New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire waits to take a foul shot against the New Orleans Hornets in the second half of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York

Stoudemire return date pushed back to April 13 at earliest

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Not that anybody was really expecting Amare Stoudemire back soon anyway….

But the dates for Stoudemire’s return got pushed back a little bit more. According to Newsday, Stoudemire will be out 2-4 weeks from when he got the epidural shot in his back, not from the injury.

That was last Thursday. So the earliest Stoudemire could return is April 13 against Washington, which doesn’t seem likely at this point.

“It’s still day-to-day,” interim coach Mike Woodson said. “You’re talking 2-4 weeks maybe, if that. I keep saying day-to-day in hopes that he might come back. After taking the shot, they’re still saying 2-4 weeks. All I can do is wait. Two to four weeks can’t come fast enough, put it that way.”

If two weeks is April 13 four weeks would be April 27 — the playoffs start April 28. How much help would Stoudemire be for the Knicks if he comes back rusty for the playoffs (and still maybe not able to play at 100 percent).

So far it hasn’t been a huge problem — the Knicks have been able to win enough to hold on to a playoff spot without Stoudemire or Jeremy Lin, and with a banged up Stoudemire. But the Knicks didn’t come into this season with the goal of just making the playoffs, and it’s hard to see how a first round playoff series with the Bulls works out well for them.

Al Horford shows he still has hops dunking on Solomon Hill (VIDEO)

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That’s just nasty.

Atlanta’s Al Horford gets the ball out high, but within his range, so when he pump fakes Indiana’s Lavoy Allen goes flying by. That opens up the lane and Horford attacks it, Solomon Hill tries to cut him off, but Horford just finishes threw him.

Pacers and Hawks played an entertaining, close game Friday night.

Dwyane Wade shows he still has hops with dunk on Hornets (VIDEO)

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Dwyane Wade still has some springs.

In what may be his best dunk in recent memory, he shoulders Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to create space in transition, then gets up and throws it down before Nicolas Batum can get there for the block.

Not sure even Wade saw that one coming.

Reigning dunk champ LaVine: ‘I’ve got tricks up my sleeve’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is heading back to All-Star weekend to defend his slam dunk title. And he says he has “a few tricks up my sleeve” after dominating the event last year.

LaVine will compete against Detroit center Andre Drummond, Denver swingman Will Barton and Orlando forward Aaron Gordon in Toronto next weekend.

LaVine was one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend last year with his electric performance in the dunk contest. He says he debated about coming back and made his decision after strong encouragement from his fans.

If LaVine wins, he will become the fourth player in the 31-year history of the event to repeat as champion. Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson are the others.

Report: Blake Griffin has second procedure on hand, timeline remains unchanged

Blake Griffin
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Blake Griffin will still return to the Clippers some time in March (barring any setbacks).

That said, he had a second procedure this week to repair the boxer’s fracture in his right hand, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a second procedure this week on his broke right hand, sources told ESPN. The procedure was a part of the original surgery last week, so sources said the 4-6 week timeframe for his return remains unchanged.

This might help explain why Griffin’s hand looked so swollen and scarred this week. But to be clear, this was a planned second procedure, not a setback.

Griffin suffered the fracture punching a Clippers’ equipment manager while everyone was out to dinner in Toronto recently, while Griffin was still sidelined with a quadricep injury. The Clippers have moved on, but it is likely the league will tack on a couple of game suspension for Griffin upon his return to health.

And no, the Clippers are not looking to trade Griffin in spite of this. So stop asking.