A Monday X-ray revealed that MarShon Brooks has a broken right pinky toe, and he's now on the shelf indefinitely. The Nets aren't sure when or how the injury happened and won't establish a specific timetable until after team doctors have a look at him. It's been all bad for Brooks lately, who also has been dealing with Achilles tendinitis and was looking at having his minutes limited in any case. This injury news means Anthony Morrow is locked in at shooting guard, Jordan Farmar will see plenty of playing time between the two guard spots, and Shawne Williams will be needed to play more minutes at small forward.
• Dwane Casey is searching for the right mix with Andrea Bargnani out indefinitely due to another calf strain. He found something that worked for at least one game Sunday, starting both Jose Calderon and Jerry Bayless in the backcourt and moving DeMar DeRozan to small foward in a 94-73 win over the Nets. Bayless turned in a solid offensive game (34 minutes, 17 points, 6 boards, 1 steal) and saved Calderon from having to defend Deron Williams, while DeRozan finally showed the aggressiveness needed to snap out of his slump and finished with 16 free throw attempts in 41 minutes (27 points, 8-12 FG, 1 steal, 1 block). Bayless gets the obvious upgrade in this arrangement, which may stick given the success against the Nets, while DeRozan's performance inspires cautious optimism. Casey may roll with Calderon, Bayless, DeRozan, and James Johnson as starters and swap out Amir Johnson and Aaron Gray at center, depending on matchups, with Linas Kleiza, Leandro Barbosa, and Ed Davis rounding out the rotation.
• Gregg Popovich has been giving starters DeJuan Blair and Kawhi Leonard sporadic playing time in recent games, but Pop took it one step further on Sunday and played only reserves in the fourth quarter and overtime. Those reserves almost came away with a win, with Gary Neal (29 minutes, 19 points, 3 threes, 7 assists) and Danny Green (29 minutes, 12 points, 2 threes, 5 boards, 3 steals) leading the charge. Pop has been all over the map with playing time, making it tough to lock down expected fantasy value, but one thing that has been established is that Leonard's usefulness for fantasy has run its course. His averages over the past seven games include 24 minutes and 4.3 points on 32-percent shooting. Neal is looking like the better add given the more recent returns, but things are going to be muddied in any case with Green in the mix and Manu Ginobili's return on the three-week horizon.
• Alvin Gentry's starting five came full circle on Saturday, as he returned to the original group that included Jared Dudley at shooting guard and Channing Frye at power forward. Dudley responded with the kind of game we hoped to see from the outset this season, scoring 20 points in 42 minutes and adding two threes, six boards, four assists, and three steals. Frye struggled (14 minutes, 1-9 FG), perhaps not surprisingly given that he's averaged 3.8 points on 22-percent shooting over the past eight games (19 minutes, 23% 3PM). Perhaps Dudley sticks this time - Ronnie Price was an odd choice from the outset and Shannon Brown was a DNP-CD on Saturday, so it's time to note his potential for excellent threes-plus-steals totals. As for Frye, your guess is as good as mine. He'll play on those days when his shot is falling, but Gentry has not been shy about getting Markieff Morris consistent playing time otherwise, and Hakim Warrick has also been back in the rotation recently.
• Shaun Livingston's role as the Bucks' starting shooting guard has reshuffled the team's rotation and minutes at point guard, shooting guard, and small forward. Notable minutes averages during Livingston's six starts are as follows: Brandon Jennings (35), Stephen Jackson (30), Livingson (27), Mike Dunleavy (20), Delfino (20), and Beno Udrih (14). Livingston has been playing solid defense and efficient offense, but it's not really registering for fantasy purposes (9.8 points, 55% FG, 3 boards, 2.3 assists, 1.3 turnovers, 1 steal in his starts). What has registered is Delfino's lack of numbers (5.8 points, 33% FG, 1 three, 0.7 steals) thanks to the lack of minutes, and he's ripe for coming off rosters in plenty of leagues, as Skiles has said that he likes what he's seen from Livingston so far.
• D.J. Augustin isn't going to play for a while and is headed for a second opinion on his foot injury - he has tiny cracks in the sesamoid bones at the base of his right big toe. DJA says coming back too soon could not only affect his season but possibly his career, and time off is the best treatment. Kemba Walker has been playing a ton with Augustin out, and that's not going to change. How the rest of the guard rotation shakes out could be changing shortly, now that Reggie Williams is ready to be activated. Gerald Henderson (back) is expected to return on Tuesday and will bump Matt Carroll from the starting spot. There does appear to be a solid role waiting for Williams, given his offensive abilities and the fact that Carroll and Corey Higgins have combined for 45 minutes of playing time in games that Augustin has not played. Deep leaguers should take note here - Williams has averaged 1.3 threes on 41-percent shooting and 2.2 assists for every turnover in 104 career games.
• Status updates: Al Jefferson (ankle) is doubtful for Monday but officially a game-time decision .. Kevin Martin (plantar fasciitis) was a participant in Monday shootaround and is expected to play .. Jason Kidd (calf) will sit for a week and then be re-evaluated. Rodrigue Beaubois will start for the Mavs in the interim .. Richard Hamilton aggravated his groin injury Sunday and is doubtful for Monday .. Ty Lawson (ankle) is day-to-day .. Carmelo Anthony (misc) and Baron Davis (back) are both doubtful for Tuesday .. Jameer Nelson (concussion symptoms) is out again Monday .. Spencer Hawes (Achilles) is out again Monday .. Steve Nash (quad) is a game-time decision Monday .. Andray Blatche (calf) is questionable for Monday .. Trying to identify a suitable trade partner for the Hornets and Chris Kaman is not easy .. The Lakers may be in the market for Ramon Sessions and, although no trade is imminent, he'd immediately and easily be the best point guard on the team.
• Scanning the Buzz Index leaders: I'm always amazed by how much feedback and transaction activity Marvin Williams generates almost every time he does anything useful. He's averaged 14.7 points on 61-percent shooting, 3.3 threes, and 6.3 boards in 29 minutes over the past three games. What is working in Williams' favor is that his per-36s are up this season and Al Horford's injury certainly has created a need for more numbers .. Mike D'Antoni says that playing point guard is too much for Iman Shumpert and that he needs to play the two or three moving forward. That puts a real squeeze on his minutes moving forward, as he'll have to play behind Landry Fields and Carmelo Anthony when everyone is healthy .. Michael Beasley and Martell Webster played a combined 53 minutes on Sunday, helping to limit Luke Ridnour to 25 minutes (4 points, 2-8 FG, 4 assists, 1 steal). Factor in J.J. Barea's eventual return and 30-plus minutes will get even harder to come by, so I'm okay with the drop here if you've got some attractive options on the wire .. Byron Mullens' averages in his most recent eight games as a reserve: 22 minutes, 12.9 points, 51% FG, 90% FT, and 5.3 boards .. Austin Daye played 27 minutes in the 95-74 loss to the Sixers on Saturday, with Tayshaun Prince (25 minutes) and Jonas Jerebko (9 minutes) sacrificing playing time. The only way Daye maintains relevance is if that continues, as Prince and Jerebko have averaged a combined 60 minutes to this point of the season.