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This is an article version of the CBS Sports HQ AM Newsletter, the ultimate guide to every day in sports. You can sign up to get it in your inbox every weekday morning here.

🏀 Good morning to everyone but especially ...


With little margin for error in a sprint to the finish, the Warriors are getting a key piece back, and not a moment too soon. Chris Paul, who has not played since Jan. 5 due to a hand injury, is off the injury report and expected to return tonight at the Wizards.

Paul's overall numbers -- 8.9 points per game (his lowest ever) and 7.2 assists per game (his second-lowest ever) on 42.4% shooting (his second-lowest ever) -- aren't anything special, but he's returning to a Warriors team that looks very different from when he last played. And he'll fill a crucial role, Sam Quinn writes.

  • Quinn: "Paul will likely now play more bench minutes alongside Klay Thompson, and that is a pairing that has largely worked for the Warriors this season. In roughly 500 minutes together so far, the Paul-Thompson duo has outscored opponents by 75 points this season. As a whole, the Warriors have posted a plus-4 net rating in Paul's minutes this season, which allowed Golden State to survive the notoriously precarious Stephen Curry bench minutes that have plagued the Warriors for years."

Furthermore, Paul's return will mean the Warriors (29-27) are the healthiest they've been all season with 26 games left. The Warriors are 10th in the West -- the last play-in spot -- but have won eight of their past 10 and are just a half-game behind the 9th-place Lakers and have a three-game cushion over the 11th-place Jazz.

😁 Honorable mentions

😕 Not so honorable mentions

🏈 NFL Combine predictions and bold takes, plus new mock draft


Some of the biggest names may not be participating in the NFL Combine, but there's plenty of intrigue as the week gets underway. Participants started arriving in Indianapolis, and before the on-field events begin Thursday, draft experts Josh Edwards, Ryan Wilson and Chris Trapasso answered the biggest questions and discussed top storylines. Ryan says the top storyline is ...

  • Wilson: "The quarterbacks. It's always the quarterbacks. No one will care that Caleb Williams has chosen not to throw because he's the best QB in this class, but just like the Senior Bowl, Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix still have something to prove, despite stellar college careers. And J.J. McCarthy, who is getting buzz as a top-10 pick, will have an opportunity to impress teams not only in the interviews but with his athleticism. He wasn't asked to do a lot at Michigan, but he has special physical tools that many teams think will translate at the next level."

This quarterback class is supremely talented but really hard to evaluate after Williams, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye as the consensus top three. Then QB4-QB*insert number here* is a wild ride. Do you like the explosive arm of Penix, whose injury history is a concern? The accuracy of Nix, another elder statesman who was the product of a great system? McCarthy, whose upside and questions Wilson hit on? You can make the argument for any of them; I think I'm leaning McCarthy for QB4, but we're about to learn a lot.

If you're feeling the need for speed over the slowest part of the offseason, Edwards, Wilson and Trapasso also made predictions for fastest 40 time and plenty more.

We also have ...

⚾ Ranking MLB's top 10 starting rotations

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We're one month and one day away from Opening Day, and Matt Snyder's Power Rankings this week are focused on pitching -- specifically the top 10 staffs in the league. Coming in at No. 1 is ...

  • Snyder: "1. Braves -- As good as the Braves were in the regular season last year, some people might be under the misconception that they had everything break right. No, the rotation was injury-riddled and they had to throw some rookies in the fire. The experience gained by Bryce Elder will pay dividends behind aces Spencer Strider and Max Fried. Veterans Charlie Morton and Chris Sale mean it's a five-deep collection of potential studs. There's depth, too."

Meanwhile, the Dodgers -- the only team behind Atlanta in Matt's overall Power Rankings -- come in fifth in the staff rankings. Just behind them is another one of MLB's most expensive teams.

  • Snyder: "6. Yankees -- Gerrit Cole is the most reliable workhorse in the league and he's an ace on top of that. On the flip side, the rest of the group of full of volatility in terms of possible outcomes, namely from Carlos RodónMarcus Stroman and Nestor Cortes. In the last few years, though, we've seen ace-like runs from all three, meaning there will be stretches when the Yankees look stellar on the mound. The depth could become a big issue, though."

🏀 Breanna Stewart re-signs with Liberty


After coming up just short of a title in her first year with the Liberty, Breanna Stewart is returning to the Big Apple on a discount, signing a one-year, non-guaranteed, below-max deal.

  • Stewart, 29, won her second career MVP and was selected to the All-Star Game, All-WNBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team after averaging a career-high 23 points. She had four 40-point games, a single-season WNBA record.
  • The superteam Liberty fell short of their ultimate goal, losing to the Aces in four games in the Finals. Stewart in particular struggled, and she went just 3 of 17 in the clinching Game 4, which New York lost by just one point.
  • Stewart was the top free agent in Jack Maloney's rankings.

The Liberty had used the "core" designation -- which came with a one-year maximum contract and gave New York exclusive negotiating rights -- on Stewart, so her returning isn't a surprise. Still, it's a big step for the Liberty, which also retained Jonquel Jones earlier this offseason. With Stewart and Jones officially returning alongside Sabrina Ionescu and Courtney Vandersloot, New York will be the favorite in the East and a major threat to supplant Las Vegas, the two-time defending champions.

📺 What we're watching Tuesday

🏀 Davidson at No. 21 Dayton (M), 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
🏀 No. 16 Kentucky at Mississippi State (M), 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Cincinnati at No. 1 Houston (M), 7 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 76ers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 Texas at Texas Tech (M), 9 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Rockets at Thunder, 10 p.m. on TNT
🏀 San Jose State at No. 20 San Diego State (M), 11 p.m. on CBS Sports Network