Brook Lopez underwent successful surgery on his broken right foot Friday and is expected to miss between six and eight weeks of action. He'll begin his rehabilitation in two weeks, after which we should start to have a better feel for which side of that timeline he's more likely to meet. For reference: a return after eight weeks would mean around February 20 and almost exactly half of the Nets' 66 games. It would also mean five weeks of games for h2h owners before the default playoffs begin (March 26). For those who have already drafted Lopez: Roto owners can and should stay put at least until we start to see rehab updates. H2h owners are in more of a bind of course, but should also remember that all you are trying to do at this point is get to the playoffs with the best team possible. Simply put, if Lopez has no set-backs and returns to health in late-February, then he is going to help fantasy owners win in March and April. If you can't bear the thought of rostering dead weight from the start, then I'm not going to tell you to not make a move. But consider your league context, your wire options, and your team prospects carefully before simply cutting bait for a warm body.
For those drafting Friday night or Saturday: Lopez has dropped into the late rounds in terms of O-Ranks, and h2h owners will need to see how their draft progresses before deciding on Lopez as a bench staple moving forward. Again, it's all about peaking at the right time - you are using a late pick on a player that was a late-Rd3 pick just a few days ago. For roto owners, there are worse flyers to consider. A notable comparison: Joakim Noah finished with cumulative season rank of 122 last season while playing just over half of the season for the Bulls (48 of 82 games). For a further breakdown of how Mehmet Okur, the Nets, and the Jazz have been affected by the Lopez injury, see the Depth Charts piece.
• Chuck Hayes has been cleared to return to basketball after an extensive battery of tests at the Cleveland Clinic found an unusual heart structure but nothing that prevent him from continuing his career. Hayes has re-signed with the Kings after the second opinion on his health, where he's once again expected to start at power forward. Draft Hayes with confidence - he's become a favorite throughout the organization in very short time, and his skilled two-way game will be a rock for this young team. He doesn't provide ever-sexy scoring, but he did average 54-percent shooting, 8.7 boards, 3.1 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 30 minutes as a starter in 2010-11 (63 games).
• Click here for a good breakdown of what is going on with Kobe Bryant's right (shooting) wrist. Kobe has always pushed the limits in terms of playing with pain and through injury, and this is another step in that regard. The wrist is structurally sound - for now and despite the ligament tear - but fantasy owners that roster him need to hope that he won't often have to break his fall during the season. That's not so much to ask, is it? Doubting Kobe in these kinds of situations has yet to prove to be the correct course of action, but he can't possibly come through this with his fantasy impact unscathed... can he?
• Stephen Curry talked about his most recent ankle injury on Thursday:
I feel good. I can put weight on it, and I'm walking around pretty good. I was on crutches Wednesday ... For the past two months, I've had no episodes and no pain. To feel the pop and same sensations the surgery was trying to eliminate is concerning. But it doesn't concern me that when I get back it won't be stable, because I'm going to make sure it's 100 percent before I get back on the floor.
Curry dealt with ankle issues for much of the 2010-11 season, and the saving grace of course was that it didn't dramatically impact his per-game numbers. The timing here is terrible, but hopefully not ominous, and it looks like Curry and the team aren't going to take chances here. If he misses the opener and possibly a few games after, it's because they don't want this to be something that lingers all season. If/when Curry misses time, rookies Klay Thompson and Charles Jenkins will see regular game action, as well as Ishmael Smith. Jenkins was a productive four-year starter at Hofstra [stats] and could be the surprise contributor of the group.
• Marcin Gortat waited so long to be a full-time starter that he has no plans to allow a slight fracture in his right thumb to sideline him in the early going. But Gortat is still dealing with pain and will wear a splint for two to four weeks while the injury heals. Fantasy owners should expect his numbers to suffer, at least initially, while he adjusts to game action and contact, but at least for now he looks like a safe bet to stay in the Suns' starting lineup.
• Late drafters and early Week 1 planners will want to keep Andrew Bynum's four-game suspension in mind. The Lakers will rely heavily on Pau Gasol in the post and also give newcomers Josh McRoberts and Troy Murphy enough playing time to help establish a depth chart pecking order once Bynum is activated. Neither has played extensively in the preseason [stats], so not much can be determined there. Murphy is not so far removed from huge fantasy stats, but McBob's more versatile game is a better fit when it comes to approximating what the Lakers lost in Lamar Odom. Both players should be useful to fantasy owners during Week 1 play, but McBob is the favorite to see a more consistent role over the whole of the season and should at least be on standard league Watch Lists.