The lockout-shortened season has not been kind to NBA players and their bodies. As we enter the All-Star break, the fantasy landscape has clearly been shaped by multiple key injuries in the first half so here's the inaugural NBA All-Scar Teams for each conference.
Western Conference All-Scar Team
Gordon was the primary piece acquired in the Chris Paul trade with the Clippers. Unfortunately a knee injury has limited Gordon to just two games in a Hornets' uniform and he is expected to miss at least another month after needing surgery to remove damaged cartilage in the joint.
A perennial contender for an All-Scar berth, Ginobili earns this year's distinction largely in part to a fractured left hand that required surgery. His return was brief as he now nurses a strained oblique muscle expected to keep him out of for at least one more week following the break.
The Nuggets enter the break having missed Gallinari in 10 straight outings after the forward suffered a significant ankle sprain. Imaging taken on the ankle revealed a bone chip from a previous ankle injury. He was initially expected to miss between four to six weeks making an early March return possible.
The Grizzlies have once again managed to stay afloat after losing a key member of their front line to injury. Last season Rudy Gay's season ended prematurely following a shoulder injury while Randolph has appeared in just four games this year after spraining the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee. He's returned to practice and could be cleared for contact soon. He's eyeballing a March 7th return.
The Brazilian center seemed to have shed the injury prone label after playing in at least 75 games in three consecutive seasons. Unfortunately foot and calf problem have cost Nene 12 games this year and his coach doesn't think he will be 100 percent at any point this season. Foot problems for big men are problematic enough but when coupled with the current grinding schedule, it is hard to argue with that opinion.
Chauncey Billups, Jason Kidd
It's not too astonishing to see these veteran point guards on the list but both were productive last season making their sharp declines a bit surprising. Billups will miss the remainder of the season after rupturing his Achilles while calf and back problems have limited Kidd's availability. Expect to see coach Rick Carlisle rest Kidd regularly down the stretch.
Eastern Conference All-Scar Team
Rose is the only player to start for both the NBA All-Star team AND the All-Scar team. The reigning MVP has missed 10 games with a toe injury and painful back spasms leaving fantasy owners scrambling to replace his production. While 10 missed games may not seem like much, it's shocking to see Rose sidelined after he missed just six total games in his first three NBA season.
Scary note to the Eastern Conference: the Bulls sit atop the standings despite the fact that the starting backcourt of Rose and Hamilton has appeared in just eight games so far this season. A nagging groin injury has limited Hamilton but he's expected to return following the break.
Bargnani has been tremendous when healthy but, like Nene, a pesky calf strain has limited his court time to 13 games. A MRI revealed no significant damage but clearly the Raptors have elected to play it safe with the forward. An early March return is likely, barring another setback.
Anthony has a laundry list of injuries that have not only cost him 10 games but also limited his effectiveness. One of the top fantasy producers in the second half of the 2011-2011 season, Melo's numbers are way down as he has dealt with ankle, wrist, and groin problems. He's shooting a career-worst 39.7 percent from the field and his 21.4 points per game is his lowest scoring average since his rookie season.
Horford was the dubious winner of this selection narrowly beating out Andrew Bogut (ankle), Brook Lopez (foot), and Anderson Varejao (wrist). Horford suffered a torn pectoral muscle in early January and is unlikely to return this season. He should be fine entering the offseason and return to the top of draft boards next year.
Andrew Bogut, Brook Lopez
Bogut and Lopez each suffered traumatic foot injuries that forced them to miss significant stretches. Bogut fractured his ankle and was expected to miss between 8 and 12 weeks at the time of the injury. There's the slimmest of chances he could return for the last week of the season but it seems unlikely the Bucks would put Bogut at any unnecessary risk. The Nets have welcomed Lopez back into the fold but will likely supervise his minutes for the next several weeks to insure the foot is no longer an issue. Similar injuries have been career altering for centers and Lopez must be closely monitored.
Stephen Curry: A strained tendon in his right foot kept Curry from the All-Star weekend festivities. Curry strained the tibialis posterior muscle, which could be extremely problematic given his history of ankle injuries. The tibialis posterior is responsible for plantar flexing the foot (pointing the toes) and inverting the ankle. It aids in ankle stability so a weakened muscle would only further compromise his already fragile ankle. Curry owners should tread lightly moving forward.
Joe Johnson: Knee tendinitis cost Johnson two games before the break as well as an appearance in the All-Star game. Tendinitis is an overuse injury and is not likely to get 100 percent better anytime soon. Johnson may elect to play through the pain and discomfort but expect a dip in his numbers.
Ty Lawson and Rudy Fernandez: A sprained left ankle has sidelined Lawson for two straight games but the Nuggets anticipate the speedy point guard to return next week. Lawson's teammate Fernandez has missed four games with a strained lower back and should also return shortly following the break.
Jeff Stotts is a Certified Athletic Trainer, MAT, PES and the Injury Analyst for Rotowire.com. You can follow him on twitter @RotoWireATC.