Derrick Rose will see a specialist Monday regarding his ongoing back spasms. Rose offered this unpleasant quote after sitting out Sunday's 95-91 loss to the Celtics:
"It's been hurting the whole trip. I just played through it. It tended to get worse after every game. I was really worried about it. But I'm trying to stay positive. I don't know what the diagnosis is. I just know my back is not right."
Rose is indicating there that his back has been bothering him for two weeks now, although he certainly turned in some dominant performances during that span. He added that he's hoping that a few treatments deal with the problem but that he'll take his time in returning if that is not the case. C.J. Watson (14% owned) will continue to start for as long as Rose is sidelined - he's averaged 15.6 points, 2.2 threes, 6.4 assists, and 2 steals in 33 minutes during his five starts thus far.
Update: an MRI revealed no structural damage and that he's dealing only with a muscle issue. He's officially day-to-day until he can resolve said muscle issue.
• A Saturday MRI of Anderson Varejao's right wrist revealed a fracture that is expected to sideline him for up to four to six weeks, although an official timeline has yet to be released. It's a huge blow to the Cavs and fantasy owners - Varejao leads the league in offensive rebound rate (15.6%) and was posting a stellar line as the time of his injury (10.8 points, 51% FG, 11.5 boards, 1.4 steals, 0.7 blocks). The team doesn't exactly have a productive stable of bigs behind Varejao, either. Semih Erden got the start at center on Saturday and was a non-factor (14 minutes, 0-2 FG, 3 boards), and the latter doesn't figure to change. Samardo Samuels (20 minutes, 6 points, 3-8 FG, 7 boards), Tristan Thompson (19 minutes, 0-6 FG, 8 boards, 2 blocks), and Ryan Hollins (5 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound) are the other options at Byron Scott's disposal. Thompson is the add for deep-league purposes - he's isn't likely to start given his size (6'9, 227), but he'll play regularly and as much as matchups allow once Scott is assured that his ankle injury is completely behind him. He's been an efficiency nightmare (42% FG, 43% FT, 3 assists, 25 turnovers) but has also averaged 5.3 boards and 1.2 blocks in just 18 minutes, numbers that project very well to further playing time. As for Varejao: he could be lost for the season if surgery is deemed necessary, but he'll undergo more tests before the team announces the chosen course of action.
• Gilbert Arenas worked out for the Lakers on Sunday. Yes, the team needs "production" from the point guard position, but Arenas is a very questionable fit when it comes to the kind of production the team needs. The Lakers need someone that can drive-and-dish, facilitate the offense otherwise, and occasionally push a fast break, and Arenas does none of these at this point. He's an inefficient volume shooter who no longer looks to get to the basket, and his AST% isn't likely to be any better than Derek Fisher or Steve Blake's. Ramon Sessions still makes the most sense here.
• Raymond Felton is still the starting point guard for the Blazers, with Nate McMillan saying it's "because he is the best player at that position." Felton's averages over his past 9 games (Blazers 4-5) include 9.4 points on 36-percent shooting, 0.8 threes, 1.8 boards, 5.8 assists, 2.8 turnovers, and 1.8 steals in 31 minutes. Obviously those assists and steals are useful, but horrific offense has been effectively cancelling out any positives all season (current per-game rank 175). McMillan has been running a tight eight-man rotation, despite Felton's struggles, and that isn't likely to change soon, so Felton is still going to get run. His percent-owned number remains at 90 percent, but his fantasy impact obviously is nowhere near that level. At this point, there's not a lot to wait for if you aren't desperate for assists, perhaps an eighth- or ninth-round per-game impact if a few more shots start to fall. In the one standard h2h league where I owned Felton, I dropped him for Ramon Sessions two days ago - getting numbers from Sessions right now and gambling on upside from a potential trade to the Lakers made more sense to me than waiting around for Felton to figure something out.
• Brandon Bass is expected to miss at least 10 days because of lingering right knee soreness. With both Bass and Jermaine O'Neal sidelined on Sunday, Chris Wilcox started at power forward and JaJuan Johnson was the first/only big off the bench for the Celtics. Wilcox scored 11 points in his foul-inhibited 26 minutes (5-6 FG, 9 boards, 5 fouls), while Johnson came off the bench for 12 points, four boards, two steals, and a block in 33 minutes. Wilcox should have some deep-league relevance through the All-Star break while Bass is sidelined, although he has always been strictly a three-category player (points, FG%, boards). Johnson was a productive college player and can certainly register a deep-league impact while both Bass and O'Neal are on the shelf.
• Status updates: T-Wolves on Monday: Luke Ridnour (personal) is out, Darko Milicic (calf) is expected to return as a reserve .. Hornets on Monday: both Emeka Okafor (knee) and Chris Kaman (knee) are questionable for Monday, meaning the team's starting frontcourt could be Gustavo Ayon and Al-Farouq Aminu .. D.J. Augustin will test his foot in practice on Tuesday and could return to the lineup as early as Wednesday, albeit to limited minutes in any case .. Nene Hilario (calf) is likely to be out Tuesday .. Kyrie Irving did non-contact work on Monday. If he's cleared to fully practice on Tuesday and makes it through successfully, he'll likely return to the lineup Wednesday .. Brook Lopez (foot) has been ramping up his activities lately and could be close to rejoining Nets' practices .. Zach Randolph (knee) has been cleared for non-contact work and is still on pace to return in early March .. For the Knicks: Amar'e Stoudemire returned to practice Monday, Jeremy Lin sat with a minor ankle issue, and Carmelo Anthony is currently targeting Friday for a return .. Spencer Hawes (Achilles) will remain out until at least Friday .. David West has scored a season-high 22 points in back-to-back games and he's been encouraged by Frank Vogel to be more assertive on offense ..
• Scanning the Buzz Index leaders: Tyrone Corbin has given Josh Howard just 18 minutes per game over the past four, clearing the way for Gordon Hayward to do his thing: 31 minutes, 15.3 points, 59% FG, 4 assists, 1.3 steals, 1 block. Hayward has been playing well for a few weeks now, and there's no reason to turn back to Howard while this keeps up .. Some pretty serious signs of offensive life from Arron Afflalo over his past three games, during which he's averaged 20.3 points on 51-percent shooting, 2.7 threes, and 4.3 free throws. The problem is that the rest of his line has remained vacant despite 35 minutes of playing time (2.3 boards, 1 assist, 0.7 steals) .. Mike Dunleavy has been inching his way up Scott Skiles' depth chart to the point that he's third in the team in minutes over the past three weeks (27 per game), and the helpful roto line has followed (13.2 points, 51% FG, 85% FT, 1.3 threes, 3.2 boards, 0.9 turnovers) .. Jordan Farmar just keeps plugging away, and Keith Bogans' season-ending injury once again locks in his role. He's scored in double figures in 13 of the past 14 games and has a per-game rank of 55th over the past two weeks (30 minutes, 14.6 points, 51% FG, 2.1 threes, 4.2 assists, 0.8 steals).
Programming note: This weeks' live blogs will be on Tuesday and Wednesday.