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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...

In a regular season that lasts 82 games and spans over six months, it is no surprise that NBA players often battle numerous injuries. Injuries that occur early in the season can become season-long problems and slow an athlete and his production. Keep that in consideration when making roster moves and deciding who to start and who to bench. Remember just because a player is back on the court does not mean he is 100 percent.

While back injuries are a common occurrence in athletics, especially basketball, they are often complicated and difficult to manage. Traumatic incidents like collisions or violent twists can lead to lower back contusions or muscle strains. However, back injuries are often problematical because they don't always require a traumatic event to develop. Preexisting conditions, referred to as congenital, can exist that result in structural weaknesses that may also lead to muscle strains and stability issues. Regardless of the nature of the injury, back pain is often very painful and requires a sufficient amount of rest and rehabilitation. Currently several marquee names in fantasy are battling back injuries including Utah's Deron Williams, Golden State's Andris Biedrins, Indiana's Troy Murphy, and Detroit's Tayshaun Prince.

Deron Williams

Williams has yet to miss any time with his back injury but it has been so painful he has been seeing a chiropractor for regular adjustments and was too sore to sleep in his hotel bed. Williams' injury appears to be improving but it is clearly hampering him. In the past two games he has combined to shot 7-21 from the field and scored just 18 points. He remains a must start but lower your expectations until the injury is no longer an issue.

Andris Biedrins

The outlook isn't as good for Biedrins. The center did not join the Warriors on a five-game road trip that began with Wednesday's loss to Indiana. Biedrins initially strained his lower back muscles on November 4th in a game against Memphis. He attempted to return after sitting out one game but aggravated the injury, forcing Coach Don Nelson to admit he may have rushed Biedrins back too soon. The injury will be reevaluated next week prior to Golden State's home game against Portland. Mikki Moore and Anthony Randolph will continue to platoon the center position until Biedrins is able to return.

Troy Murphy

Pacers' big man Murphy is battling a lower back contusion after taking a hard foul in the first quarter of a home loss to Denver. The bruised musculature has kept him from Indiana's last three games and he is currently listed as day-to-day. The Pacers hope he will be available on Saturday when the Celtics come to town and fantasy owners should be ready to get Murphy's double-double ability and three-pointers back into their lineups.

Tayshaun Prince

After playing in the first three games of the season, Prince has been ruled out indefinitely with a ruptured disc in his lower back. Between each vertebrae of the back sits an intervertebral disk that serve as shock absorber for the rigorous stress applied to the spine. Each disk consists of an outer ring of tough fibrocartilage and a softer, semi-fluid center known as the nucleus pulposus. Think of it as stale jelly donut. The donut (annulus fibrosus) is rigid and allows the donut to sit on the plate without the jelly filling (the pulposus) spilling out. However if squished too hard, the jelly will give to the pressure and spill out the side. This is similar to what happens to a vertebral disk if the back is compressed or twisted. The disk can herniate in varying amounts and fortunately it appears Prince's rupture is small. However a minor rupture can still be very painful and limiting. Prince is currently receiving daily treatment but has not ruled out surgery. New York's Danilo Gallinari suffered from a similar injury last season and eventually elected to undergo surgery. Expect the Pistons and Prince to explore all their options before choosing surgery but the forward does not look to be fantasy relevant for the immediate future.

Michael Redd

Redd has missed Milwaukee's last four games with a left knee injury. There was some initial concern about the nature of the injury because it occurred to the same knee that Redd had surgically reconstructed last March. However an MRI revealed that the knee remains structurally sound and that Redd simply strained his right patellar tendon. The patellar tendon is the conjoined tendon of the muscles of the quadriceps group. These muscles are responsible for extending (straightening) the knee and flexing (bending) the hip. The patella or kneecap floats within this tendon increasing the lever arm of the muscle. Redd injured the play on a dunk against the Pistons and suffered the same injury in the 06-07 season when also attempting a dunk. The injury forced Redd out of 20 games that season and the Bucks have already ruled their All-Star out for the next two weeks. Charlie Bell will get the first shot at filling in for Redd but Coach Scott will look to rookie Jodie Meeks or Carlos Delfino if Bell struggles to produce.

Tyrus Thomas

Thomas underwent successful surgery last weekend to repair a fractured left forearm. The forward broke his radius, the larger of the two bones in the lower arm, while performing a routine weighted pull-up in a weight-training session at the Berto Center. A plate was utilized to mend the fracture and the Bulls are hoping Thomas will only miss 13 games. Fortunately the injury will not stop Thomas from running and he should be able to maintain his conditioning. Rookie Taj Gibson has started the past three games in place of the injured Thomas, averaging 11.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.0 block over that span.

Article first appeared on 11/14/09