Court Report: A case of the Mondays

Monday night’s ten games of action featured an unusual amount of injuries, including injuries to a number of key fantasy players.

Dirk Nowitzki(notes) left Monday night’s game against the Thunder with a sore right knee. Nowitzki’s x-rays on his knees came back negative and he is scheduled to have an MRI on Tuesday. Check for updates on Dirk’s knee Tuesday afternoon, but this looks like it may spoil what was supposed to be a monstrous five game week for the elite power forward.

Russell Westbrook(notes) checked out of Monday’s game against the Mavericks with a right elbow injury that did not appear to be serious. The injury is being characterized as a funny bone injury by an anonymous source and sounds like it shouldn’t force Westbrook to miss any time.

Marcus Camby(notes) sprained his ankle against the Utah Jazz on Monday night after he came down on Paul Millsap’s(notes) foot. The x-rays came back negative, which is good news considering the fact that Camby initially appeared to be in serious pain. Camby’s status should be considered day-to-day until further notice. LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) appears to be in line for all the minutes he can handle in Portland’s next few games.

Deron Williams(notes) hit the deck hard in the fourth quarter against the Trail Blazers and clutched his right wrist as he got up. Williams received treatment during a timeout and finished out the game with his wrist taped. While it is an encouraging sign that Deron reentered the game, check back for more definitive updates on Tuesday. Williams is considered day-to-day.

Andrei Kirilenko(notes) also left Monday night’s game against Portland but did not return to the bench. Kirilenko was dealing with back issues and could be in line to miss some time, as back injuries tend to linger. AK is officially listed as day-to-day.

In a mildly concerning news revelation, Philadelphia announced that Andre Iguodala(notes) continues to struggle with his Achilles injury that has hobbled him all season long. Iguodala is currently having trouble pushing off and was held out of Monday’s matchup with the Golden State Warriors. After watching Elton Brand(notes) make his way back from a serious Achilles injury expect the 76ers to handle their franchise player with extreme caution.

Kevin Martin(notes) cut his knee badly after taking a hard foul from John Wall(notes) but appeared to be fine afterwards. Martin should be a go for the Rockets’ next game.

The Toronto Raptors were without both Andrea Bargnani(notes) (calf) and Sonny Weems(notes) (back) in their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. The Raptors are expecting Bargnani to miss the next three games at least.

Al Horford(notes) is expected to get an MRI on his sore shooting hand on Tuesday after receiving clean x-rays Monday night. Consider Horford questionable going forward until the MRI results are released.

Anthony Morrow(notes) will miss at least the next three games as he continues to recover from his hamstring injury.

Tyreke Evans(notes) inadvertently mentioned that he is contemplating surgery that could sideline him for months during Sacramento’s post-game media session. The procedure is presumably to alleviate the pain and discomfort Tyreke has been dealing with as a result of his case of plantar fasciitis. Stay tuned, as this developing story could have interesting fantasy ramifications.

Hedo Turkoglu(notes) turned back the clock on Monday night, turning in a vintage line (20 points, 4 threes, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) in Orlando’s victory over the New Jersey Nets. Looking at the incumbent Magic players it appears that Jameer Nelson(notes) has the most fantasy value to lose at the expense of the new additions and owners have to hope that Monday night is not a harbinger of things to come (24 minutes, 6 points, 1 rebound, 7 assists, 3 steals). Ryan Anderson(notes) also played very well in his minutes (28 minutes, 10 points, 4 threes, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) and is still available in 96 percent of leagues making him an excellent pickup right now.

Devin Harris(notes) (24 points, 6 assists) and Brook Lopez(notes) (20 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals) were the two bright spots for the Nets, who were summarily handled by the remodeled Orlando Magic. Both Derrick Favors(notes) (17 minutes) and Troy Murphy(notes) (15 minutes) saw limited minutes for the Nets off the bench.

Ben Gordon(notes) started for the Detroit Pistons and played well, notching 17 points, four threes, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and three turnovers. Richard Hamilton(notes) came off the bench again but without much success this time out. Tracy McGrady(notes) also came back to Earth after a solid couple of games. The most surprising news for Detroit, however, was a Chris Wilcox(notes) sighting (23 minutes, 15 points, 5-7 FG, 8 rebounds, 1 block, 3 steals, 3 turnovers). Wilcox has generally been a three-category contributor (PTS, FG%, REB) so his multi-category contributions were surprising. However, keep in mind that Wilcox did his damage against the Charlotte Bobcats, whose frontcourt rotation includes the likes of Nazr Mohammed(notes) and DaSagana Diop.

