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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.

by Jeff Stotts
RotoWire Injury Expert

The All-Star break is just days away and could not come at a better time for several marquee names around the league. The extra days off will allow for these players to rest and receive extended treatment on nagging injuries. Even veteran participants in All-Star weekend are looking forward to getting away from the grind of the NBA season and enjoying a bit of fun in Dallas.

Chris Paul

Point guard Chris Paul will not be able to participate in the All-Star game as he is shelved for the next four to six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

The menisci are two disks made up of a specific kind of cartilage known as fibrocartilage. Fibrocartilage is structured to withstand high amounts of stress while retaining its elasticity. This makeup allows for them to serve both as shock absorbers and stabilizers. The medial or inside meniscus is C-shaped while the lateral or outside is almost completely O-shaped. Both lie on the articulating surface of the tibia but unfortunately this location makes them susceptible to injury.

When the knee is twisted, like Paul did against the Warriors on January 27, the menisci are often pinched between bony protuberances on the femur and can tear. Things are further complicated by the fact that the blood supply to the menisci is limited and even nonexistent in some portions making natural healing extremely difficult. When a tear occurs, a surgeon is required to repair or remove the damaged portion of the meniscus.

Renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews successfully performed Paul's surgery on Thursday and the Hornets expect Paul to be on crutches for the next several weeks. Rehabilitation will begin almost immediately, with an initial focus on regaining range of motion at the knee. As rehab continues, the focus will shift to strengthening and weight bearing before finally concentrating on sports specific activities.

Magic point guard Jameer Nelson suffered a similar injury earlier this season and missed 16 games for Orlando over a one-month stretch. Expect Paul to be sidelined for a similar amount of time. Rookie Darren Collison has put up impressive numbers since Paul went down, averaging 14.0 points and 13.6 assists in three starts and is a must add in all fantasy formats.

Joakim Noah

After sidelining Pacers forward Danny Granger and limiting Spurs point guard Tony Parker for most of the season, plantar fasciitis has claimed its latest victim in Bulls center Joakim Noah. Noah has been battling inflamed plantar fascia in his left foot for several weeks. After sitting out a Bulls win over the Rockets on January 23, Noah attempted to return but limped through the next five games. The team has since decided to shut down their leading rebounder until after the All-Star break. Like previously discussed with Parker and Granger, plantar fasciitis is an extremely painful injury that occurs when the thick band of tissue that provides supports for the arch of the foot becomes inflamed.

While certain modalities like ultrasound and ice can relieve the pain and offer some relief, the best course of treatment for plantar fasciitis is rest. Noah will have received roughly 11 days of rest between now and the Bulls' first game following the All-Star break. While the rest may prove beneficial for the immediate future, fantasy owners should expect the injury to continue to linger for the remainder of the season.

Paul Pierce

Boston forward Paul Pierce will likely miss his second straight game on Friday as he nurses a mid-foot sprain initially sustained in a win over the Wizards. The mid-foot consists of the five tarsometatarsal joints that are formed where the metatarsal bones of the foot conjoin with the cuboid bone and the three cuneiform bones. The linchpin of the five tarsometatarsal joints is the second joint that is stabilized by a strong ligament known as Lisfranc's ligament. Often times when the midfoot is injured this ligament will avulse a small piece of bone creating the infamous Lisfranc fracture.

The injury is rare in basketball but many NFL players such as Ronnie Brown and Dwight Freeney have seen entire seasons prematurely end following the injury. Fortunately for the Celtics and Pierce owners alike, X-rays were negative and the injury is being treated as a sprain. However while fantasy owners may be eager to get Pierce back, the injury should not be taken lightly and rushing him back would be unwise. Coach Doc Rivers has already stated he will not risk any further injury to his All-Star and will rest the forward if he cannot adequately partake in a game. Despite his coach's stance, Pierce continues to receive treatment and plans on participating not only in the upcoming All-Star game, but also in Sunday's match up against the rival Magic. Tony Allen received his sixth start of the year in Pierce's absence and put up an uninspired six points.

Hedo Turkoglu

Raptor forward Hedo Turkoglu continues to sit after suffering a fracture to his orbital bone on the right side of his face. The injury occurred when Turkoglu took an inadvertent elbow to the face in a win over the Pacers. The skull is divided into two basic parts, the neurocranium, that houses the brain, and the facial skeleton. Seven bones from both the neurocranium and the facial skeleton form the orbit or eye socket. The bones here are often fractured following a direct blow similar to the one suffered by Turkoglu. It generally takes six to eight weeks for an injury of this nature to properly heal but by wearing a protective mask similar to the one sported by Pistons guard Richard Hamilton, Turkoglu should be able to play as the bone heals. The forward has missed two consecutive games and a majority of a third with the injury but hopes to return this weekend when Toronto hosts Sacramento. Antoine Wright has taken Turkoglu's spot in the starting lineup but has done little to boost his already limited fantasy value.

Article first appeared on 2/5/10