News and Notes
Jrue Holiday woke up on Thursday to a sore left foot and ended up having an MRI that revealed a foot sprain. While this doesn’t sound like too big a deal on the surface, owners have to be concerned. Hopefully he’ll play tonight (game-time decision), but the reality is that if his foot doesn’t feel 80-90 percent at game time, he could miss a few games. Royal Ivey is not even traveling with the team to Indiana, meaning that little known Maalik Wayns could be your starting point guard tonight if Holiday can’t go. And sadly, I have owned Wayns for a few weeks in my 30-team league.
J.J. Redick could replace Moe Harkless in the starting lineup for Orlando at some point, sliding Arron Afflalo over to small forward, which would be a nice boost for Redick. Right now, Redick is a fine player to own, but not a must-start due to his inconsistency coming off the bench, at least in many leagues. But if he enters the starting rotation, his combination of scoring, 3-pointers and assists should make him nearly as valuable as some mid-round point guards.
Kawhi Leonard, who has been out since Nov. 18 due to a quad injury, is expected to return to the Spurs lineup some time in the next couple games. Leonard was initially expected to miss just 10 days of action, but that timeframe has quickly turned into a month as some owners continue to hang on for dear life. Leonard was averaging 10.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.0 3-pointers per game when he went down, and while the hope is that he’ll be better than that going forward, it’s far from guaranteed. Stephen Jackson is due back around the same time that Leonard is, Gary Neal has been doing a decent job of holding down the fort at shooting guard, Danny Green is averaging 10 points, 3.5 boards, 1.2 steals and 2.1 3-pointers, and Gregg Popovich is still the guy pulling the puppet strings. I love Leonard’s game, but missing a month of the season to start the year is not going to work out well for him. He’s a solid option if you’re looking to pick up a player off waivers, but I am not convinced he’ll live up to the hype he was getting before the injury.
Kirk Hinrich underwent an MRI on his left knee Thursday after sitting out Wednesday’s game, and remains day-to-day for now. He’s already dealt, or dealing with, elbow, hip, thumb and hamstring injuries this season and Nate Robinson is basically a must-start player whenever Hinrich is out.
Anthony Davis will come off the bench for the Hornets again on Friday for the third straight time since returning from his ankle injury. "Normally you put him right back in the fire," coach Monty Williams said. "But because we have Ryan (Anderson), who is basically a starter in this league, it helps that you can bring Anthony at a different rate." This could mean that Davis is now officially the team’s sixth man, but my guess is he’ll be back in the starting lineup before too long. And if that happens, Williams will have to decide whether to keep starting Al-Farouq Aminu at small forward, or whether to play Anderson out of position and start him there instead.
Larry Sanders is expected to play against the Cavaliers tonight after missing his last game with an illness. In case you’re scoring at home, Sanders has blocked 32 shots over his last six games. Hey now! Mike Dunleavy isn’t traveling with the Bucks and will miss Friday’s game in Cleveland with a knee injury. He’s now missed four straight games with the mysterious injury, while Marquis Daniels has been filling in nicely for him. I don’t trust Daniels at all, but Ersan Ilyasova’s strong play could also be related to Dunleavy’s absence. Ilyasova has played well recently and should be owned across the board.
Pacers’ swingman Gerald Green looks like the starting shooting guard tonight, as Lance Stephenson isn’t expected to play due to a sprained ankle. Green fizzled in his three early starts this season, and then fizzled again moving to a bench role. There’s a decent chance he’ll get it right and break out this time, but there’s no reason to pick him up in most leagues until we see how he looks tonight against the Sixers.
Minnesota’s Josh Howard is a game-time call against the Hornets after missing Wednesday’s game and most of Thursday’s practice due to an illness. Ricky Rubio might be set to make his season debut on Saturday against the Mavericks, but he will likely be a game-time decision for that one.
Alan Anderson is due back on Friday from a foot injury, but don’t expect much from the Raptors swingman. He’ll simply be trying to work his way back into the mix, while competing with Mickael Pietrus, Linas Kleiza and DeMar DeRozan for minutes. Anderson was on the verge of having fantasy value when he went down, but will have to prove himself all over again.