that black tape stuff (that I still don’t completely understand how it works) didn’t keep Buckets’ shoulder together.  Maybe the black tape is more a statement.  Like, “Yeah brah, I got a jacked up shoulder but I’m still gonna go ham!”  Either way, it opened up some huge run for Tony Snell, playing 41 minutes.  And they were 41 heat check minutes!  Made his first 6 from the field including 4 treys, ending up with a career-high 24 points in a 9-11 FG (4-6 3PTM 2-2 FT) 24/2/2/1/0 line with no TO.  Snell going full Mr. Planters!  Even with Mike Dunleavy returning after nearly a month-and-a-half off, you can’t suppress the sense of Snell!  I keed of course, this is an anomaly type of game, but Butler could easily get tomorrow night off against the Cavs to rest that shoulder through the ASB making Snell a very interesting end-of-the-short-week streamer (only the one game Thursday night).  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy NBA action:

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Oh boy, more injuries to studs and more teams scrambling…

Sometime before the weekend, Blake Griffin had a fairly routine (and he’s had a few) elbow draining.  Blake’s draining jumpers, the team docs are draining elbows!  But over the weekend the elbow developed a staph infection, and he’ll have surgery and won’t be evaluated until after the All-Star Break.  Blake is firing off jumpers and the team docs are about to be fired!  Reports are saying it could be a 4-6 week sort of thing, but with staph infections you never know.  Either way, he’s an obvious hold in all leagues.  While Blake goes all Leo McGarry on us, Samurai Spencer Hawes and his little hair bun went 17/1/0/0/1 on 7-16 shooting with two treys in 35 minutes.  Samurai Spence should be an add in virtually all leagues, as his mix of scoring/treys/blocks can help a lot of teams.  Sure he won’t board almost at all for a big with DeAndre Jordan swallowing em all up, but we can ignore that.  Kinda like how Denis McDonough ignored that second “n” in his first name.  What is it with “Mc” real-life and fictional Chiefs of Staph?!  I bet the Oval Office whisky is well stocked…  Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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With the football season over we can now fully concentrate on the NBA.  Last weekend the article did awesome.  I had my best day of the year and if you followed the write up I am sure you did well too.  We have a 7 game slate on tap for tonight.  I want you to take note that I am not going to write up any of the starting Golden St. players.  It’s not that they aren’t good plays.   Golden St. is in the middle of a tough schedule.  They are playing their 6th game in 8 days, the  third set of a series of b2b’s.  After playing a tough game in Atlanta last night, a game against the Knicks gives Steve Kerr a opportunity to limit the minutes or rest some of the starters.

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As we gear up for the All-Star break next week, owners should pay extra attention to their daily lineups. Guys that are typically playing through minor injuries could miss a game or two, as teams try to give them some extra rest before heading into the second half of the season.

There are already quite a few guys who have played their last game prior to the All-Star break. Sidelined for the last five games, Rockets’ center Dwight Howard is expected to miss about a month after undergoing a bone marrow injection in is right knee. The Rockets plan to reevaluate him in four weeks, in hopes that his knee responds well to this treatment. Howard just can’t catch a break. He’s only played in 32 of the Rockets’ 49 games this season.

The Rockets frontcourt is very crowded, but Howard’s injury should help alleviate some of the playing time issues. Joey Dorsey and Donatas Motiejunas should continue to start, while Terrence Jones and Josh Smith will see plenty of time off the bench.

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Right now, Kings games from here on out can be perfectly embodied by a The Ben Stiller Show skit.  Such an underrated show (couldn’t find the clip on Youtube, it’s too old!).  Andy Dick is on the bomb squad, gets to the bomb, then starts doing ridiculous things while the 10 seconds counts down that take a lot longer than 10 seconds…  Cooks lunch, changes a baby, shizz like that.  All the while the countdown clicks down unfathomably slow, until it’s at 1 and blows him up.  Man, it’s hard to describe things when there’s not a video for it!  3rd Century problems…

Well, losing a quality PG like Darren Collison in the second quarter never helps (abdominal strain – getting an MRI today.  Good thing he’s not a baseball player, he’d be out two months!), but the Kings are a bigger failed experiment than that prison Stanford thing after getting bludgeoned by the Dirk-less, Rondo-less Mavs.  Too many good players to be this bad!  Boogie turns it over too much, Gay isn’t working next to him, and the abyss that is the starting PF can’t be all to blame.  At 17-31, that’s NOT how the West was won…  Gay and Cuz make a lot of dough, but Colly playing this well on a 3-year $15 mil deal is starting to look mighty tasty to potential suitors.  If he gets through this ab MRI with nothing worse than a “nice six pack” prognosis, I think it’s about time to sell.  Of course Derrick Williams would be nice to dump, and, well, anyone else not named Ben McLemore (who is taking a nice step forward) would be awesome for SAC to kick out.  A nice kick in the SAC is what the Kings need!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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Hard to believe Steve Carell, half of The Ambiguosuly Gay Duo, is now an Oscar nominated actor in Foxcatcher.  That kind of ascension is bigger than a promotion from the D-League and turning into a fantasy superstar like the Hassanity!  I would say it’s about as miraculous as Brad Stevens finally getting some sense slapped into him…

