Carmelo Anthony missed his second straight game Thursday night and is being described by the Knicks as "day to day" with a "sore knee." I'd like you all to read that last sentence with Chris Farley-style air quotes, because Madison Square Garden has lost all credibility when it comes to this sort of thing.
Last season, the Knicks listed Jeremy Lin as day-to-day for the better part of the second half. (Lin's season ended in early March.) And "sore foot" was the description of Rasheed Wallace's injury ... which required season (and likely career) ending surgery.
I don't want to step on Jeff Stotts' toes and start analyzing injuries, but know that, in MSG-speak, "sore knee" could mean anything from "he knocked knees with Steve Novak at practice" to "amputation pending."
For as long as Anthony is out, Amar'e Stoudemire (91% owned) will be a top-tier play, even though his playing time is capped at about 30 minutes a night. J.R. Smith (89%) will also be asked to pick up some of the slack - Smith scored 36 against Oklahoma City on Thursday - but he's also one of the streakiest players in the league.
If 'Melo is sidelined for an extended period, Steve Novak (14%) could win back a much more prominent and consistent spot in Mike Woodson's rotation.
I've written a fair amount in this space about Utah's frontcourt logjam, and I still think the Jazz should have moved one of their bigs at the trade deadline. But for now, that frontcourt depth is a real blessing. With Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap both suffering ankle injuries recently, Derrick Favors (63%) and Enes Kanter (16%) got extended run, averaging double-doubles in just over 30 minutes per game.
Millsap has already returned to the lineup, and Jefferson should be close behind, so Favors and Kanter will lose that newfound value. But watch Utah's playoff standing closely. If they fall out of the top eight, Tyrone Corbin could opt to emphasize the younger guys, especially with Jefferson and Millsap likely to depart this summer as free agents.
Picks for the Week
All percent-owned stats are from Yahoo! Your league’s mileage may vary.
Manu Ginobili (91%) - Injuries and minute restrictions have kept Manu's value artificially low, but with Tony Parker out for the next month, he'll be asked to pick up much of the slack.
Kemba Walker (89%) - Will be asked to carry more of the offensive load while Ramon Sessions is sidelined for the next 2-4 weeks.
Danny Green (64%) - May be available in some leagues due to the fact that his scoring totals have dipped a bit, but he's still posting good-to-great numbers in threes, field goal percentage and steals. And with the Spurs playing without Parker, Green could be asked to shoot more.
Jermaine O'Neal (18%) - Marcin Gortat will be out for about a month due to a foot injury, which moves O'Neal up a slot on the depth chart. Of course, it doesn't make a ton of sense for a rebuilding team like the Suns to give major minutes to an old and notoriously brittle player like O'Neal; there's a good chance that Markieff Morris (5%) and his brother Marcus Morris (4%) get a boost as well.
Shane Battier (13%) - Battier hasn't gotten much credit for Miami's win streak, but maybe he should. The veteran forward has been scorching-hot from three-point range, shooting over 60 percent from long range and making over three per game.
Ed Davis (11%) - Moves to the starting lineup while Zach Randolph recovers from an ankle injury.
C.J. Miles (10%) - Miles has played very well in place of Dion Waiters (illness). He could have more chances to show his stuff over the next month, as Kyrie Irving is nursing a sore knee and could get extra rest down the stretch.
Gary Neal (6%), Patrick Mills (2%), and Nando De Colo (1%) - This trio will be asked to fill the void created by Tony Parker's injury. Which one should you pick up? Neal would be the best option, but he's dealing with an Achilles injury of his own and has played just once since February 22. If he returns soon - and "soon" could be this weekend - he's the one to claim.