Working the Wire
By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Hoops Editor
There's a long list of players that have the reputation - usually earned - of being injury-prone. Marcus Camby. Jermaine O'Neal. Yao Ming. T.J. Ford.
Some of the guys in my home league call 'em "lepers." (Not me, of course. That would be inappropriate and wrong.)
The number one guy on the list is almost certainly Tracy McGrady. No one has ever questioned McGrady's transcendent talent… but fully 95 percent of all preseason outlooks on McGrady include the phrase "if he can stay heathy…" or words to that effect.
But lately, we're hearing a new gripe about McGrady. The biggest questions raised by Rockets observers are questioning his effort, not his health. According to various reports, the Rockets wanted to sit McGrady for an extended period to rest his sore knees. McGrady refused, preferring to play as much as possible… but the pain has limited his minutes - he's expected to sit at least one game of the Rockets' next few back-to-backs - and his production when on the floor has been spotty at best.
McGrady is obviously a huge key to the Rockets' success - as their "point forward," he makes their offense go. But Houston is also a tremendously deep team this season - one could certainly make the case that the team would be better off in the short term giving extended minutes to the likes of Aaron Brooks, Carl Landry and Luther Head, and letting McGrady get as healthy… well, as healthy as he ever gets.
Expect this situation to come to a head soon… and grab any Houston bench players that are available in your league in the meantime.
Drew Gooden (CHI) - Gooden returns this week after missing eight games with a sprained ankle. We expect to see him playing significant minutes right away, as Joakim Noah's… "free spirited" behavior seems not to be winning him many friends at the United Center these days.
Keyon Dooling (NJN) - As Devin Harris has been showing us all season, Laurence Frank's version of the dribble-drive offense is very friendly to the stat lines of point guards. Harris has been hobbled by a bum hamstring, so Dooling will get to show his stuff for a little while.
Darius Songaila (WAS) - Songaila has replaced Andray Blatche as Washington's starting center because of a "team matter." Coach Ed Tapscott didn't elaborate, but word is the move is a reaction, in part, to the way Blatche reacted after being pulled from a game last weekend.
Sasha Vujacic (LAL) - Jordan Farmar's injury moved Vujacic up a spot on the depth chart. He's made the most of the opportunity so far, scoring in double figures in three of the Lakers' last four contests.