We figured it would happen at some point, but the Marcus Smart reign as the Celtics starting PG appears to have begun.  Smart actually led the C’s in minutes with 37 in a 13/4/3/2/0 line.  It’s nothing too flashy, but with the role finally bequeathed unto Smart we can finally stop calling Stevens a queef.  Well, maybe not, because the Celtics coaching staff continues to mismanage Smart’s role, relegating him into a 3-point camping PG.  It’d be like trying to turn Robin Lopez into a good player!  Doesn’t make any good basketball logic…  Smart shot 3-9 last night, with 2-7 being treys.  A fantastic slasher at OK State, Stevens continually hammers this square peg into a round hole.  They had the same problem when they tried to make the R-rated version of the Lego movie!  Everything was not awesome…  If Smart is still available in your 12er, now is the time to go ahead and hop on board.  The FG% might not be awesome either, but I think he’ll fall into enough dimes and swipe enough to be usable.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy hoops action:

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Who says NBA is an indoor sport?!  Roll out the tarp!

During a rainy night in Brooklyn, all the sudden the ballboys were throwing towels on this spot on the court as somewhere in the rafters was a pretty steady leak.  I looked away from the game for a minute then looked back, and I thought at first they were cleaning up a massive bleeding injury!  At least that wasn’t the case… Ended up being about half an hour rain delay, complete with maintenance rolling out a trash can to collect the water.  It’s like Kap said when we were chattin’ last night – just like his high school gym!  The Nets arena leaking with the tears of Nets fans…

While Brooklynites had to watch a short-handed Heat team beat them at home, there’s at least some fantasy goodness to be had from some flashy younguns.  Professor Plumlee!  Young professors I bet would make a killing with college chicks… Anyway, Mason Plumlee for 21/9/1/1/1 last night, shooting 8-12 FG and leading the Nets in scoring.  Sure the Heat front line is a bunch of dudes you’ve never heard of and an over-the-chicken coup Birdman, but good to see him hitting on his potential as the starter, finally.  There’s still some blemishes – 4 TO and a surprisingly good-for-Plumlee but bad-for-real-life 5-8 FT (stop it with the hyphen phrases!), but if you can handle the FT drain or already have a FT-punting (dammit!) team, he’s a perfect fit.  I think he’s as close to a must-own in all leagues while Brook Lopez is out, but many teams don’t have a streamer spot and/or can’t handle the bad FT%.  Brolo is getting reevaluated Saturday, meaning he’s out at least three more.  So while the Nets are leaking talent, don’t let Plumlee leak through your waiver wire.  Here’s how the rest of the NBA big news shook out:

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Well, so much for the prime time matchup last night!  Yesterday afternoon LeBron James‘ knee flared up, and after a mid-afternoon report that the Cavs weren’t worried but would be cautious, they ended up holding him out.  I think LeBron was mostly worried about another Serge Ibaka wrister.

How you can finish that play after breaking your nose…?!  Legit.  Anyway, for the Cavs it didn’t mean much to the Big Two, but somehow Tristan Thompson is playing his way into relevance again.  Yes, Slim and I’s oft-discussed, Pts/Reb only Tristan Thompson – except these days he’s hitting some other cats!  14/13/1/0/2 last night, shooting 4-8 FG and 6-8 FT in 30 minutes.  He’s finally making shots at an acceptable rate this year, with his FG% at 53.6% before last night and got the blocks back up to nearly 1 a game after being at 0.4 last year in almost 6 more minutes per.  The big catalyst here is getting back that big run with the second unit.  After only topping 30 minutes one time through the first 14 games, is over 30 four of the past seven culminating in dubdubs three of the past four.  I’m frankly surprised he’s owned in 38% of Yahoo leagues already, but for the streamers/DraftKings players out there, LeBron might sit one more and assure another big workload for TT.  I don’t think he plays this much long-term, but you can get some big man stats on the cheap.  It’s no conundrum!  Here’s what else went down in the two games last night:

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Welcome back, Mr. Slim Reaper!  It’s a perfectly apt nickname too, because I own him in the JB vs. Slim RCL league and he’s going to be Slim’s reaper!  Even though I’m getting crushed this week so far…

After a decent enough start, Kevin Durant was still without the big eruption type game in his first three back, but last night dismantled the Bucks in an uber-efficient 23/9/7/1/1 game shooting 7-11 FG and 8-8 FT.  He’s worth 9 or 10 Bucks, at the least!  Was 1-5 from deep, so didn’t miss within the arc.  All of that in 29 minutes, as Beam-me-up Scotty Brooks benched the Thunder studs down the stretch of the double-digit win.  Even though this was against the young Bucks, the Thunder as a whole are coming together with Russell Westbrook having a fantastic 28/5/7 night with like, a million free throws made, and Serge Ibaka is back to his %-gold ways for 15/5/0/2/2 shooting 5-5 FG & 5-5 FT.  Durantula and Westy are going to command their first-round values in trades, but I bet you could still swindle Ibaka away at a buy-low price.  3+ blocks the past four games and 16-26 from the field his last three, and isn’t needing to force shots anymore.   Things are right in order for OKC to go on a mad run, so be counting your lucky stars if you got KD at a discount on draft day!  What we preached all preseason post-injury!  Here’s some other happenings from the NBA last night:

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