The biggest injury news of the week definitely belongs to Jabari Parker. Initially diagnosed as a strained knee, Parker underwent more tests and it was discovered that he tore his ACL. As a result, Parker will miss the rest of his rookie season.
This is a tough blow to the Bucks. At 14-13, they are currently in the 6th spot in the East and are in the hunt for a playoff berth. That says more about the pitiful East, than it does about the Bucks.
As my roommates can attest, I may not be able to pronounce his name, but I know Giannis Antetokounmpo is good. He’s athletic and long enough to play multiple positions and should continue to make strides this season. Khris Middleton isn’t as versatile as the Greek Freak, but can still provide fantasy owners with value. He put up 17 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals off the bench in Wednesday’s game, before putting up a dud (only 1/2/1) in Thursday’s game.
Brandon Knight, OJ Mayo, Jared Dudley, and even Ersan Ilyasova will also see added looks on offense as well. Ilyasova won’t return from his facial fracture and concussion until at least next week, but is a player to watch. He was playing well prior to his injury and could be a sleeper pickup if he can return to the 13 ppg, 7 rpg, and 1 three per game from a few seasons ago.
Jason Kidd will probably mix and match with his lineups and these guys may be inconsistent night in and night out, but they are guys to watch as their production and minutes rise.
It has been a bad month for the Lopez brothers. First, Brook Lopez hurt his back and has been forced to miss six straight games due to the injury. However, there’s hope that he’ll be ready to return on Sunday against the Pistons.
With Lopez ailing, Mason Plumlee has moved into the starting lineup. Mentioned as a pickup last week, Mason Plumlee made the most of his time, averaging 18.25 ppg, 10 rpg, and 1 bpg over the last four games. It may not last much longer with Lopez closer to returning, but it’s clear that Plumlee is a valuable big man when Lopez is out.
While Brook Lopez is expected to be out only a little longer, his brother is not as lucky. Robin Lopez broke his hand during Monday’s game against the Spurs. If all goes well with his recovery, Lopez is expected to be out six to seven weeks.
Those expecting that Chris Kaman would be moved into the starting lineup were disappointed on Wednesday when coach Terry Stotts went with Thomas Robinson instead. It’s only one game, but it sounds like Kaman will remain with the second unit. Even without the official “starter’s” tag, Kaman has the potential to score, rebound, and block shots and is a valuable pickup in deeper leagues.
As for Robinson, he posted a monster double-double in the start, recording 15 points, 16 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal in 29 minutes. However, Robinson doesn’t have the track record and has seen inconsistent minutes in his three years in the NBA. I won’t declare him a must own yet, but like Kaman, Robinson should provide scoring, rebounds, and defensive stats for deep leagues. Joel Freeland will get some extra minutes too, but Robinson and Kaman remain the best fantasy replacements.
It’s tough being a big man for the Golden State Warriors. David Lee has yet to return to the lineup from his hamstring woes and now the Warriors announced that Andrew Bogut is out indefinitely. After being diagnosed with chondromalacia (“runner’s knee”), Bogut underwent platelet-rich plasma therapy on his right knee.
The PRP treatment is the same treatment that Dwight Howard had on his knee around Thanksgiving. We don’t have a timetable for Bogut, but Howard missed a total of 9 games over about three weeks with the treatment. Even if Bogut has a positive reaction to the therapy, we’re talking about a multi-week absence at the minimum.
Marreese Speights has been a surprisingly good fantasy replacement for Bogut. Coming off the bench mostly, Speights is averaging 12.1 ppg and 5.3 rpg on the season. Now that Bogut is out, Speights should see a slight bump in his production. He grabbed 18 points and 8 rebounds in Tuesday’s game against the Grizzlies and went 10/5 on Thursday night.
David Lee could see some minutes at center when he’s healthy, but either way, Speights and Draymond Green will continue to be valuable waiver wire pickups for teams.
Good news for DeMarcus Cousins owners, as he saw the court Thursday night, for the first time in weeks. It was like he never left, as he posted 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists. Fantasy owners and the Kings are glad to have Cousins back.
Heat forward, Chris Bosh, has been sidelined due to a calf injury. Although Bosh is considered day-to-day, little is known about the injury and there is speculation that it could be a multi-week issue. In the meantime, Udonis Haslem should continue to start, with Dwayne Wade and Luol Deng seeing additional looks at the basket.
Josh McRoberts won’t be benefiting from the extra minutes, as he was diagnosed with a torn meniscus that will require surgery, potentially ending his season.
Kawhi Leonard will miss Friday’s game, his second consecutive game, due to a hand injury. I am expecting that the Spurs are just being cautious and he should be back in a few games. Although Kyle Anderson should get another start, I expect Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli, and Boris Diaw will see the bigger upticks in fantasy production for teams looking to stream.
George Hill has begun taking part in practice this week and even participated in the team’s full-court scrimmage on Tuesday. Hill is still a couple weeks away from returning because he needs to get his conditioning up, but now is the time to grab him off waivers.
Lastly, Kevin Durant rolled his ankle in Thursday’s game and was forced to miss the rest of the game. Precautionary X-rays were negative, but more will be known in the coming days.