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NBA Injury Analysis: Who needs 'Melo when you've got... Jeremy Lin?!?

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.

Carmelo Anthony and Baron Davis
In just his fifth game back after returning from a sprained ankle and a nagging wrist ailment, Anthony is once again in the athletic training room with a strained right groin. He was injured while throwing a lob early in the first quarter of a win over the Jazz and never returned.

Like the hamstring or quadriceps, the groin is actually group of muscles known as the adductors. They are primarily responsible for pulling the leg inward in a direction known as adduction. A strained groin hampers this ability, limiting an athlete's lateral movement. Such an injury makes staying in front of an opponent difficult and also hinders the player from cutting and coming hard off screens. Furthermore, a strained groin must be properly healed to insure the other muscle groups of the lower leg are not left vulnerable to injury. The Knicks anticipate Melo will miss a week to two weeks, which seems like a reasonable timeline. Bill Walker has replaced him in the starting lineup.

The Knicks continue to wait for the debut of Davis who has yet to play while he rehabs a herniated disc in his back. Unfortunately an elbow infection stemming from a small laceration has pushed back his return date. Though the areas are directly unrelated, Davis will be forced to cease rehabbing his back until the elbow infection clears. The team does not expect him to return until after the All-Star break.

Despite the injuries to Anthony and Davis as well as the absence of Amar'e Stoudemire, out dealing with the death of his brother, the Knicks have reeled off three straight wins, riding the surprise play of point guard Jeremy Lin. After scoring 25 points against the Nets, coach Mike D'Antoni inserted the Harvard grad into the starting lineup where has averaged 25.5 points and 9.0 assists.

Danilo Gallinari
Gallinari suffered a significant ankle sprain in a loss to the Rockets and will miss at least four weeks recovering. Initial x-rays revealed a chipped bone in the ankle but subsequent CT scans linked the bone fragment to a previous injury. The Nuggets will focus their treatment and rehab efforts on the sprained ligaments and hope the anticipated four weeks will be enough.

Gallinari has taken a positive approach to rehab, vowing not to return until the injury is back at full strength. Fantasy owners may not like this mindset in the short term but having Denver's leading scorer back in uniform in time for the conclusion of the regular season and just in time for fantasy playoffs should help ease the loss. Meanwhile, Rudy Fernandez and Corey Brewer could both see a boost in value.

Chauncey Billups
The talented but young Clippers lost one of their key veterans for the season when a MRI performed Tuesday revealed a torn Achilles tendon for Billups. The injury was a non-contact injury and occurred as Billups attempted to transition back to defense following a missed shot. The point guard felt a pain in his calf and likened it to getting hit in the leg with a bat, a tell-tale sign of an Achilles rupture. He will need surgery to repair the injury and will spend the next months rehabbing the area exhaustively.

Billups said the injury will not force him into early retirement and he remains committed to returning next season. It is possible to return to a high-level following an injury of this magnitude. Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins suffered a torn Achilles during the 1991-1992 season and returned the following season. The Human Highlight Film would go on to appear in another two All-Star games before retiring. Since Billups' game is played on the ground and not through the air, like Nique, it's reasonable to believe he could in fact return. Advancements in the procedure could also allow the man known as Mr. Big Shot to return quicker than in the past. However it is worth noting that Billups (35) is three years older than Wilkins (32) at the time of their injuries making the road to recovery a little harder. The timeline for an injury of this nature is generally between eight to 12 months, meaning Billups could be ready to go by training camp of the 2012-2013 season. Sixers forward Elton Brand ruptured his Achilles prior to the 2007-2008 season and returned to the court eight months later.

Randy Foye will join the starting lineup to allow Mo Williams in remain in his Sixth Man role. Foye has done well as a starter, averaging 11.3 points, 4.0 assists, and 2.1 made three's in seven starts this season.

Fast Breaks

Manu Ginobili: The Spurs expect to have Ginobili back Saturday when the team travels to New Jersey. The veteran has missed 22 games recovering from a broken hand that required surgery. The operation occurred on January 5 making the estimated timeline of six weeks spot on. He will be eased back into the rotation but remains a strong fantasy play.

Derrick Rose: The reigning MVP remains hampered by back spasms that began earlier this season but most recently flared up in a win over the Bucks. The started again two nights later and kept him out of the second half of a win over the Nets. Rose has not missed a game but his productivity has been suffered. He has scored 10 points in his last two games combined. The Bulls will treat the symptoms but must find the underlying cause of the pain. Fantasy owners may want to adjust their expectations for the immediate future.

Kyrie Irving: Cleveland's promising rookie missed Wednesday's game against the Clippers with a concussion. Fortunately Irving has no previous history of concussions but this doesn't guarantee anything. Concussions are so problematic because everyone reacts differently. Until his headache clears Irving will remain sidelined.

Carl Landry: Landry will miss three-to-four weeks due to a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee. The team has stopped fielding offers for Chris Kaman and has given him Landry's minutes. Kaman has responded by averaging 13.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in Landry's absence.

Jeff Stotts is a Certified Athletic Trainer, MAT, PES and the Injury Analyst for You can follow him on twitter @RotoWireATC.