The NBA is back! After what seemed like an eternity, the four-day All-Star break is over and we have nine games on the docket tonight. Most of you have to set lineups by 7:00 tonight, so here’s a look at some of the key injury news heading into Week 10. The season is only 18 weeks long this year, and Week 18 is a short one, meaning the playoffs are right around the corner. Here’s what you need to know.
Kobe Bryant – I re-watched the end of the All-Star Game on Monday night and am baffled by Kobe’s late efforts in that game. He has a broken nose and (possibly) a mild concussion, but was still out there getting it done, talking trash and playing as if it were a regular game. He’s going to be iffy for Wednesday, but my guess is he’ll play in all three of the Lakers’ games this week, starting tomorrow against the Timberwolves. Whether or not he has a concussion is up for debate, but the fact the latest reports say he does not have one further increase his chances of playing. I’d start him this week if I owned him.
Stephen Curry – Curry missed Monday’s practice and is very iffy for tonight’s game at Indiana with a sprained deltoid ligament in his right foot. The Warriors have four games this week and I am leaning toward rolling the dice on him, in hopes that he’ll play in three games, and possibly all four. Curry always seems to come back sooner than he should from his injuries, but starting him this week is a true roll of the dice. Hopefully you’re in a daily league and can play it by ear until we know more. The latest news is that he plans on testing his foot in Tuesday’s shootaround, but it sounds like the training staff will make the call on whether or not he plays tonight. Consider him a true game-time decision for Tuesday at Indy.
Andrew Bynum – Bynum left the All-Star Game early due to a sore knee and the fact he received a Synvisc injection on Friday. He says he will play on Wednesday against Minnesota and I have no reason to doubt him. If you own him, he looks like a solid start with three games, and my guess is he plays in all three of them.
Carmelo Anthony – Melo’s groin injury is no longer an issue and he looked good in the All-Star Game. But if you play in a weekly league, put him on your bench as the Knicks only have two games this week. I’m starting Nicolas Batum over him in League Freak, and am hoping that Melo makes all of this season’s misery up to me/us with a strong run after this week. This was not the year to own Melo, at least in the first half of the season, and he could be a nice buy-low for the second half. But make sure you don’t overpay.
Joe Johnson – Johnson missed a couple games heading into the break but has had plenty of time to rest his right knee tendinitis. He sounds good to go for Wednesday against the Warriors and the Hawks have three games this week. If that number works for you, go ahead and run him out there.
Rajon Rondo – Rondo played in the All-Star Game and his two-game suspension has run its course. The Celtics play four times this week and Rondo should be in most fantasy lineups for the rest of the season.
Ty Lawson – Lawson’s ankle is still a minor concern, but the kid has had eight full days to rest the injury and sounds very likely to play against the Blazers on Wednesday. The Nuggets only play three games this week, so make sure Lawson is your best bet before playing him. Also beware that Lawson’s return should negatively impact Andre Miller, who should move back to the bench.
Nene – Nene has missed seven straight games with a calf injury and while he should be back “soon,” I need to see him in uniform before playing him in fantasy. We don’t know if he’ll be fully healthy again this season, but he’ll at least be startable once he’s back in action. The nuggets only have three games this week, so make sure he’s still on your bench if you have other options.
Danilo Gallinari – Gallo has missed 10 straight games with a severely sprained ankle and while he might return at some point this week, he needs to be on fantasy benches until we get a specific target date on his return.
Corey Maggette - Maggette is dealing with right knee inflamation and missed Monday's practice. He's constantly injured and while he's been playing well, he's still a big injury risk going forward. If he's out on Wednesday, Reggie Williams could get the start and have a nice game.
Gerald Henderson - Henderson is due back on Wednesday from a hamstring injury after missing nine games, but will come off the bench. If Maggette is out, look for Kemba Walker and Reggie Williams to start for the Bobcats. But once Henderson and Maggette are healthy, the starting five in Charlotte should be D.J. Augustin, Henderson, Maggette, Boris Diaw and Bismack Biyombo.
Zach Randolph – Randolph has a full-contact practice in his future, but until you hear a specific date for when he’ll play for the Grizzlies again, keep him on your bench. Especially since they only go three times in Week 10.
Lamar Odom - Odom remains out indefinitely on a personal leave, but wasn't offering much fantasy value when he was playing. You can probably find a better option on the wire.
Roddy Beaubois - Beaubois practiced on Monday and should be good to go this week for four games. He's a risky play as long as Jason Kidd is healthy, but keep in mind the Mavericks play five games next week, meaning Beaubois will be worth grabbing in some leagues if he shows signs of life this week.
