This Saturday's Dose is dominated by in-depth injury updates -- a lot of guys are hurting, there were multiple surprise DNPs on Friday, and the importance of players' health can hardly be overstated. Some news and notes follow, recapping Friday's games and looking ahead to the weekend, so let's get going.
Brook Lopez was diagnosed with a sprained ligament in his foot and has already been ruled out for two games (Saturday at Miami and Tuesday vs. OKC). There are a few positive notes for owners, however, as the tests revealed no further damage, particularly relating to the fracture that ended his 2011-12 season, and the Nets' have a light schedule this week, allowing him to rehab without missing many games.
Chandler Parsons is a game-time decision vs. Utah on Saturday with his strained shoulder, which was originally called a bone bruise, while Carlos Delfino (groin) is expected to play vs. the Jazz. Delfino is coming off a seven-game absence and he seems too risky to use in fantasyland, while Parsons' owners should be on red-alert for updates throughout the day -- he's a must-start fantasy option when healthy, and his owners deserve a congratulatory exploding fist bump.
Steve Blake's abdominal injury sounds more severe every day -- the latest update is that his "tissues are torn from the bone," which sounds horribly painful. He's been ruled out for two weeks but should be considered 'out indefinitely'.
Meanwhile, Steve Nash's fractured fibula is not causing him pain, but he too remains out indefinitely. It sounds like his nerve damage has healed or at least subsided, and he's resumed jogging and agility drills, but owners have no choice but to bench him until we know for sure that he's ready to play. I believe he'll be worth the wait.
Out of nowhere, Tyreke Evans was sidelined by a bruised left knee on Friday. He's listed as day-to-day and Keith Smart said that Evans could play vs. the Clippers on Saturday, but it makes more sense for the Kings to rest him until Wednesday's game, which kicks off a back-loaded week with games on Friday and Saturday. Prior to the DNP, Tyreke had scored 18+ points in five consecutive games, shooting 54.7 percent from the field, while racking up solid rebounds and assists in a featured role with more PG duties. Smart apparently wants to play him more minutes going forward, suggesting that the surge is sustainable. Marcus Thornton scored 15 points in 33 minutes as a fill-in starter, which isn't great, but he'll post big numbers if Tyreke misses more games.
Derrick Favors strained the arch in his right foot on Friday, or perhaps he just aggravated the injury since he said he's been playing through it for a few games. He's doubtful to play the Rockets on Saturday, which spells success for Paul Millsap and should also open up minutes for Enes Kanter.
Jameer Nelson was a surprise scratch on Friday with a sore left Achilles, thrusting E'Twaun Moore into the starting lineup (where he had 13 points, four rebounds and four assists). Jameer looked good last week but he's a perpetual injury risk, so plan accordingly.
Brandon Jennings miraculously didn't miss any games after hurting his ankle this week, but Beno Udrih won't be so lucky -- he's scheduled to have an MRI on his sprained ankle Saturday, so there's no chance he'll face the Celtics, and I'd be very surprised to see him in Monday's game at New Orleans.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (knee) is finally ready to return for the Bucks on Saturday, but he's not going to help fantasy owners. Scott Skiles' rotations are as stable as Francium, the Bucks already have too many big men fighting for minutes, and LRMM doesn't have a fantasy-friendly game anyway. By the way, can we settle on a reasonable nickname for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute? I used to call him Prince because he is, in fact, a prince in his native Cameroon, but I feel like very few people still understand the reference.
Tony Allen missed Friday's game due to a strained groin and it seems unlikely that he'd be ready to play on Saturday, considering how touchy groin injuries can be. Wayne Ellington started at SG in his place vs. the Pistons but shot just 1-of-9 for three points in 32 minutes.
Malcolm Lee was also out with a groin injury for the Wolves on Friday, which moved J.J. Barea into the starting SG spot alongside Luke Ridnour. Barea scored 15 points with one 3-pointer and five assists and would be worth deploying if Lee's injury keeps him out for an extended period of time, though Barea will likely shift back to a reserve role sooner rather than later.
Ricky Rubio (knee) is expected to practice without limitations on Saturday. He'll be monitored for a few days, and possibly a few weeks, but his return is very near and owners should absolutely stash him if he's still floating on the waiver wire.
Who would have suspected that Rubio would return before John Wall? I sure didn't, and to my chagrin Wall remains out indefinitely with a stress reaction in his knee. The Wizards have been tight-lipped about his status (other than to say there have been no setbacks) and they haven't offered a return date -- I applaud their circumspection, but it's doing fantasy owners no favors. Hang in there.
