It didn't take long for the injury bug to rear its ugly head. Several notable names will be spectators for the majority of the preseason while others remain sidelined into the regular season. Fantasy owners preparing for upcoming drafts should adjust their strategy accordingly and not reach on a hobbled player.
The debut of Miami's Big Three lasted three minutes and 17 seconds as resident superstar Dwyane Wade exited early with a hamstring strain. Wade came up limping while chasing Detroit's Richard Hamilton in the team's first preseason tune up and is expected to miss at least two weeks. Wade has stated the muscle is sore and the team has elected not to get a MRI to determine the extent of the damage. While Wade and his teammates have downplayed its seriousness, hamstring strains can be nagging injuries.
The hamstrings are actually a group of muscles located on the posterior aspect of the thigh. The hamstring includes the semimebranous, semitendinous, and the two-headed biceps femoris, that all work in conjunction to flex or bend the knee. They also play a vital role in running and acceleration as they slow the leg as it extends backwards as well as aiding in the beginning of hip motion from a standstill position. They are often strained when the strength of the anterior muscle group known as the quadriceps is greater than the strength of the hamstring. As an athlete attempts an explosive movement, the powerful contraction of the quad will overstretch and strain the muscles of the hamstring.
For Wade a hamstring strain will likely be very limiting. He is a dynamic guard that plays hard on both ends of the court. To be successful, he must be able to explode quickly by defenders on offense and display rapid lateral speed on defense. A hamstring strain will make each motion difficult and could elicit pain, restricting his abilities. Furthermore the time off is preventing Wade from jelling with his new teammates.
Miami does not expect the injury to carry over into the regular season but with LeBron James and Chris Bosh on the roster the Heat can afford to be cautious with Wade should the injury linger. Fantasy owners should continue to draft Wade early but understand it may be awhile before we see a completely healthy D-Wade.
Anxious Bulls fan will have to wait just a little bit longer to see just how productive the Carlos Boozer-Derrick Rose combination will be. Boozer, Chicago's notable offseason acquisition, will miss the beginning of the season after he fractured a bone in his right hand while tripping over a gym bag at his home. He fractured the fifth metacarpal and needed surgery to stabilize the fracture. Boozer is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks but could miss as many as ten weeks recovering from the injury.
The metacarpal bones extend from the carpal bones of the wrist to the proximal phalanges of the fingers. These bones make up the hand and serves as an attachment site for muscles. While it may seem odd that a broken pinkie will sideline Boozer for so long, the fifth digit is extremely underrated. The pinkie finger and its metacarpal are the second most important functional digit, trailing only the thumb. The metacarpals of the thumb and pinkie help stabilize the hand and play an important role in gripping. A stable and strong hand is vital for Boozer in multiple facets of his game, most importantly shooting and rebounding.
On the plus side, the injury will not prevent Boozer from conditioning and he will be able to remain in shape. He has already returned to practice, though in a limited role. The Bulls will insert Taj Gibson into the starting power forward role and will rely on veteran Kurt Thomas off the bench. Opportunistic fantasy owners willing to wait out the injury could snag Boozer in the fourth or fifth rounds. However keep in mind staying healthy has always been Boozer's biggest problem and this early incident does very little to sway that opinion.
Portland was decimated by injuries last season as Brandon Roy, Joel Przybilla, Nicholas Batum, Rudy Fernandez, and Greg Oden all missed time with various ailments. Unfortunately the trend has continued into this season, as both Oden and Przybilla have been slow to recover from offseason surgery and veteran center Marcus Camby now nursing a groin injury. Like the hamstring, the groin is a group of muscles rather than an isolated muscle. The adductor muscles make up the groin and are located on the inside and front of the thigh. Their primary responsibility is to pull the leg inward, or adduct. A strained groin hampers an athlete's lateral movement, making defense and cutting more difficult. While he started in Thursday's preseason loss to Utah, Camby was limited to 18 minutes. The Blazers are going to be extra cautious with the former Defensive Player of the Year to insure the injury does not carry over into the regular season. Continue to draft Camby knowing he is prone to injury and is likely to miss several games at some point this season.
Washington's Josh Howard hopes to be ready for action sometime in November as he recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee suffered in late February. The ACL is the primary stabilizer of the knee and was surgically repaired in an arthroscopic procedure in which a graft was used to replace the damaged ligament. While a player can usually return to action following six to eight months of extensive rehabilitation, the knee can take as long as a year to completely heal. Now seven months after his surgery, Howard appears to be closing in on 100 percent. He has been an active participant in practice but his progression has been slowed slightly by meniscus damage that was fixed at the same time as the ACL. However it would be unwise for Washington to rush Howard back into action especially when you consider the case of Milwaukee's Michael Redd. Redd tore his ACL in January of 2009 only to retear the ligament a year later. Look for Coach Flip Saunders to ease the former All-Star back into the rotation and for Howard's fantasy value to remain low until he regains his previous form.
Jeff Stotts is a Certified Athletic Trainer, MAT, PES and the Injury Analyst for Rotowire.com. You can follow him on twitter @RotoWireATC.