Less than a month into this abbreviated season, and we've already seen Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Stephen Curry - all first-round caliber talents - suffer injuries that could impact their numbers for weeks - even months.
Take Rose, for example. He's suffering from a toe injury - essentially, he's got "turf toe," except he plays on the hardwood. As most of you know from fantasy football and baseball, turf toe is one of those nagging injuries that can take forever to heal completely.
How does that impact his stats? Look at his last five games. He dropped 31 on the T-Wolves on January 10, but missed the game against Washington the next night. He torched Boston for 25 points and seven dimes on Friday and went for 18-and-11 against Toronto on Saturday... but on Monday he was in a walking boot.
Seems reasonable to expect Rose - and his coach, Tom Thibodeau - to "pick their spots" and try to get him additional rest when possible until the toe is completely healthy. But that means fantasy owners are going to have to watch Rose's status very carefully and have backups available on the nights that he's sitting. Adding to the uncertainty of Rose's situation is the fact that he's got no clear backup. John Lucas (1% Yahoo/.4% ESPN) started in Rose's place against Washington and scored 25 points, but C.J. Watson is returning from an elbow injury on Monday and could do the honors tonight.
Dwyane Wade's status is similar -Wade is suffering from an ankle injury or plantar fasciitis or both, depending on who you believe. Plantar fasciitis is another one of those nagging, hurts-all-the-time and "doesn't get better until you have a chance to really rest it" injuries. When he does come back - and there's no telling when that will be - his game-by-game status will likely be similarly iffy. Wade owners might want to "handcuff" him with Norris Cole (22%/23.3%) the same way Arian Foster owners needed to make roster space for Ben Tate.
Picks for the Week
The first set of picks is for players in standard leagues - guys who may 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.
I'll giving percent owned stats for both Yahoo! and ESPN/NBA.com leagues with each pick - first number is Yahoo, ESPN/NBA is second. If you play some other league/format, let me know in the comments and I'll do what I can to accommodate.
Mario Chalmers (68%/93.9%) - Shoulder injury turned out to be fairly minor, Wade's absence means he may get more shots, and he continues to be among the league leaders in steals.
George Hill (40%/23%) - He isn't scoring a ton, thanks in part to Indiana's excellent balance on offense. He is, on the other hand, racking up big steal numbers (10 in the Pacers' last three games alone).
Luke Ridnour (30%/39.8%) - Ricky Rubio has moved into the starting lineup, but Ridnour is actually playing more, as Rick Adelman has taken to using Ridnour in tandem with everyone's favorite rookie.
Jonas Jerebko (28%/23%) - The Pistons are awful... which makes it easy to forget that Jerebko was pretty darned good as a rookie. He missed all of last season due to injury and may still be working off the rust, but he's got nice potential.
Matt Barnes (28%/30%) - As we mentioned last week, Barnes has taken over the Lakers' starting small forward spot. He's now scored in double figures in four of six games and is rebounding well (6 rpg in that span).
Baron Davis (22%/18.6%) - Will reportedly start participating in contact drills this week, could join the Knicks (who need him badly) as soon as next week.
Randy Foye (2%/0%) - With both Chris Paul and Mo Williams nursing injuries, Foye is getting a lot more run than anyone could reasonably have expected. If nothing else, he could be building his trade value with performances like his 13-point, 10-assist night against the Nets.
Ivan Johnson (1%/.4%) - I thought Vladimir Radmanovic would stand to gain most, but last week it was unheralded rookie Ivan Johnson filling the void left by Al Horford out indefinitely and Marvin Williams. He could carve out a spot in the rotation going forward.
Trevor Booker (5%/ ) - Booker has carved out a nice - and steady - role in Flip Saunders' rotation. He's primary in for his defense, but he's doing a nice job on the glass.
Jon Leuer (4%/.7%) - Second-rounder out of Wisconsin posted three straight games in double-digits before coming back to earth against Dallas on Friday night (2 points, 1-3 shooting, 13 minutes). Keep an eye on him.
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