The bleak injury situation in Portland took a turn for the worse during last night's game, as center Joel Przybilla left in the first quarter with what's being described as a "ruptured right patella tendon and patella dislocation." Though there hasn't been a formal announcement as of yet, it's hard to imagine him coming back this season.
Making matters worse, Brandon Roy hurt his shoulder during the fourth quarter and will have an MRI today to determine the extent of the damage. Roy reportedly couldn't lift his left arm above his head after the game.
This is getting ridiculous.
The Blazers were already operating with a sixteen-man roster, thanks to the "hardship excemption" they got after losing Greg Oden (to another patella injury), Nic Batum, and Travis Outlaw to potentially season-ending injuries. Rudy Fernandez is also out with back trouble, and rookies Patty Mills and Jeff Pendergraph have missed most of the season.
How does the latest injury affect fantasy values? That depends on how Portland management decides to approach things. In the short term, veteran Juwan Howard is the most likely candidate to pick up minutes in the wake of Przybilla's injury; Howard played 34 minutes in last night's win over Dallas and posted a double-double, with ten points, ten boards, four assists and a steal. Nate McMillan might also decide to work Pendergraph - who made his NBA debut last night - into the mix. Howard is 0.3 percent owned in ESPN NBA.com Leagues, and Pendergraph 0.1 percent owned.
Another player to target might be guard Jerryd Bayless (1.4% owned), particularly if Roy's injury turns out to be serious. But even if Roy is able to go when the Blazers visit San Antonio tonight, Bayless' role could increase; Nate McMillan could be forced to "go small" more often to get offense from Bayless, Andre Miller and Blake because his team is so thin in the frontcourt now. Small forward Martell Webster (0.5% owned) is also worth a look.
The most popular adds in ESPN NBA.com Leagues this week:
The first set of picks is for players in standard leagues - guys who will typically be available in your average 10 team/15 player roster league. The second group is for owners in very deep leagues, and will be based more on speculation than actual numbers. The third batch of players will be guys I've mentioned in previous columns that still seem to be available in a lot of leagues and worth a look.
All "percent owned" stats are taken from ESPN NBA.com Fantasy Basketball - your mileage may vary.
Ersan Ilyasova (30.4% owned) - Ilyasova continues to play well, and is a nightly double-double threat who is hitting about two treys per game.
Larry Hughes (29.6% owned) - Hughes is back after missing three games with a groin injury, and should continue to be a good source of assists/steals/boards from the shooting guard spot.
Peja Stojakovic (29.1% owned) - He's about as one-dimensional as an NBA player can be, but when he's healthy - and he's healthy right now - he can fill it up from long range.
Kenyon Martin (16.6% owned) - K-Mart is back from his latest injury and playing a steady 35-plus minutes per game.
Delonte West (4.3% owned) - West has scored in double-figures in Cleveland's last three games, and could be cementing his place as the Cavs' top option at shooting guard.
Article first appeared on 12/23/09