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NBA Injury Analysis: The Brow Deals With the Toe

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.

Anthony Davis

The Pelicans big man once again faces a seemingly minor injury that will result in missed time. Davis didnít play Saturday after suffering a sprained right big toe during pregame warm-ups. The Brow has dealt with a similar injury, having previously sprained the big toe on his opposite foot during the 2014-15 season. He missed three games as a result of that injury, though the team is optimistic that the extended rest provided by a small break in the schedule will allow Davis to be ready for Wednesdayís matchup against the Rockets. While the extra rest is beneficial, it does put fantasy owners in weekly formats in a tricky spot, as an update likely wonít come until midweek. If Davis does miss any time, Kendrick Perkins could be called into action with center Omer Asik also sidelined by injury.

Marc Gasol

Fantasy owners hanging onto any shred of hope that Gasol would return this season were forced to face the truth Tuesday when the Grizzlies revealed their franchise center had undergone season-ending surgery on his broken foot. In the teamís press release, Memphis revealed the injury to be a nondisplaced Type II fracture of his navicular bone, a boat-shaped bone of the midfoot responsible for properly transferring weight placed through the foot. The description lets us know that the break is diagonal in nature but didnít result in a misalignment. With surgical hardware now implanted to help insure the broken pieces fuse, Gasol will spend the next months progressively increasing his workload. Sadly the precedent set by former big men to suffer navicular fractures isnít overly encouraging, as Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Yao Ming and Joel Embiid all missed substantial amounts of time recovering. As a result, the likelihood of this injury impacting next season remains high, affecting both yearly and keeper fantasy formats.

Blake Griffin and the Clippers

Griffin has been participating in shooting drills as he recovers from a broken right hand. However, the Clippers have hinted his partially torn quadriceps tendon remains a minor issue and they donít expect him back until mid to late March. Keep in mind Griffin must also serve a four-game suspension for his role in the fight that resulted in his fractured fourth metacarpal.

The team is expecting reserve guard Austin Rivers to return Wednesday from his own broken hand, though his injury didnít require surgical intervention. Riversí return doesnít move the fantasy needle but could help get a suddenly nicked up Chris Paul closer to full strength. Since Rivers went down, Paulís workload has jumped from 32.5 minutes per game to 36.8 minutes per game. The extra minutes appear to be taking their toll, as Paul has played through a right forearm injury, a painful thigh contusion and lingering soreness in his calf. While the injuries didnít appear to limit CP3 during his 40-point, 13-assist performance over the Kings, Paulís long-term health should be a major focus for the Clippers and their medical team.

Rajon Rondo

Rondo has been able to play through a lingering case of turf toe for several weeks now but was held out of Fridayís loss to the Clippers with discomfort in his right thumb. The team is calling the injury tendinitis of the thumb, meaning one or both of the tendons belonging to the muscles of the thumb are irritated and have become inflamed. The two muscles at risk for injury are responsible for extending and abducting the thumb and are actually located in the wrist and forearm. However, their tendons extend across the wrist joint before anchoring onto the bones of the thumb. Therefore tendinitis in the area not only has a negative impact on thumb motion and grip strength but could also alter wrist motion. As a result, the injury could have a lasting effect on Rondoís already unorthodox shooting form. Rondo could very well return to action quickly, but donít be surprised if his overall efficiency dips a bit as the ramifications of the condition linger.

Fast Breaks

Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose: The Bulls forward had a followup MRI performed on his injured knee and the results were encouraging. The inflammation has gone down and Butler is set to progress to half court scrimmaging in his rehab protocol. While this is a step in the right direction, Butler still is not close to a return and is expected to miss at least another week with two weeks the more likely scenario.

Rose joined Butler on the sidelines late last week with a reoccurring case of hamstring tendinitis. The former MVP missed nearly a week of action at the end of December and into January. If he follows a similar timeline this time around, he should be back in uniform on Tuesday against the Heat. The timing of the injury is particularly frustrating as Rose was averaging 26.0 points and 4.7 assists per game on 57.4 percent shooting in the two weeks leading up to his current three-game absence.

Stephen Curry: The reigning MVP was spectacular over the weekend scoring 46 points with 12 made 3-pointers to lead Golden State to an improbable comeback win over the Thunder. The performance was even more impressive considering Curry sprained his ankle near the start of the third quarter. Curry had the affected joint re-taped and returned to begin his astonishing second half dominance. Even better, the injury occurred to Curryís left ankle and not his surgically repaired right ankle. The Warriors seems unconcerned about the severity of the sprain, though an update is expected Monday.

Danilo Gallinari: The Nuggets will likely be without Gallinari for at least three weeks after he suffered a sprained ankle Saturday against the Mavericks. The team didnít reveal the specifics regarding the severity of the sprain, though Gallo admitted it was worse than the ankle sprain that cost him six games in late December. As a result it looks as though his availability for the fantasy playoffs is suddenly in jeopardy, making him an option to be waived. Gary Harris is the most likely to benefit from Gallinariís absence.

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