Adam Levitan

The Daily Dose

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Damaged Rose

Friday, March 23, 2012

When it comes to the big picture, the Bulls get it.

They know that the only thing stopping them from a rematch with the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals is an injury. So when it comes to the health of Derrick Rose’s groin, they will take no chances.

"We just want him to make progress,” coach Tom Thibodeau said earlier this week. “When he's healthy, he's healthy. We're not going to rush him back. We want him to be completely healthy. We think that's important."

Rose originally sustained the injury back on March 12 when he took off wrong while going for a layup against Jeremy Lin. He played through it to the tune of 32 points in 42 minutes that night, but actually made the injury worse.

Since then, Rose hasn’t even been able to run. He’s missed five straight games and is not expected to play Saturday either. Top beat writer K.C. Johnson is now calling the reigning MVP “week-to-week.”

All owners can do is continue to spot-start explosive backup C.J. Watson. In 13 starts this season, Watson is averaging 12.8 points, 4.2 assists, 1.9 3-pointers and 1.1 steals. It’s a reasonable expectation for the foreseeable future.

Owners of Spurs veterans already had a serious problem on their hands due to the schedule. Beginning Friday, San Antonio will play five games in six nights. During stretches like this, coach Gregg Popovich has shown no hesitation when it comes to simply tanking a game in exchange for rest for Tony Parker and Tim Duncan.

Matters took a turn for the worse on Wednesday night when Parker sustained a left hamstring strain and was unable to return. Even if the injury is “mild,” as expected, it’s just an excuse for Parker to take plenty of time off during this stretch.

Enter Gary Neal, who is an undersized shooting guard that has been masquerading as a backup point guard for much of the season. In seven starts this year, he’s averaging 12.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 3-pointers. Deep-leaguers should be aware.

The Warriors are expected to make a decision by either this weekend or early next week on Stephen Curry’s (ankle/foot) status. At this point, it would be a surprise if the headline didn’t read “Stephen Curry finally shut down for season.” Curry is the future of the franchise and the team is in tank mode. There’s absolutely no incentive to risk further aggravation.

Nate Robinson has done just about what we thought he would with his seven starts, averaging 14.4 points, 6.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.4 3-pointers per game. Nasty Nate.

Marvin Williams (hip) is expected back on Friday. He’s not expected to get his starting gig back.

The Hawks like rolling with a three-guard lineup of Jeff Teague, Kirk Hinrich and Joe Johnson. In Hinrich’s 12 starts this year, the Hawks are 8-4. However, he’s averaging just 8.8 points, 2.9 assists, 1.3 3-pointers and 0.7 steals in those games. Productivity concerns for fantasy owners remain and Williams returning can only mean less minutes and shots, even if/when Hinrich sticks as the starter.

1. Mo Williams left with a left toe injury and did not return. X-rays were negative, but Williams already had a down arrow thanks to Nick Young’s arrival.

2. Trevor Booker played 32 minutes, but after the game he said he feels like he “has a nail” in his left heel. He tweeted a picture of himself in a walking boot. Although Booker says he hopes to miss no time, there’s plenty of reason for skepticism. 

3. Jason Thompson continued his stunningly torrid streak, ripping the Jazz for 19 points and 15 rebounds in 31 minutes. But with less than 10 seconds to go, he sustained an ankle/foot injury and could not put any weight on his left side. He had to be helped to the locker room and it had the looks of a pretty serious sprain. With J.J. Hickson in Portland, Chuck Hayes is the add here. UPDATE: After the game, Thompson called the sprain minor and said he expects to play Saturday. We'll see.

4. Trevor Ariza left in the third quarter with an ankle injury and didn’t return. Xavier Henry finished out the game at small forward. Yawn.

Jason Smith made his return to the starting lineup, replacing Gustavo Ayon. He posted 17 points, eight boards and two blocks, but also clubbed Blake Griffin on a fast break. Smith is likely facing a suspension after getting ejected. … Greg Steimsma had five blocks and is now averaging 2.7 blocks over his last nine games. … It’s not just minutes Mike Dunleavy is losing with Monta Ellis in town -- it’s shots as well. Dunleavy got just eight up Thursday. … Chandler Parsons went off for 20 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. He’s playing some backup point guard and taking on a bigger role thanks to the Rockets’ injuries. … It doesn’t matter how much of a slump Nicolas Batum ever gets in. His game is a roto-dream. Hang on tight. … Tyreke Evans was given the choice if he wanted to start or come off the bench. Weird. Regardless, he’ll almost certainly start over John Salmons next game.

Kevin Martin (shoulder) hasn’t practiced or played in 10 days. There’s no target date for his return, locking Courtney Lee into heavy minutes. … There’s nothing new to report on Kyle Lowry (bacterial infection). He doesn’t have a target date either and there’s speculation he could miss a couple more weeks. … Rudy Fernandez (back) is out for at least the rest of the regular season. … Jerryd Bayless (hip pointer) is day-to-day. He won’t push starter Jose Calderon from the training table. … Rodney Stuckey (toe) is questionable for Friday. If he returns, it’ll be a major blow to those that added Ben Gordon Wednesday. Gordon averages just 23.5 minutes per game as a reserve.

Nikola Pekovic (ankles) has been sent back to Minnesota for rehab. He’s tentatively targeting Sunday for a return, leaving rookie Derrick Williams as an interesting deep-league option Friday. … LeBron James (head, elbow) is sore but will be fine for Friday. … Corey Maggette (back) missed practice Thursday and is questionable for Friday. Reggie Williams is the handcuff. … Joel Anthony (ankle) is ready to return. … Shawn Marion (knee) is targeting Friday for his return. It’s bad news for those that have been riding Roddy Beaubois.

Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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