Marvin Williams is traveling with the Jazz but remains day-to-day with concussion-like symptoms. He's still suffering headaches, which is something his fantasy owners can relate to.
Nene played 18 minutes off the bench but his ongoing injuries mean that he'll yo-yo in and out of the injury report for Washington. Stash him if you must, but avoid him if you can.
Back, Back, Back...Jason Kidd, Andrei Kirilenko and Kyle Korver are all day-to-day with back injuries. An MRI on Kidd's back was negative but he's not expected to play Sunday. Kirilenko went down Wednesday with back spasms and said it typically takes a week for them to subside, which leaves him iffy for games on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. Korver aggravated his back injury by trying to play on Wednesday and he'll likely rest until he's 100 percent, but the good news is Atlanta doesn't play until Wednesday's game vs. the Nuggets.
Darren Collison is expected to play through his finger injury on Saturday, but he's been displaced in the starting lineup by none other than Derek Fisher. Rick Carlisle likes Collison coming off the bench, where he can provide a much-needed offensive spark while masking his sub-par defense. It seems like a solid move for the Mavs in reality, but it's all downside in fantasy leagues -- Fisher won't offer significant value, and Collison's production seems sure to decline in conjunction with his 32 minutes per game.
Gerald Henderson's sprained foot has improved enough that he scrimmaged on Thursday, and it's possible that he'll return to action vs. the Blazers on Monday or the Knicks on Wednesday. He should be a reliable fantasy option as the Bobcats' starting SG, and his return takes the shine off strong recent play from Jeffery Taylor (13 steals and 10 three-pointers in the past five games), Ramon Sessions (18 points and eight assists on Wednesday) and Ben Gordon (coming off a game with 27 points and seven 3-pointers). Charlotte has lost three straight to fall to 7-8 on the season, and I expect Henderson to get heavy run as soon as he returns.
Rajon Rondo will serve the second game of his suspension on Saturday, after which he'll start rebuilding his double-digit assists streak vs. the Wolves on Wednesday.
Richard Jefferson remains day-to-day with a strained calf. RJ faces Powerball odds to hold fantasy value this year, but it's worth pointing out that starting SF Harrison Barnes is in the midst of a wicked slump -- in the past four games he's averaging 6.3 points on 34 percent shooting, with 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals and not a single blocked shot.
Andrew Bogut (ankle) remains out indefinitely, and I must take a moment to reflect upon the absurdity of the situation. The Warriors were so desperate to sell their fan base on the viability of Bogut as a franchise center, thus justifying the trade of popular Monta Ellis, that they blatantly lied about his timetable, hid the fact that he underwent microfracture surgery, and attempted to thrust him into action before he was physically prepared or mentally ready to do so. They aren't the first franchise to be so cynically deceitful, and they won't be the last, but I feel awful on behalf of Warriors fans and above all Bogut himself, who has sounded equal parts contrite and disconcerted by the way Golden State has mishandled his rehab. As if the situation weren't sad enough, GM Bob Myers admitted recently that he's "not sure" if Bogut will require further surgery.
Andrew Bynum remains out indefinitely with bone bruises and weakened cartilage in both knees. It's truly unknown when or if he will return this season.
The Bulls have been silent on Derrick Rose's rehab, but we do know that he's been able to 'cut' on his knee for at least a few weeks. It stands to reason that he'd be ready to play roughly around the same time as Ricky Rubio, though each torn ACL, and subsequent surgery and rehab, is unique. Rose has been targeting a return in March, so I'm not getting my hopes up just yet.
As for Brandon Roy … (tears splash on keyboard)
Anthony Davis is still out with a stress reaction in his ankle, and he may not return this week. Just keep him benched and be patient. Meanwhile, Eric Gordon's knee pain has reportedly been subsiding, but in no way does that excite me. I'd leave him on the waiver wire unless you can burn a bench spot without hurting your team (i.e. leagues with weekly lineups, games-played limits).
Amare Stoudemire was seen running and shooting around on Friday, and he's targeting a return around Christmas. He has stated his willingness to come off the bench, and between the reserve role and his bum knee I'm not exactly tripping over myself to claim him, but in many formats he's worth stashing.
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green should all be back in action vs. the Grizzlies on Saturday. David Stern publicly derided the Spurs for benching all four healthy players on Thursday, then fined the Spurs $250,000, and it will be interesting to see if or how this affects Gregg Popovich's bolt-from-the-blue DNP-CDs.
In other Spurs news, Kawhi Leonard (quad) also appears ready to play Saturday, and needs to be picked up if he's available, while Stephen Jackson (hand) will miss at least another week.