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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...

Injuries across the league are mounting, forcing coaches and fantasy owners alike to reevaluate their game plans and tweak their lineups accordingly. Many star players are dealing with injuries that tend to linger and may require a significant amount of rest and rehabilitation.

Leandro Barbosa

Barbosa has missed Phoenix's last two games dealing with a wrist injury that has been plaguing him for several months now. He originally sprained his right wrist as he led the Brazilian team to a gold medal in September's FIBA Americas Championship. He battled soreness in the wrist throughout preseason and training camp and underwent an MRI after aggravating the injury in a recent game against Golden State. The MRI revealed a tiny cyst within the wrist but unfortunately it is too small to surgically excise.

It is likely the cyst is a synovial cyst that slowly developed following the initial injury in September. These cysts are filled with a clear mucus-like fluid and cause the athlete pain when the wrist is used. Ultrasound treatment can be utilized to decrease the size of the cyst and the athletic training staff has placed the Brazilian Blur in two splints, one worn during the day and one worn at night. Barbosa is expected to be back in the Suns' lineup tonight when they take on the Celtics. However, it sounds like the injury may be an issue for an extended period of time and could force Barbosa to miss more games if aggravated again.

Andrew Bynum

Bynum avoided serious injury when an MRI revealed his injured elbow is a strain and not a sprain. Many people are confused about the difference between the two and often mistakenly interchange the two terms. A strain is an injury to a muscle while a sprain means the injury occurred to a supportive ligament. Both injuries vary in their recovery time and are treated differently. Bynum strained his elbow when it was hyperextended in the closing minutes of the Lakers overtime win over the Rockets. While the muscular strain will likely keep Bynum out for a few games, a sprain of the ulnar or radial collateral ligament would have been much worse. With Pau Gasol still slowed by a hamstring injury, DJ Mbenga will start in Bynum's place

Devin Harris

The Nets' All-Star point guard is expected to miss two-to-four weeks with a groin strain. The injury originally occurred in the preseason and stiffened up following a game against the Magic. Fortunately Harris is not dealing with a more significant groin tear but the strain is especially painful and limiting. The groin is a group of muscles located on the inside and front of the thigh. The primary responsibility of these muscles is to pull the leg inward, or adduct, and is vital to a basketball player who is dependent on the ability to move laterally when playing defense and making cuts. A groin strain can be particularly debilitating for a guard like Harris whose game is based on his speed and quickness.

Harris is committed to making sure the injury completely heals before returning to the court. He will test the groin in two weeks and if there is lingering pain or stiffness take another two weeks to rest. Harris owners may want to take a look at teammate Rafer Alston who has assumed the starting point guard responsibilities. However the early results from Alston are mixed as he scored 20 points in his first start but has only managed nine total points in the two games since.

Yi Jianlian

Harris isn't the only Net player to miss an extended period of time. Jianlian is out after suffering a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee after forward Gerald Wallace rolled into his leg midway through a third quarter loss to Charlotte. An MRI confirmed the sprain and treatment and rehabilitation for the injury is already underway. The MCL is one of the primary knee stabilizers and limits valgus or inward forces applied to the knee. When injured, the stability of the knee is compromised and range of motion at the knee may also be limited. Before returning to play, Jianlian must be able to display full strength and flexibility and will likely wear a brace in his first few games back for additional support. With Jianlian sidelined for at least three weeks, Eduardo Najera will get the first shot at the starting power forward spot but Coach Lawrence Frank said he will evaluate the position from game-to-game.

Kevin Martin

Sacramento's leading scorer received devastating news Thursday when a MRI revealed a hairline fracture in his left wrist. Between the bones of the arm and the bones of the hand sit the carpal bones. These eight tiny bones are divided into two rows and articulate with one another as well as the radius and ulna of the arm and metacarpal bones of the hand. Martin sustained a fracture to the carpal bone known as the scaphoid or navicular bone. This peanut-shaped bone is the most commonly broken carpal bone and can present several complications if not properly treated. Blood flow to the area is limited and often the navicular will not receive the necessary amount of blood required to completely heal.

Fortunately the fracture is non displaced meaning the bone did not shift after fracturing. Martin is currently weighing his options and may elect to surgically stabilize the bone with a screw. Whatever Martin chooses to do, it is likely he will be shelved for at least six weeks. The injury is a huge blow for fantasy owners who will scramble to replace the 30.6 points per game they will miss while Martin is out. Coach Paul Westphal has several options and will likely start Beno Udrih at point guard while shifting rookie Tyreke Evans over to the shooting guard position. Rookie Omri Casspi may also see an increase in playing time.

Article first appeared on 11/5/09