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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...

With the NBA season entering its sixth full week of regular season play, fantasy owners can begin to prepare for the return of players who have been recovering from offseason surgery or injuries. Lineup adjustments become easier six weeks in, as other players drafted have now suffered injures of their own. If looking for a low risk, high reward addition to replace a recently injured player, scour the waiver wire to see if guys like Tracy McGrady or Mike Dunleavy Jr. are sitting around as their impending returns approach.

Danny Granger

Granger was a surprise scratch from Wednesday’s match up with the Clippers. The Pacers reveled Granger is suffering from a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee just a mere 90 minutes prior to tipoff. The Pacers consider their All-Star to be day-to-day so the sprain is likely a mild one. The MCL is the ligament that runs along the inside portion (medial) of the knee. It attaches to both the femur and tibia and supports the knee from excessive force to the medial side of the knee (valgus force). Unlike the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that must be surgically reconstructed, the MCL can heal without surgery. For basketball players this ligament is crucial in withstanding forces that typically occur with cutting and pivoting especially while moving laterally on defense. The Pacers have not released many particulars surrounding the injury but sound like they are expecting Granger to be sidelined for the immediate future. Granger will likely wear a supportive brace when he does return.

Mike Dunleavy Jr.

The Pacers hope the absence of Granger can be eased by the impending return of teammate Mike Dunleavy Jr. Dunleavy has yet to play this season after a MRI prior to training camp revealed a Grade II sprain of an undisclosed ligament in his right knee. The Grade II designation means the ligament suffered partial but not complete tearing. The sprain was the latest setback for the forward who played in just 18 games last season largely in part to arthoscopic knee surgery required to remove bone spurs from his right knee. Dunleavy has been medically cleared to practice and while he is not expected to play Friday against the Mavericks, should return very soon.

Louis Williams

The Sixers will be without their starting point guard for at least two months after Williams underwent surgery to wire his fractured jaw shut. Williams broke his mandible (jaw bone) after he took an elbow to the face against the Wizards. When the mandible is fractured, the upper and lower portions of the mouth are wired together to stabilize the bone. While the injury will not directly effect Williams’ game, the change in diet required may. The point guard will be on a strict liquid diet that could result in weight loss. The Sixers are sending Williams to a nutritionist to insure he is consuming the proper amount of calories and can minimize the effects of the new diet. Regardless, the injury is disappointing for a player in the middle of a breakout season. Williams assumed the starting point guard responsibilities after the departure of Andre Miller and rewarded the Sixers and fantasy owners alike with per game averages of 17.4 points, 5.1 assists, and 1.7 steals. Rookie Jrue Holiday will start in his place.

Golden State Warriors

No team has been more ravaged by injuries than Golden State. The Warriors have already lost Kelenna Azubuike and Brandan Wright for the season and veterans Speedy Claxton and Devean George have yet to play this year. Meanwhile Ronny Turiaf, CJ Watson, Raja Bell, Corey Maggette, and Andris Biedrins have all missed time with a variety of injuries and ailments. Watson is recovering from a bout of the H1N1 flu and is expected to return soon, while the newly acquired Bell is preparing for surgery to repair a torn ligament in left wrist. If screws are required, Bell could join Azubuike and Wright on the sidelines for the remainder of the year. Turiaf has missed the last 12 games while nursing a sprained left knee and continues to be listed as day-to-day. Maggette sat out against the Mavericks with a strained hamstring but returned the next night against the Spurs. Center Biedrins is battling a back injury as well as a condition called osteitis pubis. This condition occurs when the cartilaginous joint, known as the pubic symphysis, becomes inflamed. The pubic symphysis connects the two pubic bones and can cause severe pain with running and jumping when injured.

The myriad of injuries have decimated the bench and as a result have increased the fantasy production from Monta Ellis and Anthony Morrow. The guards are seeing significantly more playing time but don’t expect this trend to continue. Playing excessive minutes will wear down these players quicker and also makes them more susceptible to suffering injuries of their own. Enjoy the initial spike in production but expect a dip as the extra playing times catches up to these two.

Article first appeared on 11/27/09