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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

A long season is beginning to take its toll on players across the league as the injury bug continues to rear its ugly head. Some teams like the Portland Trailblazers and Chicago Bulls seem snake-bitten with an injury list drastically longer while some teams remain unscathed. Hopefully your fantasy roster does not mirror one of these afflicted teams and you remain in the playoff picture in your league.

The Chicago Bulls

As mentioned the Bulls remain an injury-riddled team. To begin, center Joakim Noah remains sidelined with plantar fasciitis. The Bulls elected to shut down their top rebounder for three weeks to rest the inflamed connective tissue in his feet. While he continues to progress and is no longer wearing a protective walking boot, he remains at least two weeks away. Plantar fasciitis can be extremely painful and is easily irritated. Continued irritation on the inside of the foot can lead to the development of a heel spur at the attachment site of the plantar fascia, an issue best addressed with surgical intervention. Fantasy owners would be wise to explore other options with the Bulls struggling and the fantasy playoffs on the horizon. Noah isn't the only Bull dealing with plantar fasciitis as rookie Taj Gibson continues to play with the condition in both feet.

Bulls forward Luol Deng remains shelved with a strained right calf muscle. Calf strains have bothered several players this season including Mike Miller and Elton Brand, forcing them to miss extended time. However the strain of Deng's gastrocnemius muscle does not appear to be quite as serious and is likely a Grade I strain. Despite a pessimistic outlook by Head Coach Vinny Del Negro, Deng hopes to play on March 16 when the Bulls travel to Memphis. James Johnson has replaced Deng in the starting lineup but has not done enough to warrant fantasy consideration.

Center Brad Miller is playing with a thumb injury that limited him to two points on Thursday in a loss to the Magic. Thumb injuries have been discussed in detail in the past weeks with veterans Shaquille O'Neal and Paul Pierce and remain extremely problematic for NBA players. However Miller's injury is not considered as severe as those of Pierce and O'Neal and should not require him to miss an extended period of time. Instead, the veteran will continue to play and could be a solid fantasy addition as he remains the lone big in the depleted Chicago frontcourt.

Unfortunately All-Star point guard Derrick Rose has now joined his teammates in the training room with an injury of his own. Rose suffered a sprained left wrist after colliding with Magic center Dwight Howard for the second time in a month. Rose limped away from the first collision with a bruised hip that nearly forced him from the All-Star game. While X-rays were negative, Rose will undergo a MRI later on Friday to determine the severity of the sprain. The wrist is made up of eight tiny carpal bones that rely on numerous ligaments to connect each one. Unfortunately this makeup leaves it very susceptible to injury. Rose owners will have to wait patiently on the MRI results and should keep their fingers crossed that it is a minor sprain. While Rose could potentially play with a wrist sprain it would negatively affect his shooting and dribbling ability. Jannero Pargo replaced Rose in the second half of the game against the Magic and will likely fill in again on Friday if Rose remains sidelined.

Kenyon Martin

Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin continues to battle patellar tendinitis as well as a small tear in his patellar tendon. The patellar tendon attaches the quadriceps muscle to the lower leg and the patella actually is embedded within the tendon. Basketball players are highly prone to developing tendinitis in this area and the condition is commonly referred to as Jumper's Knee. However the partial tear is bit more serious and is likely causing Martin a great deal of pain and resulting in significant inflammation. Martin is aggressively rehabbing and is undergoing a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) infusion in attempt to speed up the healing process. Remember Portland guard Brandon Roy underwent the same procedure to recover quicker from a strained hamstring. In the procedure a sample of the athlete's blood is taken and broken down in a centrifuge. The protein-concentrated sample is filled with platelets, the component of blood responsible for clotting and injected into the injury site. By increasing the platelet count, the body's natural healing response is accelerated and can work more efficiently. The PPR infusion may allow for Martin to return in time for a playoff run, it is unlikely he will hold much fantasy value for the remainder of the season.

Andris Biedrins

The Warriors will be without their tallest player as center Andris Biedrins is out for the remainder of the season after undergoing successful surgery to repair a tear in his abdominal wall. Biedrins was suffering from athletic pubalgia, a condition that affects the cartilage that conjoins the pubic bones known as the pubic symphysis. As repetitive forces are forced through the pubic symphysis they are redirected through the groin and abdominal muscles resulting in microtears. These tears lead to weakness and instability in the abdominal wall and inguinal canal and can result in a hernia. In the process the athlete suffers from localized pain in groin and abdominals and has difficulty carrying out basic hip function. In surgery, the herniated protrusion is re-established and the weakened area is reinforced with a surgical mesh to prevent reoccurrence. Golden State is calling the surgery a success but Biedrins will miss the rest of the year. With teammate Ronny Turiaf nursing a knee injury, Anthony Tolliver has taken over the center position in Head Coach Don Nelson's small-ball lineup. Tolliver has performed well averaging 11.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks over the last five games. Fantasy owners should quickly cut Biedrins loose and should take a look at Tolliver to fill the void.

Article first appeared on 3/12/10