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Sunday November 19, 2006 3:30 am

Injury Lowdown: Surprise, Surprise Shaq Is Out!

DescriptionIt was reported on Friday November 17, Miami Heat Center Shaquille O’Neal will need surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee and will be out four to six weeks. It was originally diagnosed that Shaq was out due to a hyperextended left knee. Shaq has already missed five of the Heat’s nine game played so far.

Reported earlier this week on November 16, Milwaukee Bucks Forward Charlie Villanueva will miss at least four weeks due to a torn ligament in his left elbow. He suffered the injury on Tuesday’s game against Atlanta when he took a hard fall on his elbow.

The Denver Nuggets’ Kenyon Martin is done like a Thanksgiving turkey after the leftovers are taken to lunch the week after Thanksgiving. K-Mart had microfracture surgery on his right knee and will be out for the rest of the season. Kenyon had microfracture surgery on his left knee 18 months ago. It is hard enough to recover from microfracture surgery on one knee but for both knees?! I hope this is not the end of Kenyon Martin’s career.

Fantasy Lowdown:

The Miami Heat will not rush Shaq back. Don’t be surprised if we don’t see Shaq till the New Year, which will be about six weeks. Welcome Alonzo Mourning to fantasy rosters across the land! As a starter this year, Alonzo has been averaging 8.8 points, 5.5 boards and 2.3 swats per game. Now cemented in the starting roster for at least the next month, Alonzo should average 9 points, 7 boards and 2.5 swats per outing. Mourning should still retain some value even when Shaq returns because the Heat will want to limit Shaq’s minutes. Another fantasy winner in the Miami frontcourt is PF Udonis Haslem who will be averaging a double double each game in Shaq’s absence. Enjoy 13 points and 10 boards and solid percentages from Haslem.

The Bucks will use Brian Skinner at PF with Charlie Villanueva out. Skinner could be a nice pick up in deep, deep leagues if boards and the occasional block is on the want list. Scan the waiver wire before you pick up Skinner because there should be better options (eg. Kendrick Perkins, Erick Dampier or Stromile Swift). The big winner with Charlie V out will be the Aussie center, Andrew Bogut. Like how Stella found her groove, Bogut could find his rhythm by getting the majority of the shots in the Bucks frontcourt. Bogut will justify a mid-round selection by fantasy owners with close to a double double each game. 14 points, 9 rebounds and a block with great FG% are what the doctor ordered for the next month. 

Once Nene Hilario is healthy he will eventually take over the starting PF role in Denver. Right now Eduardo Najera is keeping the spot warm ‘til Nene is recovered from his right knee contusion. Nene will be eased into the rotation and once he gets comfortable the starting PF role will be his to lose.

Quick Hits:

New Jersey Nets Forward Richard Jefferson is a quick healer. Originally expected to be out several weeks with a Grade II sprain to his left ankle, Jefferson is expected to be in the lineup in one of New Jersey’s four games this week. If I were betting man, I would think that Wednesday’s game at Portland would be when Jefferson returns.

Another Jefferson, Boston’s Al could make an appearance in Boston’s November 22nd game at Charlotte. Boston’s frontcourt has been depleted of big men with injuries to Theo Ratliff and Michael Olowokandi. Al should be getting some major burn and could finally live up to fantasy expectations.

Utah Jazz Forward Andrei Kirilenko is still day-to-day with his ankle injury. He is expected to be back later this week. A Wednesday or Friday return is quite possible for AK-47.

Dallas Mavericks Forward Josh Howard is also close to returning from his ankle injury. Expect Howard to return near the end of the week for either Friday’s or Saturday’s match-up. I think Saturday is more realistic for Howard’s return because the Mavs’s next game will be on Monday, which will allow Howard to rest his ankle. 

New Orleans Hornets Forward David West is still day-to-day with an elbow injury, which is keeping two fingers in his right hand from fully extending. There is no word when his return may be. Keep him reserved for now.

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