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.
Meanwhile, “Big Baby” Glen Davis still hasn’t recovered from this concussion. Doc Rivers is still yelling at him to get up.
The Pelicans finished the first half of the season without most of their top players. Jrue Holiday has been out since mid-January with a stress reaction in his right leg. The Pelicans have yet to update the status of Holiday’s leg injury, but if the initial 2-to-4 week prognosis holds up, Holiday should be returning shortly after the All-Star break.
This week, big men Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson joined Holiday on the bench. Davis took a nasty fall directly on his shoulder on Saturday night. X-rays were negative and Davis has been diagnosed with a right shoulder sprain. Davis was listed as questionable heading into Wednesday’s game, before eventually sitting the game out.
Dealing with elbow discomfort, Ryan Anderson sat the last two games before the break as well. It doesn’t sounds like either of these injuries are too serious and I would expect to see both guys back when the Pelicans play on Friday, February 20.
The Dallas Mavericks suffered a scare on Monday after both Monta Ellis and Tyson Chandler had to leave the game early. Monta Ellis left Monday’s game early with a hip injury. Fortunately, he was able to return to the court on Wednesday, preserving his consecutive game streak. Unless he suffers a setback, Ellis should be fine going forward.
Tyson Chandler wasn’t as fortunate. After rolling his ankle a minute into Monday’s game, Chandler sat out Wednesday’s game. He is without a timetable and more should be known after the break. The Mavericks signed center Bernard James to a 10-day contract, but still remain the favorites to sign Jermaine O’Neal out of retirement.
There have been rumors of a shutdown for most of the season, as Carmelo Anthony deals with knee discomfort and the Knicks continue to slide in the standings. Anthony sat out Wednesday’s game against the Magic with knee soreness, after leaving Monday’s game early in the second half.
On Thursday, Anthony told reporters that he will “very likely” be shut down after the All-Star Game. He hopes to play in Sunday’s showcase, but that could be the last we see of Anthony this season. Owners can’t do much, but hold onto him until his season is officially over. The trade window has long since closed.
When Anthony’s season is officially over, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Langston Galloway become the primary offensive weapons in New York. When starting this season, Hardaway has averaged 14.6 ppg and 2.1 3PTM, while Galloway has averaged 11.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, and 3.0 apg. Their numbers may not be consistent game to game, but someone will have to produce.
Staying in the east, Jimmy Butler had an MRI earlier in the week and it revealed a shoulder strain. He sat out Thursday’s game against the Cavs as a result and more should be known about his injury and whether or not he plays in the All-Star game on Sunday. Tony Snell has picked up the slack, scoring 24 and 22 in the last two games.
Kevin Love missed Thursday’s game against the Bulls with a corneal abrasion in his right eye. He suffered the injury during Wednesday’s game. Tristan Thompson got the start in his place on Thursday, but this should be short lived. Expect Love to be back next week.
Although he didn’t play in Wednesday’s game, Dwyane Wade did make the trip to Cleveland with his team. Wade will sit out the All-Star game, but it appears that he is progressing enough that he will return shortly after the break.
Bradley Beal missed his third straight game on Wednesday night. During an examination of his injured toe, doctors subsequently discovered a stress reaction in his leg. The stress reaction is disappointing news, especially because this is an injury that has sidelined Beal in the past. Beal will rest and be reevaluated after the All-Star break.
Darren Collison sat out Wednesday’s game against the Bucks with a strained hip flexor. It was his fourth straight game out. Should he miss any more, Ramon Sessions will continue to start. The veteran point guard, however, has done very little with the extra minutes (6.5 ppg, 4.75 apg, and 3.5 rpg).
After missing five straight games with a hip flexor injury, Jordan Hill is questionable to play for the Lakers’ first game after the break. He was given a two-week prognosis in early February and that timeline should hold.
Fellow Laker Nick Young exited Wednesday’s game early with a foot injury. Doctors diagnosed him with a peroneal tendon strain, but Young downplayed the injury. Swaggy P is apparently more concerned about being targeted by dolphins.
Lastly, Alex Len missed his third game in a row with an ankle sprain. Coach Hornacek said that Len could have played if it was a playoff game so Len should be back after the break.