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In Street Clothes...

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.

In Street Clothes...
by Jeff Stotts
RotoWire Injury Expert

We have reached the point in the season when much to the chagrin of fantasy owners, teams around the league begun shutting down players and preparing for next year. Owners still in the quest for a fantasy championship must keep a close eye on depth charts to take advantage of suddenly productive backups while those in keeper leagues should start evaluating rookies and other sleepers in anticipation for next year's draft.

Kevin Martin

A sprained left shoulder has left Rockets guard Kevin Martin a spectator for Houston's last four games. Martin injured the shoulder on March 19 against the Celtics and it was originally believed to be a bruised shoulder. However the diagnosis changed as it became clear the injury was more significant than a bruise. The ligaments surrounding the shoulder joint, the glenohumeral complex, stabilizes the joint while allowing for multiaxial movement. When sprained, shoulder motion becomes painful and the stability of the joint is compromised. Increased laxity is a considerable issue for a joint that is the most commonly dislocated one in the body. Unfortunately the Rockets playoff hopes have diminished and they aren't likely to take any risks with their prized midseason acquisition. Martin could return but his productivity may take a slight hit. Injuries have plagued Martin all season and make him a gamble for the remainder of the fantasy season.

Kenyon Martin

Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin continues to battle patellar tendinitis that has forced him out of Denver's last 14 games. The plasma-rich plasma therapy Martin underwent three weeks ago appears to have helped and he recently began light running. Martin has indicated he would like to see some action before the playoffs begin but fantasy owners still clinging onto the forward would be wise to finally let K-Mart go.

Marc Gasol

The 2009-2010 season is officially over for sophomore sensation Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies have elected to shut down the center to allow him to rehabilitate his partially torn neck muscle. The specifics have not been released but based on reports it sounds like the tear occurred to Gasol's sternocleidomastoid muscle. This muscle originates in the middle of the clavicle and inserts just below the ear at a point of the skull known as the mastoid process. It allows for neck rotation and tilting while playing a role in raising the sternum. The tear will take time to heal and Gasol should be ready for next season. In the meantime, rookie Hasheem Thabeet will start the remainder of the season and should be a decent source of blocks while he attempts to build his stock for next year.

Randy Foye

The Wizards have already lost Josh Howard for the year after the former Maverick tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) just four games after joining the squad. Unfortunately it now appears Randy Foye will be joining Howard on the bench after a recent MRI revealed a significant sprained left wrist. He is also dealing with strained tendons and a cyst in the wrist and his season is likely over. While the combination of injuries may sound surprising, they are actually pretty common. Sprains are often accompanied by strains and synovial cysts can slowly develop following an initial injury at the wrist. These cysts are filled with a clear mucus-like fluid and usually must be surgically excised. Shaun Livingston will continue to start in Foye's absence and is coming off what is arguably his best game of the year, scoring 18 points to go with eight assists in Wednesday's win over the Hornets. While he remains a dicey addition, Livingston could be worth the risk for fantasy owners desperate for assists.

Jermaine O'Neal

Miami starting center Jermaine O'Neal continues to nurse a hyperextended right knee. Knee extension occurs when the leg is straightened. When the knee is forced past its normal end point it has been hyperextended and can result in damage to ligaments, cartilage, and tendons. While it appears O'Neal avoided any serious damage, the knee continues to cause him pain and swelling. The injury was a disappointing setback for O'Neal who is averaging 13.9 points and 7.1 rebounds this year while shooting a career-high 53.3 percent from the field. Joel Anthony has entered the starting lineup but has failed to produce. Fantasy owners who are able to show patience with O'Neal should while those struggling to closeout a playoff win should look elsewhere.

Chris Andersen

Despite playing recent games with knee tendinitis and a broken ring finger, it appears a sprained ankle could finally ground the Birdman. The Denver center limped off the court on Thursday night after turning his ankle on a block attempt. Andersen has been a sold source of blocks all year long but could miss some time as a result of the injury. However with Denver struggling in the tightly contested Western conference, it would not be surprising if he Andersen gutted out the remaining games on the Nuggets schedule. Even if he plays the sprained ankle will limit his effectiveness and make elevating for blocks much more difficult.

Kirk Hinrich, Rip Hamilton

Two guards in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference are also battling sprained ankles, as Chicago's Kirk Hinrich and Detroit's Rip Hamilton are question marks heading into the weekend. Sprained ankles are difficult to play with especially when the body is fatigued from a long grueling season. Fatigue negatively affects a body's postural control and ability to recover so ankle sprains late in the season can be much harder to overcome than those sustained early in the year. Hinrich turned his left ankle in the first half of a recent loss to Phoenix and was seen wearing a walking boot the next day. Hinrich has returned to practice but consider looking elsewhere if healthier options are available. Hamilton sprained his ankle late in a game against the Bulls and missed Detroit's next contest against Miami. Hamilton has limped his way through most of the season and has played in only 46 games in what has easily been his worst season since his rookie year. Consider Hamilton's ankle injury a good excuse to finally cut him loose.

Article first appeared on 4/2/10