Danilo Gallinari (Getty)
How will Gallinari's minutes be dealt out while he's sidelined? Corey Brewer is currently away from the team for personal reasons, but he'll likely start and see "at least a 20-minute hunk" of the excess playing time when he does return, according to George Karl. Brewer gains some pretty serious deep-league appeal - his per-30 minute averages thus far on the season include 14.8 points, 1.1 threes, 4.9 boards, 1.9 steals, and 0.7 blocks. Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, and Rudy Fernandez figure to split up whatever is left after Brewer over the next few weeks. For Wednesday's game, the Nuggets will be without Gallinari, Brewer, and Timofey Mozgov (ankle), while Afflalo (foot) is expected to return and Nene Hilario (heel) will be a game-time decision.
• Chauncey Billups' season is over thanks to a torn left Achilles tendon, suffered in the fourth quarter of the Clippers' 107-102 win over the Magic on Monday. Expected recovery times from this injury can range to over a year, but Billups, who will be a free agent after the season, has said that he has no plans to retire. Randy Foye will move into the starting lineup at shooting guard in Billups' place and Mo Williams will see his bench role expand. In 30 starts as a Clipper, Foye has averaged 15 points on 41-percent shooting, 1.9 threes, 4.1 assists, 2.3 turnovers, 1.4 steals, and 0.6 blocks in 35 minutes. Eric Bledsoe is still working his way back to game shape but will eventually be the fourth guard, and this injury ends any talk of the team possibly dealing a guard for some frontcourt depth.
• Good news on the Manu Ginobili front: according to Gregg Popovich, doctors have given him medical clearance and he's expected to return to the team "in the next week or so." Manu's ownership level has crept its way up to 88 percent, but it's safe to say it should be an even 100 percent at this point. Pop added that he's leaning towards bringing Manu off the bench, meaning that Kawhi Leonard may continue to start, but his minutes are going to be affected, as will Gary Neal and Danny Green's.
• Notes on the Knicks: Both Carmelo Anthony (groin) and Amar'e Stoudemire (personal) are expected to miss the team's next three games. In Melo's case, he'll probably be out longer with a recovery listed as one to two weeks, and a particularly slow healing process would mean we'd likely see him out through the All-Star Break (Feb 24-27). Bill Walker and Jared Jeffries will start for Melo and Amar'e, respectively. And of course everything now runs through Jeremy Lin at point guard, with whom Mike D'Antoni went from being afraid to play to riding "like friggin' Secretariat" within the span of two games. In those two games, Lin has averaged 26.5 points on 56-percent shooting, 7.5 assists, 4.5 turnovers, and 2 steals in 40 minutes. He should be in line for another nice game against the defensively-challenged Wizards on Wednesday - a sell-high will be in order if that does come to fruition, given the level of #Linsanity that we're currently seeing.
• Status updates: Derrick Rose (back) said he "should" be ready to play after Wednesday's shootaround but will officially be a game-time decision .. Antawn Jamison tweaked his right Achilles twice during Tuesday's game but is not expected to miss any time at this point .. Jason Kidd (calf) is out Wednesday but hopes to return before the end of the week .. MarShon Brooks (foot) has ramped up his activities a bit and will have his status re-evaluated on Sunday .. Jarrett Jack (knee) remains questionable for Wednesday .. D.J. Augustin (foot) could return as early as Monday .. Ben Gordon (shoulder) will be active on Wednesday .. Tony Allen (hip) may return on Wednesday .. The Nets are expected to update Brook Lopez's status on Friday .. Sixers on Wednesday: Spencer Hawes (Achilles, back) is out again, while Elton Brand (thumb) is back despite being "not close" to 100 percent .. Trail Blazers on Wednesday: Marcus Camby (bronchitis) and Raymond Felton (foot) are both probable .. Andrea Bargnani (calf) is progressing but has yet to attempt to run and is not close to a return.
• Scanning the Buzz Index leaders: There is no reason for Rick Adelman to turn back to Darko Milicic given what we're seeing from Nikola Pekovic in recent weeks - he's played well on both ends of the court, averaged 15.3 points, 64% FG and 9.3 boards in 28 minutes over the past eight games, and has done particularly well in the pick-and-roll .. Keith Smart appears to be satisfied with Jason Thompson as his starting power forward (for now), but he's only so useful for fantasy. In 11 starts (28 minutes), he's averaged 9.9 points on 54-percent shooting, 70-percent foul shooting, 7.9 boards, 0.8 assists, 1.6 turnovers, 0.5 steals, and 0.6 blocks. Given all his limitations, I'd look for an add with more upside before settling on Thompson .. Ersan Ilyasova has averaged just shy of a double-double (9.4 points, 9.9 boards, 1 block) in just 24 minutes since the Bucks lost Andrew Bogut. Consistency has obviously not been a strong suit, but he'll play if only by necessity and should be able to improve at least a bit on his current 40-percent shooting .. You know Rodrigue Beaubois' fortunes have taken a turn for the worse when he's even coming off of Justin Phan's rosters .. Samuel Dalembert was benched after just seven minutes on Monday because of a lack of energy, but his role as the team's starting center is not in question. He's still averaged 8.7 points on 51-percent shooting, 8.8 boards, and 2.2 blocks in 26 minutes as a starter, and that includes his recent poor stretch of games.
- Danilo Gallinari
- Corey Brewer