By Shannon McKeown
RotoWire Staff Writer
The All-Injury Edition
If you play fantasy basketball, chances are you lost a significant contributor to at least one of your teams over the past two weeks.
Last week, Andrew Bogut (back), Elton Brand (shoulder), Jameer Nelson (shoulder), Michael Redd (knee) and Andrew Bynum (knee) fell victim to injuries. This week, it was Al Jefferson (knee), Luke Ridnour (finger), Andris Biedrins (ankle), Mike Dunleavy Jr. (knee) and Jason Terry (hand).
Instead of crying about it, let's look at ways to reload.
Around the League
Every week, we'll use this space to track players whose fantasy value is improving, declining or uncertain. We're not particularly concerned with hot or cold streaks - all players toss up a 2-for-10 every now and again - unless they're extreme or seem to indicate an underlying problem or injury. Instead, we'll be looking at changes in playing time or role or skill level.
Ramon Sessions (MIL) – It took three months and injuries to Ridnour and Redd for coach Scott Skiles to see the light, but Sessions is finally locked into the Bucks starting lineup. In six starts since Redd went down, Sessions is averaging 20.8 points, six assists and 1.5 steals. His 44-point, 12-assist outburst against the Pistons inflates those numbers slightly, but there's little doubt that he's legit. He won't help a lick from beyond the arc, but it won't be a surprise if Sessions is among the league leaders in assists for the second half of the season.
Kevin Love (MIL) – With Jefferson out for the season, coach Kevin McHale will look to his 2008 first-round draft choice to fill the void. Love's play had already picked up prior to the loss of Jefferson (11.3 points and 10.1 boards the past 30 days), and with no other legitimate frontcourt options on the Timberwolves roster, he should continue to show improvement.
Jarrett Jack (IND) – An injury to Dunleavy Jr. (see "Check Status") has opened the door for Jack to see more playing time. If the injury sidelines Dunleavy Jr. for an extended period, look for Jack to see the majority of starts at shooting guard. Marquis Daniels could eventually factor into the mix if his back problems fade.
Wally Szczerbiak (CLE) – The Cavs roster took a hit on Sunday, as they lost Sahsa Pavlovic to an ankle sprain for the next 4-to-6 weeks. With Delonte West (wrist) still on the shelf, Szczerbiak could see some time at the two. Daniel Gibson will factor into the mix as well, but Wally has already started two of the past three games, averaging 14.3 points, seven boards and three treys.
Ryan Anderson (NJ) – Anderson's rise as a fantasy contributor has to be one of the biggest surprises of the season. He was bumped into the starting lineup after Yi Jianlian went down with a broken finger, and the first-year power forward hasn't looked back. Anderson's made 15 straight starts, but he's starting to turn it up a notch this month with averages of 13.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.5 threes.
Samuel Dalembert (PHI) – It's been a long time coming, but Dalembert appears to have finally figured out his role with this year's version of the Sixers. In the past three games, Dalembert is averaging 11.3 points, 12.3 boards and 2.3 blocks. He was often the odd man out of the rotation when Brand was healthy, but with Brand done for the season, Dalembert should continue to thrive.
Danilo Galinari (NYK) – Gallinari made his first start of the season on Sunday, and while he played only 13 minutes, coach Mike D'Antoni plans to keep him as a starter on a game-to-game basis. The Knicks aren't likely to be making any sort of playoff push, so the chances are good that Gallinari sticks with the starting unit for the remainder of the season.
Jose Barea (DAL) – When Terry left Saturday's game against the Bulls, Barea stepped up his game, pouring in 20 points in 37 minutes of action. He's shown flashes of productivity earlier this season and should be a sparkplug off the bench for the Mavs while Terry is shelved.
Mike Dunleavey Jr. (IND) – Mike Dunleavy Jr. suffered a right knee injury on Sunday night - the same one that caused him to miss the first 34 games of the season. The severity of the injury is still unknown, but that it's the same knee is a cause for concern.
Vince Carter (NJ) – Vinsanity sat out Saturday's tilt against the Magic with a strained right elbow, but hopes to return to action Tuesday against the Spurs. Tuesday's game is the Nets last matchup before the All-Star break, so it shouldn't shock you if they give Carter the extra rest.
Rudy Gay (MEM) – Gay has missed two consecutive games with a strained hip flexor and might sit out the slam dunk contest during All-Star weekend. Make sure you double check his status before playing him on Wednesday.
Chris Paul (NO) – Four missed games and counting since Paul went down with a strained groin. CP3 plans on playing in the All-Star Game this weekend, but his status for Wednesday's game against the Celtics is still unknown.
Andris Biedrins (GS) – Golden State suffered another blow to what has been a horrible season when Biedrins sprained his ankle Friday night. The good news is that the X-rays came back negative, but don't expect to see him back on the court until after the All-Star break.
Drew Gooden (CHI) – Gooden practiced on Monday, but he's not expected to play Tuesday when the Bulls host the Pistons. He's scheduled to meet with a sports hernia specialist this week, so a timetable for his return probably won't be available until after the All-Star break.
Al Jefferson (MIN) – Monday was a sad day for the Timberwolves, as they learned Jefferson would miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL. Jefferson was putting forth a career-best campaign (23.1 points, 11 boards, 1.7 blocks), and Minnesota was starting to play well. The best bet for owners is to pick up Love and hope the rookie can help ease the loss of an elite fantasy big man.
Jason Terry (DAL) – Terry will be sidelined for a few weeks after breaking the fourth metacarpal in his non-shooting hand. He had already undergone successful surgery on Monday. His Sixth Man of the Year campaign is put on temporary hold, but he should be back in time to help out in the playoffs for head-to-head formats.
Quentin Richardson (NYK) – Richardson was one of the causalities of the Knicks apparent youth movement, as he was pushed to a reserve role in Sunday's game against the Blazers. While he'll still be a solid source of treys, Richardson loses much of his value with the demotion.
Article first appeared on 2/9/08