Capitals

Team component added to NBA All-Star Saturday

Team component added to NBA All-Star Saturday

NEW YORK (AP) The NBA's All-Star Saturday night is adding a team component, with the Eastern and Western Conference competing for $500,000 in charity.

The conferences will earn points based on the results of the night's four events: the Shooting Stars, the Skills Challenge, the 3-point contest and the slam dunk contest.

The league said Thursday each conference will have a captain, who along with the NBA and sponsor State Farm, will designate the charities his team is playing for. The winning conference gets $350,000 for its charities and the runner-up gets $150,000. The money is being donated by NBA Cares and State Farm.

All-Star Saturday night will be held Feb. 16 in Houston.

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Lars Eller departs the bubble for birth of his second child

Lars Eller departs the bubble for birth of his second child

Capitals forward Lars Eller has left the NHL bubble in Toronto to be with his family for the birth of his second child, the team announced Wednesday. Eller had made it known he intended to do so before even arriving in Toronto so the news of his departure is no surprise.

Eller is actually not the first player to voluntarily leave the bubble for the birth of a child. That honor goes to Ivan Barbashev of the St. Louis Blues who departed on Tuesday.

Eller’s departure means he will miss Thursday’s game, Travis Boyd is expected to step into Eller’s position at third line center. Boyd has largely been an extra for much of the season in Washington and played in only 24 games, but still managed 10 points. Boyd also has experience playing the third-line center role in the playoffs as he did it in 2018 during the team’s Cup run. An injury to Nicklas Backstrom pushed Eller into the second line, which allowed Boyd to get into the lineup.

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Eller’s return will be complicated. It is not just a matter of rejoining the team, but also being able to re-enter the NHL’s bubble which will mean a period of quarantine and testing. That means that even upon returning to Toronto, he will not be available to join the team right away. Eller will almost certainly miss the team’s final round robin game as well against the Boston Bruins on Sunday.

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Ben Simmons leaves Wizards matchup early with a knee injury

Ben Simmons leaves Wizards matchup early with a knee injury

Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons left Wednesday’s game against the Wizards late in the third quarter with an apparent left knee injury. Reports say he will not return for the remainder of the matchup.

In 23 minutes, he recorded eight points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals against Washington before leaving for the locker room early.

Simmons has been an instrumental piece of the 76ers’ success this season and would be a major loss should the injury sideline him from the remainder of play in the bubble. This season, he has averaged 16.6 points, 8.1 assists and 7.8 rebounds.

In the Sixers’ loss to Indiana on Saturday, he recorded a 19-point, 13-rebound double-double and added eight points and five assists in the win over San Antonio on Monday.

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