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NBA Injury Analysis: Kobe's Controversial Ankle Injury

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol
Head athletic trainer Gary Vitti has had his hands full this season trying to keep a veteran Lakers team healthy and on the court. Steve Nash and Dwight Howard have both missed portions of the season with injuries and both Bryant and Gasol remain hampered by injuries of their own. Bryant has played a total of 12 minutes in Los Angeles' last two games and is expected to miss at least one more nursing a sprained left ankle. There was plenty of controversy surrounding the play in which he was injured but from a medical standpoint the play in question is a class mechanism of injury for a lateral or even worse a high ankle sprain. The Lakers have classified the injury as "severe" but they did not reveal the type of sprain. Bryant has had multiple ankle sprains throughout his career, including seven right ankle sprains and nine sprains to his left ankle. The right ankle has cost him more games but the left ankle has been a bigger problem in recent years. Bryant's current situation has been complicated by a flu bug but Bryant has never been one to remain sidelined for long. Fantasy owners can expect Bryant to miss a few more games, if any.

Gasol appeared to be nearing a return from torn plantar fascia in his right foot but the former All-Star suffered some prolonged soreness after 2-on-2 drills. He will undergo a diagnostic ultrasound Tuesday and will return Friday at the earliest. Gasol has already missed 32 games this season but could be a helpful addition for teams in need of blocks and rebounds down the stretch. Consider adding Gasol if the ultrasound does not reveal any significant findings. Earl Clark will move back to the bench upon Gasol's return.

Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler
Anthony continues to be limited by fluid accumulation in his right knee. He returned for two largely unproductive outings before returning to New York to have the knee drained. The procedure is minimally invasive and often players can return to the court without missing any time. However Melo has yet to return to action and the Knicks remain tight-lipped about when he will be back on the court. I alluded to my primary concern last week and my sentiment remains the same. I'm not overly concerned with the fluid itself but what exactly is causing the fluid in the first place. The swelling is reportedly isolated to the posterior aspect of the knee, suggesting a torn meniscus is possible or a cyst similar to the one effecting teammate Amar'e Stoudemire. Until the cause is addressed Anthony's knee will continue to be problematic. Plug him in if he plays but unfortunately Anthony does not appear to be a reliable fantasy weapon for the remainder of the season.

The new is much better for Chandler who appears to have avoided any serious damage to his ailing left knee. The official diagnosis is a contusion and it isn't expected to keep him off the court for an extended period of time. A stiff neck contributed to his absence Sunday but all indications point to the reigning Defensive Player of the Year rejoining the team for the final game of their West coast road trip.

Shawn Marion
The Mavericks have been forced to keep their slim playoff hopes afloat without the services of their defensive stalwart. Marion suffered what was initially diagnosed as a calf contusion on March 6. He was considered day-to-day at the time and wasn't expected to miss a considerable amount of time. However after he missed his fourth consecutive game, the team elected to send him for a MRI that ultimately revealed a calf strain in addition to the contusion. A strain is considered more serious but the team remains optimistic he will be able to return within a few days. Marion has a bit of a history with this calf but nothing substantial enough to believe this will be a long term issue.

Fast Breaks

Roddy Beaubois: The Mavericks guard is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a fractured second metacarpal in his left hand. Beaubois has had a quiet season but had just worked his way back into the Dallas rotation. The injury will likely keep him out for the remainder of the season.

Mike Conley Jr.: The Grizzlies point guard recently revealed he is playing with a sprained wrist. The injury could be the reason behind Conley's poor shooting performance on Saturday when he shot 6-of-18 from the field. It doesn't sound like Conley anticipates missing any time but scale back your expectations for the near future as the wrist heals.

DeMarcus Cousins: A left thigh contusion has cost Cousins two consecutive games but is not considered serious. Patrick Patterson has taken advantage of the extra playing time, averaging 18.0 points in Cousin's absence.

Tony Parker: The Spurs are expecting to have their All-Star point guard back earlier than expected. Parker has missed seven consecutive games after sustaining a Grade II ankle sprain. He was expected to miss at least a month but Parker has advanced well through rehab. This wouldn't be the first time Parker bounced back from this type of injury. He missed nine games during the 2008-2009 season with the same diagnosis on the same ankle.

Nikola Pekovic: The injury-plagued Timberwolves welcomed back Pekovic after the big man missed eight games with an abdominal strain. He looked good in his 24 minutes against New Orleans, scoring 13 points while collecting six rebounds and two blocked shots. After the game Pekovic admitted he will need a game or two to be back to 100 percent but fantasy owners in all formats have to get him back in their lineups.

Derrick Rose: Still no update on when Rose will take the court for the first time this season but as mentioned previously, his fantasy value takes a dip with each passing day. Like Pekovic, Rose will need time before he's the MVP-caliber player we are used to seeing.

Jeff Stotts is a Certified Athletic Trainer, MAT, PES and the Injury Analyst for Rotowire.com. You can follow him on twitter @RotoWireATC.

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