Dwight Howard dominated the news on Wednesday due to a report that the Lakers had a “loud” meeting to clear the air on Wednesday that included Kobe Bryant asking Howard if he even liked playing with him. That comes on the heels of countless trade rumors about Howard, and if he isn’t ready to commit to the Lakers long term, they may be forced to move him or face losing him for nothing in free agency. And whether Howard wants to play with Kobe right now may be a moot point, as Howard left Wednesday’s game with a right shoulder injury that was still very painful after the game, and will require an MRI. While early reports suggest the injury isn't serious, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Howard shut down for a few games, and he could possibly be facing an extended absence if the MRI returns bad news. And this means that Earl Clark is now a must-own player again. He played 40 minutes last night and had 11 points and nine boards in the loss to the Grizzlies.
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Chris Paul’s right knee injury is a pretty big concern for the Clippers and fantasy owners, and he might be done for the week after hobbling through Monday’s game and then being held out of Tuesday’s loss to the Thunder. There is no timetable for when he might play again and it sounds like he’ll have X-rays. While there is no guarantee that he’ll miss significant time with this, I would be pretty nervous if I owned CP3. Maybe he’ll pull a Stephen Curry and only miss two games, and then come back looking like he never left. But I think that might be a little too optimistic in this case. Eric Bledsoe should still be owned in most leagues until we find out how long Paul is going to be sidelined. And no, this couldn’t have come at a worse time, as owners saw a dream five-game week possibly turn into a one-game nightmare.
While it wasn’t exactly a surprise DNP, Tim Duncan missed Wednesday’s game with a sore left knee and is listed as day-to-day. The Spurs have back-to-back games coming up on Friday and Saturday, and while it’s possible Duncan will be healthy enough to play, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Gregg Popovich hold him out of one of those games, or both if his knee really is bothering him. And because he plays for Pop, we may not know anything until game time on both nights.
Kawhi Leonard was also held out with a sore knee after cutting it open on in a freak accident on Monday, and is also day-to-day. The good news for the Spurs was that Manu Ginobili returned from his hamstring injury and had nine points and five dimes in 18 minutes. Stephen Jackson started and had 15 points and three 3-pointers, Tiago Splitter went off with a season high of 25 points on 10-of-11 shooting with seven boards, and Tony Parker had a nice double-double with 24 points and 13 assists in a tight win over the Hornets. Splitter, who has hit double figures in scoring in eight straight, is basically a must-own player now, while Jackson is worth consideration for as long as Leonard is out. Popovich was also out on Wednesday due to an illness.
Horford Out For Hawks
Al Horford missed Atlanta’s win over Charlotte with a hamstring injury and is day-to-day. Ivan Johnson started in his place and double-doubled with 12 points, 15 boards and a full stat line, while Josh Smith posted a near triple-double, just missing it by two assists, and also had 30 points and three blocks. Johnson would only have value if Horford were to miss several games. Kyle Korver scored 21 with five 3-pointers in the win, and is another must-own player for the banged up Hawks. Zaza Pachulia was also out with a sore Achilles, and Devin Harris (who was close to playing) missed another game with his bum ankle. DeShawn Stevenson returned from his knee injury and had three points in 21 minutes for the Hawks. Ramon Sessions led Charlotte with 27 points and a full stat line off the bench.