The Chicago Bulls
Chicago has managed to put together an impressive 29-18 record despite the fact that their MVP has yet to play this season. With Derrick Rose cleared for full contact and a return on the horizon, his teammates are now fighting to get healthy with a myriad of injuries.
Noah has been a fantasy force this season, in route to earning the first All-Star nod of his career. However a case of plantar fasciitis has stalled the Chicago forward, sidelining him indefinitely.
Plantar fasciitis is an extremely limiting and painful injury that occurs when a thick band of tissue, designed to support the arch of the foot, becomes inflamed. The condition can worsen if left untreated as the constant irritation on the foot can lead to the formation of a heel spur near the attachment site of the plantar fascia. Fortunately Noah has not reached this point and a previous battle with the condition could allow him to return earlier than normal.
Noah suffered plantar fasciitis in his left foot during the 2009-2010 season. The injury flared up multiple times throughout the year, costing him a total of 18 games. His previous experience with the ailment led him to report the new pain in his right foot earlier than he would have in the past. Early treatment should help athletic trainer Fred Tedeschi and the rest of the Chicago medical staff control the inflammation and insure the resulting pain is properly managed.
Noah is unsure when he will return and I suspect he sits for at least another game or two. Rest really is the best course of treatment and a few games off now could allow Noah to return to action permanently instead of constantly yo-yoing in and out of the lineup.
The Chicago frontcourt is also missing Boozer who has been nursing a strained right hamstring. Boozer was in the middle of a great stretch of basketball before suffering the injury that has cost him three consecutive games. He has a decent shot of returning this week but tread carefully. Boozer has a history of hamstring problems and he needs to get a few games under his belt before I'm ready to say this latest incident is behind him.
Finally, Kirk Hinrich is expected to miss a week after undergoing treatment for an infection in his right elbow. Hinrich's absence gives Nate Robinson's fantasy value a boost but the increase in productivity is temporary.
Howard's problematic shoulder continues to be an issue after the center aggravated the area for the second time since tearing his labrum in early January. He has missed the Lakers' last two games after undergoing a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection designed to stimulate the body's natural healing mechanisms. In the procedure a sample of the athlete's blood is put into a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the blood at a high velocity forcing various particles within the blood to separate. A protein mixture is then taken from the sample and injected into the injury site. The PRP mixture is highly concentrated with platelets, the primary component of blood responsible for clotting. As a result, the healing process becomes faster and more efficient, allowing for a quicker return.
Howard's status for Tuesday's game against Brooklyn remains a question mark and I still consider him a risky play moving forward. The PRP infusion will help but the shoulder will remain an issue for the remainder of the season.
The Mavericks have played their last two contests without the services of Nowitzki who suffered a strained adductor muscle in a loss to the Blazers. The adductor muscle group is more commonly known as the groin and gets its name for the motion it performs. The groin is responsible for pulling the leg inward toward the body in a direction known as adduction, thus the name adductors. The two-game absence for Dirk marked just the second time in his career that a muscular injury sent him to the sidelines. He is optimistic about playing Monday against the Thunder so be prepared to have him back in your lineups. I am slightly concerned since the strain is on the same side as the knee he has scoped earlier in the year but the focus he has put on the surrounding musculature during his rehab could help minimize the risk.
Orlando will likely be without the services of Big Baby for the remainder of the season after he suffered a fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot. The break required surgery and the insertion of a screw to stabilize the bone. Fractures to this bone can be tricky as it plays an important role in ankle stability and serves as an attachment site for muscle. The location of the break could dictate how quickly Davis recovers. The most serious of the fractures occurs when the break is located near the base of the bone. The blood supply to this area is very poor prolonging the healing process. Furthermore injuries to the area are prone to refractures and in some cases hardware failure.
That being said, Davis' long-term health should be ok given the success other bigs, particularly Pau Gasol and Brook Lopez, have had after suffering similar injuries. However Davis' weight could be a factor in his recovery so that's worth monitoring during the offseason.
Bradley Beal: A sore right wrist continues to limit Beal and has prevented him from improving on his stellar January. A wrist injury for a jump shooter can be particularly problematic so scale back your expectation even when Beal manages to return.
Danny Granger: There is a growing hope that Granger will be able to rejoin the Pacers before the All-Star break after missing the entire season with patellar tendinosis is his left knee. He has been cleared to participate in full contact practice. He will need time to get conditioned and rediscover himself in the Indiana offense but fantasy owners who have waited this one out could at long last see some sort of reward for their patience.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: Kidd-Gilchrist was taken off the court on a stretcher Saturday after a scary collision with teammate Jeff Taylor. He was diagnosed with a concussion and will now enter the mandated NBA protocol before returning.
Deron Williams: The Nets point guard is dealing with right ankle soreness but a break in the schedule should allow him to rest without missing a game. Fortunately the injury is not to his left foot. Williams has already admitted he will likely need offseason surgery to remove a bone spur that has developed in his left ankle.
Jeff Stotts is a Certified Athletic Trainer, MAT, PES and the Injury Analyst for Rotowire.com. You can follow him on twitter @RotoWireATC.