Simply put, Wednesday night was madness. There is a whole lot to get into so I’m not going to waste any time with the foreplay.
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ONE FULL PAGE OF INJURY NEWS
Chris Paul (hamstring) finally returned to action after a five-game absence, scoring just four points on 2-of-8 shooting with four rebounds, 12 assists, and a steal in 27 minutes. He emerged unscathed as far as we can tell, and that leaves Mo Williams (16 points) and his owners hoping for some late-round value going forward. Don’t drop Williams until he forces you to, as he has been on fire lately.
Andrea Bargnani broke owners’ hearts after leaving last night’s game due to the same calf injury that cost him six games, and of course he was having a great night before the injury with 25 points, three treys, five rebounds, and four assists. He was “walking gingerly” and couldn’t put much weight on his calf, and he’ll be out indefinitely and my guess is we’re looking at weeks and not days. Look for Amir Johnson (six points, one board, three blocks, 24 minutes) to be pressed into action, and if Johnson is still in Dwane Casey’s doghouse Ed Davis and Aaron Gray would be the next guys up from a fantasy perspective. Johnson should be owned in all 12-team, 8- and 9-cat leagues, while the other two should simply be watched. This also helps the cause of James Johnson, who posted a typical two points on 1-of-4 shooting with five boards, one assist, one steal, and six blocks over 39 minutes in the Raptors’ double-overtime win over the Jazz.
Al Jefferson hurt his ankle in shootaround and upon leaving told the media he simply needed to use the restroom, but really he meant to take a dump on owners who were made to think that Big Al was going to play. Once late-breaking news hit that he would be out, Derrick Favors was given the start and promptly put up 16 points, 12 boards, and a block. It’s pretty easy to point out that when one of Big Al, Favors, or Paul Millsap is out that the others are going to do well. Jefferson was in a walking boot, which doesn’t mean much of anything these days, and he’s questionable for Friday’s game. Beyond that, your guess is as good as ours about how serious it is, though we get the sense we’re measuring days and not weeks. Don’t go adding Favors unless we get news that it’s the latter.
Ty Lawson left last night’s game with a sprained ankle and said afterward that he’ll probably miss a few days. Lawson is always a bit overoptimistic with his injuries and needs to be held back by the coaching staff at times. Andre Miller (15 points, four rebounds, 10 assists) was playing well enough to be owned before the injury and with this news he should be owned in all formats. Likewise, Arron Afflalo was playing well enough to be owned in many 12-team, 8- and 9-cat leagues, so it stands to reason that this news can only help him while he recovers from his groin injury. Corey Brewer (15 points, blowout) is the deep-league spot-service special if Lawson misses a few games, and you can add Rudy Fernandez (Achilles) to that list if he can get back on the court.
Dwyane Wade (ankle) was moving well before Wednesday’s game but did not go, so we’ll do it all over again on Friday against the Knicks.
Andrew Bogut left Wednesday’s game with a seemingly severe ankle sprain, and will “likely miss a couple of games” according to beat writer Gery Woelfel. That means it’s Drew Gooden time, even though his 11 points, two rebounds, and a rare 3-point bucket didn’t scream ‘take me.’ Gooden has averaged about 15 and nine in five starts this season in place of Bogut. That’s good enough to add over the short-term unless your fantasy squad is set down low.
Luol Deng (wrist) said that he will play on Sunday against the Heat, which is a big game to circle if you’re Deng. Sadly, he’s not favored to produce like he did before the injury if he’s playing hurt, with Richard Hamilton ready to steal touches at his side.
Spencer Hawes (Achilles) did not play and there is no timetable for Nikola Vucevic (knee/quad) to return. It sounds like Hawes is going to beat him back, as Doug Collins said he was getting “closer to a return.” That report was updated to say he would probably be back no later than early next week. If you weathered the storm it’s definitely time to hold Hawes with Vucevic looking like he could be out for a bit and nobody else to push him. Just be ready to move him if he starts putting up numbers again and news on Vucevic isn’t too bad. There’s just too much injury risk and threat to his playing time as Vucevic develops.
MarShon Brooks (Achilles) did not play on Wednesday but hopes to be back Friday. Anthony Morrow scored 16 points with two threes and Jordan Farmar had 12 points with two threes of his own. While Morrow will almost certainly go back to the bench when Brooks returns, I like him to hold late round value once the peaks and valleys are ironed out.
Baron Davis (back) did not play last night after some talk that he would, and one has to wonder what we’re really looking at here. It seems like he’s not so sure he can perform and is buying time. That said, he’s still worth holding and/or adding if you are in need of a point guard.
Marcus Thornton (thigh) has a “significant hematoma,” which is where blood pools near blood vessels instead of under the skin where bruising shows. In English, that’s not good, and he’s expected to miss 1-2 weeks.
Gerald Henderson (back) was a last second scratch on Wednesday after taking a fall in Tuesday’s game. There’s no indication that the injury is serious. Matt Carroll played well with a season-high 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting in 35 minutes, but he needs much more of that to matter in fantasy leagues or in Charlotte.
Luke Ridnour did not play on Wednesday due to a sore left knee. This came out of nowhere so the severity of the injury is unknown. Wayne Ellington started in his place and scored 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting with a three, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, and two blocks in nearly 40 minutes of action. He has been inconsistent, but he has also shown flashes of utility and my best guess is that Rick Adelman’s offense is the rising tide that lifts all boats in Minny. There’s not enough for an add, but if playing time ever opens for Ellington don’t hold his career-to-date against him too heavily.
Chris Kaman was inactive without having any injury. He’s either falling out of the rotation or (if you’re into conspiracy theories) involved in a trade, but hoping for the latter means you’re wearing a tin hat (hey, I do).
Thaddeus Young played through a lower back contusion he suffered last night, finishing with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting and five boards. If anything happens there it’ll boost the usual suspects – Evan Turner, Lou Williams, and Jodie Meeks (in that order)
Rodney Stuckey (groin) was pulled off the Rotoworld injury report after scoring 15 points with four boards, six assists, and a steal. He may be back on it eventually, but owners can slowly take their finger off the panic button.
Gerald Wallace played through his finger injury but it may be causing him to shy away from the action, as he had just six points and six rebounds in 32 minutes. As long as he’s healthy, he needs to be in your lineup, though, as this is his absolute ‘floor’ when he plays.
Nick Collison (ankle) did play 17 minutes last night, but Serge Ibaka looked good with 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting with seven rebounds and two blocks. And wouldn’t you know it – the beat writer in Oklahoma City and Scott Brooks were synchronized in saying how much Ibaka has changed. The writer then discussed some short-comings in man-defense for Ibaka, and frankly I don’t have the time to go to the tape each time one of them tries to justify why he’s not on the court. Four times now I’ve gone to the tape and seen nothing but good defense after the comments from the peanut gallery say otherwise, and four times it has been nothing but bunk. I’ll go and check it out again just to do my job, but the general public will eat that type of stuff up and think that magically Ibaka changed his ways. Whatever. It’s good for owners, though, because the storyline indicates that Brooks is moving more toward playing Ibaka. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was making better eye-contact during rah-rah speeches in the locker room.