Derrick Rose (Jonathan Daniel - Getty)Derrick Rose's foot injury has now been officially classified as turf toe by the team. Rose described his level of pain as a six or seven on a one-to-10 scale, and he has to be considered questionable for the Bulls' weekend back-to-back (Fri @CLE, Sat CHA). Recovery from turf toe is usually considered in terms of weeks, depending on severity, and the condition can turn chronic if not properly dealt with. For those reasons, the 13-3 Bulls need to look a bit beyond a few potential losses in the present and put the emphasis on a full recovery for Rose. After the weekend's games, they face the Nets (Mon), Pacers (Wed), and Bucks (Fri) - holding him out for the full five games would mean a full two weeks of down time and seriously lower the chances of this becoming a recurring issue over the remainder of the season. The Bulls have Wednesday and Thursday off, so we may not see any official declarations of Rose's status before Friday, but it's clearly in everyone's best interest that we see C.J. Watson as the starting point guard for at least a few more games.
• Mike Miller has been rushing off waiver wires in the wake of his six threes in 15 minutes during his season debut on Tuesday. The team (still) has plans to utilize his versatile game alongside their big three, but Miller isn't going to play big minutes when everyone is healthy for the Heat. He will poach playing time from James Jones, Shane Battier, Norris Cole, and Mario Chalmers but end up in the 20-minute range on most nights, so that doesn't leave room for tremendous fantasy upside, even with his perfect shooting to get things started.
• I know it's been maddening to continue to wait for Tyrus Thomas to finally show up. Paul Silas' quote after Tuesday's loss to Orlando - during which Thomas had seven points, two boards, two steals, and one block in 28 minutes - seems to indicate that he's going to continue to give Thomas a lot of leash to find out if he can start producing consistently:
"He has his chance to get it done. If not, then in the future I'll have to make a decision."
Thomas has one of the team's few long-term contracts, so all involved parties are keenly interested in his emerging from his early slump. Thomas has now been back from his preseason ankle injury for just over two weeks, so you have to think Silas sees these next few weeks as "his chance," particularly now that he's back to his natural power forward position in the team's uptempo look. The first thing Thomas needs to do to improve his numbers is look for his offense closer to the rim - over 50 percent of his shot attempts thus far have been the dreaded long twos.
• Tim Duncan's fantasy owners need to be on the lookout for an upcoming DNP-CD or two as the Spurs get ready to play 16 of their next 21 games on the road. Gregg Popovich said that "something's got to give" in regards to the schedule and that "there's just no way" Duncan can play in so many road games over a relatively short stretch.
Gustavo Ayon (Layne Murdoch - Getty)• Deep-leaguers should take a look at Gustavo Ayon, a 26-year-old rookie who has been picking up minutes in Monty Williams' unsettled rotation at power forward (18 per over the past three games) and been packing production into that time on the court (8 points, 67% FG, 5.3 boards, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.7 blocks). Yes, those numbers extrapolate very well as you add more playing time. At The Hive has a very positive breakdown of Ayon's early play here, and you can view his excellent international numbers here. He should be headed for even more minutes as we move along, given his production, Williams' unhappiness with Carl Landry, and Jason Smith's ever-inconsistent play.
• Jordan Farmar has emerged with a fairly consistent role as the first guard for the Nets off the bench, ahead of Sundiata Gaines. Farmar's averages over the past eight games include 11.4 points on 45-percent shooting, 1.8 threes, 4.3 assists, and 1 steal in 22 minutes. He's always shown a penchant for accumulating counting stats in a fairly short order, particularly with a spike in his AST% since joining the Nets. Give him a look in deeper leagues, but just make sure to expect the field goals to come down closer to 40 percent moving forward.
• Lawrence Frank has moved Ben Wallace to the starting five for the Pistons in place of Jonas Jerebko in an attempt to improve the team's early defensive effort. It was anything but a success the first go-around, as the Rockets shot 68 percent from the field and were leading 28-20 after the first quarter on Tuesday. The move also allowed the Rockets to concentrate on Greg Monroe on the defensive, and he was held to a season-low four points on two-of-nine shooting. Frank will eventually be forced to address the team's shortcomings on offense, which center around his current starting backcourt (Brandon Knight, Ben Gordon) averaging a combined 6.7 assists and 6.4 turnovers and certainly won't be helped by Wallace's presence. The frontcourt pairing that seems like the best balance of offense and defense is Knight and Rodney Stuckey starting, with Gordon coming off the bench - perhaps we'll see Frank explore this option once Stuckey is completely back to game shape after his groin injury.
• Other status updates: Dirk Nowitzki missed Wednesday's shootaround because of illness but hopes to play; Vince Carter (foot) left the team to have his foot examined and is out at least the next few games .. Stephen Curry (ankle) looks likely to be held out at least until he can test his ankle in practice, and his next opportunity to do that won't be until Saturday .. Dwyane Wade (ankle) didn't practice again Wednesday and looks doubtful for Thursday .. For the Jazz: Josh Howard (quad) didn't practice Wednesday and looks out for Thursday; Derrick Favors (ankle) practiced and plans to play .. For the Sixers: Spencer Hawes (Achilles) is a game-time decision, Evan Turner (quad) is likely to play .. Andrea Bargnani (calf) is doubtful for Wednesday .. J.J. Barea (ankle) will be a game-time decision Wednesday .. Michael Beasley (foot) still has yet to participate in practice .. Hedo Turkoglu (back spasms) is out for the Magic on Wednesday .. Trevor Ariza (groin) is likely to return on Wednesday .. Brook Lopez (foot) no longer has to wear his protective walking boot .. Scott Skiles said he limited playing time for Andrew Bogut (19 minutes) and Stephen Jackson (17) on Tuesday because they look fatigued.
• Scanning the Buzz Index leaders: Danny Green has been seeing the majority of the reserve wing minutes for the Spurs in recent games, turning 25 minutes into 13.3 points and 3 threes over the past three games. His strong play has been particularly useful because of Richard Jefferson's shooting drought and his role looks solid with Gary Neal limited to backup point guard duty .. Kyle Korver very abruptly flipped the switch from red hot to ice cold. He's made none of his 11 shot attempts over the past four games and Richard Hamilton's return ensures that his role will remain limited .. C.J. Miles looked great on Tuesday (29 minutes, 19 points, 4 steals) but his surplus minutes won't be the norm. He got the run in this one because Josh Howard was a no-go and Gordon Hayward had an off night (18 minutes, 0-4 FG) .. Bismack Biyombo likely earned himself the backup minutes behind Byron Mullens with a strong showing against Dwight Howard and the Magic on Tuesday (21 minutes, 11 points, 5-5 FG, 10 boards, 4 blocks). Paul Silas called him "my toughest player" after the game.