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Monday February 5, 2007 12:00 pm

Injury Lowdown - What the Heck Did I Miss?!?!

Yao Ming can't play, but he can modelI am back like Jack Bauer! Unlike Jack’s dramatic return from a Chinese prison, I was freed (booted?) from my parent’s basement. Now semi-acclimated to life on my own (thank god for the microwave!), I am ready to make a contribution to Dropping Dimes. Thanks to Dennis, Sarge, and Alvin for holding down the DD fort.

What the heck did I miss? What is up with all the injuries to key fantasy players?! In all my years in fantasy basketball, I don’t remember a season where so many players have been knocked out with injuries like a Mirko Cro Cop high kick (He is going to wreck havoc in the UFC!). In one of my leagues, a GM lost his top four picks to injuries (Chris Paul, Yao Ming, Josh Smith and Rashard Lewis). The poor GM had his playoff hopes dashed in the month of December. Them’s the breaks. In this edition of the Injury Lowdown I will give a quick rundown of key injuries and some players to keep an eye on.

Atlanta Hawks

PG Speedy Claxton returned Friday from sore knees and did not look speedy. I don’t think Speedy will be a fantasy factor the rest of this season. Imagine if the Hawks drafted PG Chris Paul instead of SF/PF Marvin Williams? 

Boston Celtics

SG/SF Tony Allen is out for the season with torn knee ligaments. The irony was that he busted his knee on his 24th birthday. He was tearing it up in the fantasy world in the weeks prior to his injury. Keep an eye on Tony Allen next year; he could be a nice late round pick.  SG/SF Paul Pierce is close to coming back. After being initially diagnosed being out 2-3 weeks at the end of December with a left foot stress reaction he has been out almost 2 months! According to the Boston Globe, Pierce is set to begin practice soon and let’s keep our finger crossed he could be in the lineup in the next week or two. Double P may make an appearance just before the All-Star Break against Milwaukee on the 14th. It will be interesting how will the starting line up will look with Pierce back. Will PG Rajon Rondo stick in the starting five? Theo Ratliff is out for the season with back surgery. Thanks for the 21 minutes this season, Theo!

Charlotte Bobcats

PG Brevin Knight should be back in a couple of weeks from abdominal surgery. He should help owners with points, assists and steals. It is still up in the air if Knight will be inserted back in the starting five. My gut feeling is that Knight and Felton will be starting in the backcourt and Derek Anderson will head to the bench. C Primoz Brezec is out indefinitely with bulging disc. The Bobcats have shifted PF/C Emeka Okafor the Swat machine to center and Gerald Wallace to the 4. Gerald Wallace is tearing it up as the starting PF?! Look for the trend to continue with a small line up with the return of Knight. If PF Sean May’s knee hold up then he will be a valuable bench player for the Bobcats. Keep May on your watch list.

Chicago Bulls

PF/C Ben Wallace recently returned from a left knee injury. He will need a couple of games to get his rebounding groove back. 

Cleveland Cavaliers

SF Lebron James is playing with a sore right toe, which may linger for the rest of the season. Keep King James in your lineups.

Dallas Mavericks

SG/SF Josh Howard is back from a brief personal leave for the birth of his first child.

Denver Nuggets

PG/SG Allen Iverson is day to day with a sprain right ankle. Expect this warrior to be back with the Nuggets some time this week. PF Kenyon Martin is out for the season with right knee surgery. PF/C Nene Hilario started his first game on Friday. Nene could be a nice pick up especially for H2H leagues considering that Denver has one of the better playoff schedules. 

Jason Richardson will be jumping around soon enoughGolden State Warriors

SG/SF Jason Richardson is recovering from his broken right hand and according to the San Francisco Chronicle; he’s targeted return game is February 21 against Memphis. Coach Nelson has stated that Richardson will be inserted into the starting line-up. PG/SG Monta Ellis will return to his role as 6th man unless PG Baron Davis is hurt.

Houston Rockets

C Yao Ming is expected be back on the court around mid March from his fractured right tibia.  That means the ageless wonder C Dikembe Mutombo will still have some fantasy value until Ming’s return. PF Juwan Howard is turning back the clock and showing the fantasy world that he can still be contributor.

Indiana Pacers

PF/C Troy Murphy is day to day with a broken nose. This is the second time this season that Murphy had his nose busted. Look for Murphy and his crooked nose to return sometime this week. Does anyone care that SG/SF Marquis Daniels is day to day with a sore left knee?

Los Angeles Lakers

SF Luke Walton is set to return from his sprain right ankle on Monday against Atlanta. Say goodbye to the little fantasy value that PF/SF Vladimir Radmanovic had with the return of Luke. PF/C Kwame Brown is close to returning back from his sprain ankle as well. He could return sometime this week. Look for a platoon at the 5 spot with Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynum with a slight fantasy edge to Bynum.

