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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

No one in the NBA is immune to injury. While players like Houston's Tracy McGrady or Portland's Greg Oden have rightfully earned the injury prone label, fantasy owners must remember injuries are unpredictable and anyone is capable of suffering an unlucky accident. Take for example Cleveland's Mo Williams. After missing just one game since joining the Cavaliers in 2008, Williams is expected to miss four to six weeks with a left shoulder sprain.

Mo Williams and Delonte West

Williams injured his left shoulder in a collision while attempting a steal against the Raptors last Tuesday. The injury was initially ruled a strain, indicating muscle damage, but upon further examination the team changed the diagnosis to a sprain, meaning the ligaments surrounding the glenohumeral joint sustained damage. While fantasy owners will be disappointed by the MRI results, they should consider themselves lucky and focus on what wasn't on the MRI and not on what was. The images revealed a minor tear in Williams' shoulder that is significant enough to require an extended period of rest and rehabilitation. However, no structural damage was seen meaning surgery will not be required. Williams will be reevaluated in two weeks and a more definitive timetable for his return will be established. Expect the point guard to return sometime after the All-Star break, wearing a protective sleeve to provide additional support.

Delonte West was poised to become a solid fantasy addition and started in Cleveland's win over the Lakers. However he suffered an injury to his left ring finger late in the fourth quarter and underwent further tests on Friday that revealed a fracture. The Cavaliers have already ruled West out for their upcoming contest against Oklahoma City and will re-evaluate the injury early next week. If West is able to return soon, remember he is left-handed and the fracture occurred to his shooting-hand, making it likely his shot will be altered. Daniel Gibson will enter the starting lineup and could warrant a waiver wire pickup in most leagues if West misses an extended period of time.

Tony Parker

San Antonio point guard Tony Parker is playing through a bad case of plantar fasciitis in his left foot. The plantar fascia of the foot is a fibrous band of tissue that provides supports for the arch of the foot. It is thick and durable and can normally withstand the increased forces associated with weight-bearing while walking, jumping, or running. However if the forces becomes excessive, the plantar fascia can become inflamed and plantar fasciitis will develop. While a torn plantar fascia sidelined Pacers star Danny Granger for 16 games, Parker is not expected to miss a significant period of time. However if the pain and inflammation increases following an extended road trip or several back-to-backs, the Spurs may elect to rest their speedy point guard for a game or two. Coach Gregg Popovich has already shown is he is willing to give his superstars the occasional day off, as forward Tim Duncan and guard Manu Ginobili have already missed several games to rest their ailing bodies. Fantasy owners should keep a close eye on the daily lineups for San Antonio before inserting Parker, or any other Spur, into a starting spot.

Brandon Roy

Portland guard Brandon Roy continues to nurse a strained right hamstring. A recent MRI confirmed the strain but Roy sought out a second opinion. He has since been advised to rest the ailing hamstring for one week and then re-evaluate the injury. The All-Star had missed two games before attempting a comeback earlier in the week. However the injury flared up following a jumper in the first half of Portland's win over Philadelphia, forcing Roy from the game.

Hamstring strains are a common in basketball and can become nagging, troublesome injuries. In you will recall, Lakers power forward Pau Gasol was sidelined for Los Angeles' first 10 games with a right hamstring strain and has since missed six additional games with a hamstring strain in his left leg. Yet while the treatment for the injury is largely the same, the specific approach in rehab likely varies for Gasol and Roy. Gasol operates in the posts while Roy patrols the perimeter. Gasol requires a firm base to post up his opponent on offense while staying strong on the defensive end. His hamstrings, in addition to his quadriceps muscle group, require strength to carry out this activity. Rehab for Gasol likely focused on strengthening the hamstring to insure full function of the knee as well as the hip, providing him with a solid base to withstand the forces associated with bending and lifting that are necessary for his position.

On the other hand, Roy plays the guard position and often has the ball in his hands, frequently initiating the offense. He must be able to explode quickly past defenders on offense while maintaining quick lateral speed on defense. The hamstrings play a vital role in running and quick movement as they slow the leg as it extends backwards as well as aiding in the initiate of hip motion from a stand-still position. Roy's rehab will work on strengthening the injured leg for the dynamic motions his position requires.

In addition to traditional rehab, it also appears Roy has opted to receive a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) infusion in attempt to quicken the healing process. In the procedure a sample of Roy's blood was drawn and then separated in a machine know as a centrifuge. The protein-concentrated plasma sample is filled with platelets, the part of the blood responsible for clotting. The sample is injected into the injury site in an attempt to accelerate and enhance tissue recovery by improving the natural healing process of the body. The procedure has shown signs of success in other sports, particularly baseball, where several Major League players have undergone the treatment for elbow and knee injuries.

The Blazers will be without Roy for the next five games and plan to re-evaluate the injury prior to a road game against the Mavericks. Jerryd Bayless will continue to start in Roy's absence.

Article first appeared on 1/22/10