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Thursday March 1, 2007 9:16 am

Injury Lowdown - Guards Needed!

Dwyane Wade injuried

Will the injuries ever stop this season?!? Fantasy ballers need a bottle of Pepto Bismol to stomach all the injuries this year. This year, fantasy championships could be a war of attrition – the healthiest team may have the best chance to take the championship in your league. This session of the Injury Lowdown will look into the slew of recent injuries.

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade is exploring his options for his dislocated shoulder. There are only two options - he could have surgery on his shoulder thus ending his season or he could rehab his shoulder and possibly return within the final two weeks of the season (in time for the fantasy championship run for H2H leagues). If he chooses to rehab there is a possible risk that he could re-injure his shoulder. Currently, the Miami Heat sit in the ninth spot in the East and would have to leapfrog either the New Jersey Nets or Orlando Magic to make the playoffs. It is taking a long time to make up his mind so I think that Wade will have surgery, effectively ending his season. You don’t take this long to make up your mind unless it is going to be bad news.

Fantasy Lowdown: You cannot replace Dwyane Wade. For H2H leagues, you will need to fortify your strengths to edge out a victory each week by playing either big ball or small ball. You only need to win five categories in nine cat leagues. If you are looking to pick up any Heat players then Jason Williams and James Posey look to be the main benefactors while Wade is out. If Williams can stay healthy, lines like he produced on Feb. 26 -  15 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists - could be the norm. Eddie Jones has been starting in Wade’s absence, but it has been Posey outperforming Jones. If you need help with points, threes and steals then Posey could help, but you need to be patient because he could be inconsistent.

The New York Knicks’ Jamal Crawford has a stress fracture in his right ankle and most likely will need surgery which will end his season. Steve Francis is out with knee tendinitis and is unlikely to return this season.  David Lee is day-to-day with a sprained ankle.

Fantasy Lowdown: With Crawford out this could have been an opportunity for Steve Francis to step back into the starting lineup, however, coulda, woulda, shoulda, the Franchise if done. Quentin Richardson will play SG and Jared Jeffries will start as the SF spot. Jeffries has started earlier in the season at the three spot and failed miserably. Do yourself a favor and leave Jeffries on the waiver wire.

Boston Celtic Wally Szczerbiak will have surgery on his left ankle and will be out for the rest of the season.

Fantasy Lowdown: With Wally out it will mean that Gerald Green will get some extra burn this season and the reigning slam-dunk champion will get his chance to strut his stuff. Keep an eye on Gerald Green and you could be rewarded with points and threes.

Shaun Livingston injuried

The Los Angeles Clippers’ Shaun Livingston is out for eight to twelve months after tearing his ACL, PCL, MCL and lateral meniscus. He might even miss all of next season. Heck, there is talk that this injury could jeopardize his career. I hope that this is not the end of his career and hope to see him styling on the basketball court in couple of seasons.

Fantasy Lowdown: Looks like Sam Cassell and his wonky abdominal muscle will take on the bulk of the PG duties. Daniel Ewing will relieve Cassell when he needs a breather. Ewing will not be a worthy waiver pick-up. 

Los Angeles Lakers forward Vladimir Radmonovic at first told the Laker brass that he slipped on a patch of ice while walking in Park City, Utah. He later told the truth on how he got injured when he confessed that he was snowboarding for the first time and wiped out. Idiot. He separated his right shoulder and will be out for 8 weeks. Kwame Brown is close to returning from his sprained ankle, however, I think Andrew Bynum will be the better play.

Fantasy Lowdown: When Luke Walton is healthy, he will take over the reins as starting SF. Walton has started to practice and is expected to be back in the lineup later this week or early next week and will be an effective fantasy contributor when he returns. Maurice Evans is currently starting in the SF spot and will back up Walton when he returns. Keep an eye on Evans, he will get some burn and could help with points, free throws and three points however expect some inconsistency. 

Golden State Warriors point guard Baron Davis had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on February 5 and was originally expected to miss 3 weeks. Well with Davis’ injury history you can place your money on the over 3 weeks for his return to the lineup. There has been no timetable set for Davis’ return. Stephen Jackson has a fractured big left toe and there is no date set for his return.

Fantasy Lowdown: Monta Ellis has been starting at PG while Davis is gone and has been racking up the points, assists and steals. Jason Richardson is back and will be the catalyst for the Warriors offense. Expect Richardson to get the bulk of the shots on offense while Davis is out. Mickael Pietrus will start in the 3 spot while Jackson is nursing his big toe. This could be Pietrus’ last chance to show Coach Nelson that he deserve more PT by producing. Pietrus is a borderline pick-up, butbuyer beware.

Denver Nuggets three-point threat J.R. Smith is out 3-4 weeks with a torn left knee cartilage.

Fantasy Lowdown: It is the Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson show in Denver with Nene Hilario and Marcus Camby supplying the inside presence and muscle. Steve Blake appeared to have some fantasy value but Coach Karl squashed any value Blake had when he moved Iverson to the point.

Washington Wizard Caron Butler is out with back spasms and there is no word on his return. Consider Butler day-to-day unless news come out that his injury has worsened. Antawn Jamison is close to returning from his sprain knee. Jamison should return later this week or early next week.

Fantasy Lowdown: Jarvis Hayes got the start in place of Butler. If Butler is going to miss significant time then Hayes will be worth picking up from the waiver wire. Andray Blatche your fifteen minutes of fame is almost over. When Jamison is ready he will take over as the starting PF sending Blatche back to the bench.

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