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Stars come and go

Chris Paul returned to the court on December 4th, and stepped right back into the flow.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - As with every other fantasy sport, NBA injuries play a major role in determining winners and losers. So for many fantasy owners, it was a beautiful sight, seeing New Orleans point guard Chris Paul and Dallas forward Josh Howard return to the floor.

Paul returned to the basketball court on December 4th, and stepped right back into the flow. He played 38 minutes in the first game, scoring 16 points, dishing out 15 assists, grabbing a season-high eight steals and hauling in six rebounds.

"I think it was the adrenaline," he said. "I got to the game early and had a nice workout. I was nervous. I give credit to my teammates for bearing with me and having confidence in me."

And as fantasy owners, we should also have complete confidence that Paul is back. Game two of his return saw him play 39 minutes and score 15 points and collect 12 assists. It appears that his scoring numbers are down a bit, to be expected, but he's playing well and the team in winning. The points will come.

Another fantasy star, Howard, returned to the lineup after missing 13 games with a sore left ankle. Howard had missed the first five games of the season after off-season ankle surgery, played three games in early November before re- injuring the foot. This time he appears healthier, although the team will probable bring him along slower than Paul.

Howard played 26 minutes in his return, coming off the bench to score 20 points and grab six rebounds.

While these two players had fantasy owners smiling, there were other owners who weren't so happy.

That's because Danny Granger (24.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.6 apg) is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with a torn right plantar fascia. It's a major blow to the first-round draft choice and none of the Pacers' replacement players can give you anything like those numbers. The Pacers host Portland tonight, so we'll see if anyone steps up in the "Granger role." My guess is that Mike Dunleavy will benefit the most, but he certainly won't put up Granger numbers on a consistent basis.

Speaking of Portland, Greg Oden is hurt again. No big surprise and likely not a huge hit to your fantasy squad if you had him on your roster. Oden's spot in the starting lineup will be taken by Joel Przybilla who can put up similar numbers to Oden. That's not saying much as No.1 pick of the 2007 NBA Draft has averaged just 11.1 ppg and 8.5 rpg.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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