Kris Humphries – Humphries sounds like he’s good to go tonight at Dallas after missing Wednesday’s game with a minor calf injury. The Nets only have three games this week, but if you want to start Humphries, it sounds like he’s good to go.
Ekpe Udoh – Udoh is dealing with a sore knee and is also coming off the bench, but he was able to finish his last game and Mark Jackson says he’s going to get heavy minutes going forward. The Warriors play four games this week and if you want to put Udoh into a center slot, he should rack up some boards and blocks, but his offensive game is lacking.
The Bucks – Mike Dunleavy (ankle) and Stephen Jackson (hamstring) are both hurting for the Bucks, and even if they were fully healthy, I wouldn’t start either one of them in most leagues. Carlos Delfino is getting all the small forward minutes right now, and Jackson missed Monday’s practice and remains in Scott Skiles’ doghouse. However, Dunleavy wasn’t mentioned in the injury report by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and appears to have practiced on Monday. If you’re desperate for a decent four-game option in a deep league, he’s worth considering.
Drew Gooden practiced on Monday and sounds like a go on Tuesday after missing the last four games with a ligament tear in his wrist. He could have a setback, but all indications are that he will play tonight, making him a decent option at center with four games this week. Jon Leuer missed practice due to an illness, but has no fantasy value – especially with Gooden on his way back.
The Hornets - Emeka Okafor is expected back “soon” from his knee injury and could very well play Tuesday night against the Bulls. The Hornets have four games this week and Okafor might be worth a go if you need a center. His return might limit Chris Kaman’s production some, but he still looks like a solid fantasy play as well. Jason Smith is due back from a concussion this week but my guess is Gustavo Ayon will continue to get solid minutes at power forward, while Carl Landry’s status is still up in the air as he recovers from a sprained MCL. It’s going to get crowded up front again once they’re all healthy. Eric Gordon remains out indefinitely with his cartilage issue in his knee and I’m not sure he’ll even play this season. Marco Belinelli remains a decent option, along with Trevor Ariza, as long as Gordon is out.
Jameer Nelson – Nelson missed Thursday’s game due to a knee injury but participated in the Shooting Stars event in Orlando over the weekend. Given that he was healthy enough for a meaningless event over All-Star Weekend, he should be good to go Wednesday at Washington.
Elton Brand – Brand practiced on Monday and should be a go for Tuesday at Detroit. The Sixers go four times this week and while Brand could suffer a setback with his thumb at any time, he’s a decent play this week.
Spencer Hawes – Hawes is expected to miss a couple more weeks due to his Achilles injury and I’m losing all patience with him. I have to hang onto him in my 30-team league, and am also still holding him in another deep league, but all the promise he was showing early has been wiped out after missing the last nine games. He’s played in just two of his last 21 games and there’s probably no reason to hold him in most leagues.
Wesley Matthews – Matthews has already been dealt a serious fantasy blow by the emergence of new starter Nicolas Batum, and is dealing with a sprained left ankle that forced him from Tuesday’s game. We’re awaiting a new update on his status, but with three games, I’d try to find someone else to start this week.
The Spurs – Manu Ginobili’s lost season continues and it sounds like he’s due to miss another couple weeks with his strained oblique. Gary Neal should see some solid run in his absence, but Gregg Popovich is simply too unpredictable for any Spurs reserves to be relied upon. Kawhi Leonard (calf) and Tiago Splitter (calf) missed the All-Star Weekend festivities with their injuries and aren’t worth starting in fantasy for now. Splitter will likely have some value once he’s back from his injury, but with three games this week and two games in Week 11, you can probably find more value on your waiver wire.
Linas Kleiza – Kleiza practiced on Monday and is expected to play for the Raptors Tuesday after missing three games with a sore knee. The Raptors have four games this week and Kleiza is probably worth a roll of the dice if you’re holding a guy like Stephen Jackson. He’s averaging nearly 16 points, five boards, a steal and two 3-pointers over his last five games, but it’s hard to say how he’ll do coming off the injury.
Andrea Bargnani – Bargnani didn’t practice on Monday but is supposed to travel with the Raptors for Tuesday and Wednesday’s games. They’ll likely want him to get a practice in before playing, so I’d leave him benched until you see him in action, or until we get a solid report of exactly when he’ll play again.
If a guy you were wondering about wasn't listed here, simply click on this link for the entire injury report. Additionally, I anticipate a lot of updates today as practices and shootarounds resume, so hit that refresh button on the player news blurbs to keep up with all the news heading into gametime. Good luck in Week 10!