Memphis Grizzlies

PF/C Stromile Swift returned from his bout of back spasms on Saturday. Swift will continue to tease fantasy owners and when PF/C Pau Gasol gets traded do NOT pick up Swift.

Milwaukee Bucks

SG/SF Michael Redd is set to return sometime in the upcoming week. He had been sidelined with strained right patella tendon. PG/SG/SF Charlie Bell should make his way back to the bench, which will hurt his fantasy value. PG Earl Boykins fantasy value will take an additional hit; his value has dropped with the return of PG Mo Williams.

New Jersey NetsRichard Jefferson

SF Richard Jefferson is recovering from ankle surgery and there is no set timetable for his return. He should be back sometime in March. PF/C Nenad Krstic is not returning this year from a torn left ACL injury. PF/C Mikki Moore has stepped in as Krstic’s replacement in the 5 spot with luke warm fantasy results. Moore is worth picking up but like a box of chocolate, you never know what you are going to get. The split for Jefferson’s minutes has been divided between SG/SF Antoine Wright and SF Bostjan Nachbar. Look for both Wright and Nachbar to switch back and forth in the starting lineup. Leave both players on the waiver wire till a set rotation has been settled on.

New Orleans/Okla City Hornets

SG/SF Peja Stojakovic is still out as he is recovering from lower back surgery. There is chatter that he may return this season.  I think this season is a write off and you may want to drop Peja down your cheat list next year due to his injury history. New Orleans was really hit with the injury bug. In addition to Peja, the Hornets at one time were without PG Chris Paul, PG Bobby Jackson and PF David West.  All players except Peja have returned from injuries and the player only worth keeping from the replacement crew is PG/SG Devin Brown. Looks like Brown will settle in as the starting SG with the return of fantasy stud Chris Paul. SF/SG Desmond Mason will still have some value but he no longer the first option on offence with the return of the players mentioned earlier. SG/SF Rasual Butler hope is all is well on the waiver wire.

New York Knicks

SG/SF Quentin Richardson returned Saturday from a sprain right elbow. Look for him to be eased back into the starting line up. You think the Knicks’ backcourt is crowded now? PG/SG Steve Francis will be returning in the next week or two after dealing with sore knees. I don’t think Francis will have much of a fantasy impact but will hurt SG Jamal Crawford’s value. Time to sell high on Crawford.

Orlando Magic

SG/SF Grant Hill is out 2-3 of weeks with a sprain right knee. Look for SG/SF Hedo Turkoglu and PG Jameer Nelson to step up fantasy wise in Hill’s absence. PG Keyon Dooling is day-to-day dealing with an injured right thumb.

Phoenix Suns

PF/C Kurt Thomas is out till the end of February-early March timeframe with a hyperextended left elbow. Yum, yum that means more burn for PF/C Amare Stoudemire, PF/SF Shawn Marion and PF/C Boris Diaw. Ride these fantasy stallions (Amare & Marion, not so much Diaw).

Portland Trailblazers

Did anyone notice (or care?) that SF Darius Miles is out for the season with an injured right knee?

Sacramento Kings

SF/PF/C Shareef Abdur-Rahim returned Saturday from a sore right knee. SAR and PF Kenny Thomas will be splitting PT at the 4 spot for the rest of the season.

Seattle SuperSonics

For all SF Rashard Lewis owners there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Lewis is back practicing after dealing with a torn tendon is his right hand. If all goes well, Lewis plans to play in the last 3 games before the All-Star Break, which means that you can circle Saturday February 10 game against Sacramento as his potential return date. Thanks SF/PF Mickael Gelabale for your time, you can see yourself to the bench with Rashard’s return. 

Utah Jazz

PF/C Carlos Boozer is out with 4-5 weeks with a fractured left fibula. Expect the Boozer’s return a!t the end of February – early March time frame. The hot pick up has been SF/PF Paul Millsap as the fill in for Boozer. Looks like the main fantasy benefactor will be PF/C Mehmet Okur. PG Deron Williams has found a new pick and roll partner in Okur. Sorry SF/PF Andrei Kirilenko owners looks like there is no upswing to this disappointing season.

Washington Wizards

The Wizards are hoping a speedy recovery for SF/PF Antawn Jamison who is dealing with a sprain left knee. Jamison is expected to be out 3-6 weeks. I was at the first game without Jamison against the Raptors and his presence was missed. Washington Big Three is now the Big Two. Expect PG Gilbert Arenas and SF Caron Butler to take on the bulk of the offence in Jamison’s absence.

Now you are semi-caught up with the injuries around the fantasy basketball world. I promise to be timelier with any future injury updates. Right now I have meat pie in the microwave calling me!

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