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NBA Injury Analysis: Rose and Irving, STAT and 'Melo

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.

There are plenty of familiar faces in NBA athletic training rooms around the league with some players providing more questions than answers.

Derrick Rose
It starts in Chicago with a former MVP who has yet to play this season. Rose, out since tearing his left ACL in April, continues to remain inactive despite being medically cleared by team physicians. Reports suggest that Rose is not comfortable with his abilities yet, particularly dunking off his left leg. It's unfair to label Rose as mentally weak. I've dealt with numerous athletes attempting to return from ACL reconstruction and a majority of the time these athletes find the mental aspect of rehab more taxing than the physical side. Rehab is filled with highs and lows and the even more maddening plateaus. It's difficult to work as hard as you can and see no measurable return in your recovery.

Furthermore if Rose were to play before he was mentally prepared, he would likely be forced to alter his approach, leaving him vulnerable to another injury. Adrian Peterson's return in the NFL has skewed the public's perception of how long recovery from a torn ACL should take and it isn't fair to compare the two. I still believe Rose will return at some point this season, even if it is a brief appearance to shake some rust off. His fantasy value remains low and with the fantasy playoffs on the horizon rostering him becomes more and more difficult.

It's also worth addressing Rose's complaints about his hamstrings. It is not uncommon for there to be hamstring tightness following ACL surgery. The hamstring muscle group is responsible for flexing the knee, an action that is limited in the various stages of ACL recovery. As the athlete works on regaining the strength in their atrophied quadriceps muscle, the hamstrings can occasionally become over or underworked. It's important that when Rose does return the quad and hamstring are at full strength and flexibility to help properly stabilize his knee.

Kyrie Irving
Injuries seem to be the only thing holding the Cleveland point guard back. Since the season began he's had his wisdom teeth pulled, battled food poisoning, broken his left index finger and his left cheekbone, and more recently suffered a hyperextended right knee. Now the All-Star is nursing a left shoulder injury sustained Sunday in a loss to the Raptors. Irving was injured when he collided Jonas Valanciunas. He limped off the court holding his left shoulder, near the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. X-rays on the shoulder proved negative and the team is calling the injury a shoulder contusion. It seems very likely he will miss a few games with the injury and don't be surprised if the team ultimately classifies the injury as a sprained or separated shoulder.

Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire
The Knicks are missing two key members of their frontcourt as both Anthony and Stoudemire manage knee injuries. Anthony has not dressed for New York's last three games after a MRI revealed an accumulation of fluid on his problematic right knee. He has dealt with inflammation in this joint before, missing two games during the 2010-2011 season. The team has said the joint appears structurally ok but clearly something is causing the buildup. He is questionable for Monday but the Knicks remain optimistic he can return on the team's upcoming road trip. Owners in weekly leagues have a difficult decision to make and I'd lean toward sitting him for this week's slate of games.

The situation is clearer for Stoudemire, but unfortunately that's not a good thing. The former All-Star will undergo a right knee debridement to clean up the effected joint. Reports suggest Stoudemire had developed a Baker's cyst in his knee, the same condition that required surgery on his left knee prior to the start of the season and ultimately cost him 30 games.

This wouldn't be the first time Stoudemire has dealt with a Baker's cyst in his right knee, undergoing the procedure in the 2005-2006 season. He has since had an additional right knee debridement, making this latest surgery his third right knee surgery in the last eight seasons. Couple these facts with his always troublesome left knee and it's hard to put much confidence in Stoudemire's long-term health. The team anticipates this surgery will sideline him for six to eight weeks, eliminating any fantasy relevance moving forward.

Fast Breaks

Ersan Ilyasova and JJ Redick: Ilyasova is considered day-to-day with a left knee bone bruise that has cost him two straight games. Look for him to return Tuesday. Redick is also day-day with a minor ankle injury suffered in the team's win over Golden State on Saturday.

Larry Sanders: Sanders did not play Sunday either after suffering a hyperextended left knee the night before. The injury isn't considered serious but could force the Bucks to sit him on the second night of back-to-backs. Milwaukee plays Tuesday against Dallas and Wednesday against the Wizards so don't be surprised to see Sanders in street clothes Wednesday. Samuel Dalembert will see extra time in his place.

Shawn Marion: Marion has not played in Dallas' last two outings after suffering a left calf contusion in the first quarter of a win against Houston. Jae Crowder has joined the Mavericks' starting lineup but does not play a fantasy friendly type of game. Marion hopes the extra rest will allow him to return Tuesday when the team travels to Milwaukee.

Paul Millsap: A MRI has revealed Millsap is dealing with a bruised right patella and quadriceps tendon. The injury is not surprising as the patella is classified as a sesmoid bone, meaning it floats within the quadriceps tendon. It would be difficult to injure one with out the other. Millsap appears poised to miss a few more games, making Derrick Favors a hot commodity in all formats.

Zach Randolph: Randolph's four-game absence should end Wednesday when the Grizzlies take on the Clippers. Z-Bo has been managing a sprained left ankle. With teammate Darrell Arthur also limited by injury, Ed Davis should retain his fantasy value.

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

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