Adam Levitan

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LaMarcus Lost

Friday, April 13, 2012

Some would call the Blazers unlucky. Others would call their medical staff inept. I’ll just call their injury woes an opportunity for fantasy owners.

Following in the debilitating wake of Brandon Roy (knee) and Greg Oden (knee), LaMarcus Aldridge is the latest Blazers’ stud to go down. His hip has been bothering him for upwards of two months, but team doctors found no issues in MRIs. So Aldridge took it upon himself to talk to a specialist in Vail, Colorado. That doctor found a small tear in his right labrum and recommended surgery. Aldridge will have the surgery soon and then be sidelined roughly 2-4 months.

In the long-term, Aldridge is expected to be fine. The first-time All-Star had a procedure on his left hip in college, but this issue is on his right side. The procedure is arthroscopic in nature.

In the short-term, J.J. Hickson will continue to make the Kings look silly. In 12 appearances with the Blazers, Hickson has averaged 14.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks while shooting 56.6 percent from the field. In three starts, he’s ripped off 22.3 points and 11.6 rebounds. Now that Aldridge is done for the year, Hickson is locked into 32-36 minutes nightly.

On Thursday, the Wolves reiterated that Kevin Love sustained a “mild” concussion and a neck sprain Wednesday night. But anyone who watched the play wouldn’t use the word “mild,” and that includes teammate J.J. Barea.

"I knew it was bad right away," Barea said. "When he was on the floor, I saw his eyes. He was out. He was talking, but he wasn't all there."

Love spent the night in a Denver hospital and then returned to Minnesota. The Wolves haven’t ruled him out for the year, simply saying they’ll provide updates as they come. However, there’s almost no way Love could be cleared before Wednesday considering the league’s new policy. And after that, the Wolves have just three games left in the year. It would be a surprise to see Love again until 2012-13.

So what we have is a high-upside mess at power forward.

No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams only played 25 minutes Thursday night, but a lot of that had to do with foul issues. As a major piece of the future core, he is going to start and get heavy minutes the rest of the way. Don’t give up here.

Next up is mega-talent Anthony Randolph, who always seems to play his best when it counts the least. After getting 27 more minutes on Thursday, he’s well worth owning. And then we’ve got the most polished member of the group, Michael Beasley. He’ll get hot and have big games as well, like Thursday’s 14 points and 10 rebounds outing. Expect all three to divvy up 90 minutes or so nightly based on game flow.

Ray Allen’s ankle issue may be more severe than the Celtics had previously let on. He’s not traveling with the team to Toronto for Friday’s game against the Raptors and his status for the entire four-game road trip is unclear.

Making matters worse for Allen owners is how well the team has played without him. The Celtics are 11-1 when Allen sits this year and 23-23 when he plays. Over the last 10 games, new starting shooting guard Avery Bradley is averaging 11.8 points, 2.9 rebound and 1.2 assists. Yawn.

Credit Amare Stoudemire (back) for not buying into the shutdown craze that’s sweeping the NBA. He continues to rehab aggressively and now appears to be targeting April 18 for his return.

That’s great for the Knicks, but it’s likely useless for fantasy owners. The most games he’ll play in are four and minutes will be monitored closely. Move along.

Rodney Stuckey’s knee issue wasn’t a concern. All the Pistons’ starters minutes were limited because they absolutely decimated the Bobcats. … With D.J. Augustin (knee) healthy, Kemba Walker (18 minutes) is back to a strict reserve role. Very confusing. … Derrick Rose did not appear to aggravate his ankle, but was awful (1-for-13 shooting) and was benched in favor of C.J. Watson during overtime. He’ll be fine, health permitting. … Udonis Haslem replaced Ronny Turiaf as Miami’s starting center, but played just 11 minutes. … Luke Ridnour (ankle) isn’t shutting it down, but he has no target date. J.J. Barea beasted once again despite missing time to get stitches. … Nikola Pekovic’s ankles appeared healthy as he saw 32 minutes. Keep him rolling.
Mo Williams (toe) returned to action with 14 points in 19 minutes off the bench. He’ll quickly squeeze the minutes of Randy Foye and Nick Young and he ramps up to 22-26 minutes. … All of the Spurs played on Thursday. Just note that a back-to-back-to-back kicks off on Monday. … How’s this for Jason Kidd’s health? Nine points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds, three steals, three treys and two blocks against the Warriors. The problem for his 39-year-old body is the Mavs play again Friday.

Kobe Bryant (shin) remains a game-time call for Friday. … Jose Calderon (eye) is very questionable for Friday. … Corey Maggette (Achilles) is done for the season. Shocker, I know. … Tony Allen (mouth) is tentatively expected back on Saturday. … There was no word on Eric Gordon’s (back) status for Friday. Consider him a game-time call. … Wilson Chandler (hip) is doubtful for Friday. With Al Harrington (knee) playing through pain, Danilo Gallinari’s arrow is pointing straight up. … Darren Collison (groin) is expected back Friday. All George Hill owners can do is sigh.

Dwight Howard (back) is not expected to play Friday. The Glen Davis party rocks on. … Gerald Wallace (hamstring) is almost certainly out Friday. This should be exciting news for Anthony Morrow and Gerald Green, but the Nets are rolling with DeShawn Stevenson at small forward. … It’s not official yet, but the Andrea Bargnani (calf) shutdown seems inevitable. Amir Johnson is expected to play through a sore back Friday, but Ed Davis is a major threat. … Nicolas Batum (knee) is unlikely to play on both sides of back-to-backs going forward. … Paul Millsap is day-to-day with a sprained shooting wrist. But considering his toughness and Utah’s situation, I’d be surprised if he sat. … Nene Hilario (foot) went through a light practice, but is still merely hoping to be back next week. The Kevin Seraphin party isn’t slowing down.

Coach Scott Skiles blamed Ersan Ilyasova’s meager minutes Wednesday on matchups. I wouldn’t be overly concerned. … Shannon Brown may stick as a starter for now even though Grant Hill (knee) has been cleared to return. The Suns have won four of six games with Brown starting. … Trevor Ariza isn’t playing because he’s not in a contract year, according to coach Monty Williams. Yes, I’m serious.

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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