Gerald Henderson(notes) started in place of Gerald Wallace(notes), who remains out with a sprained ankle. Henderson did nothing with the opportunity. Instead, D.J. Augustin(notes) stepped up (27 points, 10-15 FG, 4-6 3PT, 3-3 FT, 4 assists, 0 turnovers) while Stephen Jackson(notes) almost notched the triple-bumble (23 points, 9 rebounds, 9 turnovers). Tyrus Thomas(notes) also played well off the bench (14 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 5 blocks) in 23 minutes despite turning the ball over six times. Thomas appears to be in a much better position to succeed now that Paul Silas has taken over the head coaching duties in Charlotte.

Joey Dorsey(notes) channeled his inner Reggie Evans(notes) and patched together a double-double against the Memphis Grizzlies. Dorsey scored ten points and collected 13 rebounds in his second start for the Raptors this season. The Raptors had some early season success in starting a rebounding specialist at center, which makes Dorsey an interesting watch list candidate in deep leagues. Jerryd Bayless(notes) returned from a stomach virus, but was quiet (7 points, 3 turnovers) in 17 minutes of action off the bench. Bayless remains a Jose Calderon(notes) or Leandro Barbosa(notes) injury away from fantasy relevance again.

Sam Young(notes) got the surprise start ahead of Xavier Henry(notes) but did little with the opportunity. The O.J. Mayo(notes) bench experiment continues unabated. Rudy Gay(notes) (18 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals, 5 turnovers) and Zach Randolph(notes) (21 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers) guided the Grizz to victory over the injury-riddled Raptors.

Just when it looks like Chris Paul(notes) is starting to slip, he drops a line (22 points, 6-13 FG, 2-3 3PT, 8-9 FT, 6 rebounds, 13 assists, 5 steals, 2 turnovers) that makes you remember why he is one of the best fantasy basketball players on the planet. Unfortunately for the Hornets, however, CP3’s numbers weren’t enough to overcome the Minnesota Timberwolves. Trevor Ariza(notes) might have just bought himself a little more time on fantasy rosters with Monday night’s performance (15 points, 5-11 FG, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals), but he may be headed to the waiver wire en masse very soon. Marcus Thornton(notes) got decent minutes but failed to put up a serviceable line (21 minutes, 6 points, 3-11 FG, 2 rebounds, 2 assists).

Wesley Johnson played one of the better games of his young career, ending up with 24 points, six threes and three assists. Luke Ridnour(notes) continued his quiet but steady play (12 points, 11 assists), while Michael Beasley(notes) looks like he is heating up again (30 points, 3 threes, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 turnovers).

Marvin Williams(notes) got bumped to the bench (again) for matchup purposes but played reasonably well (14 points, 6-9 FG, 1-1 3PT, 1-1 FT, 5 rebounds). Jason Collins(notes) got the start to put a big body on Andrew Bogut(notes) and finished the game with 12 rebounds. Generally, Collins sops up minutes without contributing anything of fantasy value so consider this game an aberration. Jamal Crawford(notes) saw his minutes dip in his second game back from injury (23 minutes, down from 34 minutes in Atlanta’s previous game) although it is unclear if Crawford’s minutes were limited by his injury or by the matchup.

With Dirk only logging 12 minutes before exiting with a knee injury, the Mavericks needed other players to step up to overcome the Thunder on the road. Shawn Marion(notes) (20 points, 10-15 FG, 9 rebounds) and Caron Butler(notes) (21 points, 3-5 3PT, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) answered the call and ended up with serviceable fantasy lines. Marion could make for a sneaky pickup this week with four more games and the possibility of Nowitzki missing some games.

James Harden(notes) (18 points, 5-9 FG, 3-7 3PT, 5-6 FT, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) stepped up with Russell Westbrook struggling and banged up. Tip of the hat to my colleague Justin Phan for endorsing Harden this week in the Dashboard as he is off to a strong start so far. The other take-away from this game is that the Thunder have been deploying a “center by committee” strategy with Nenad Krstic(notes) (15 minutes), Nick Collison(notes) (17 minutes) and Serge Ibaka(notes) (29 minutes) all negating each others’ fantasy value. Ibaka remains the most likely to hold serious fantasy value out of the bunch but it is clear he won’t be a reliable option with all the bigs healthy and contributing in Oklahoma City.

JaVale McGee(notes) and Andray Blatche(notes) returned from their respective one-game suspensions, with both players returning to the starting lineup. Blatche played well (17 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 6 turnovers), while McGee struggled (24 minutes, 2 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks). John Wall also continued to come off the bench (13 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers) in his second game back in action after missing five games with a sore knee. Rashard Lewis(notes) also started again but regressed to the mean (12 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 turnovers) after a stellar first game with the starting unit.

Kyle Lowry(notes) continued to start over Aaron Brooks(notes) (22 minutes, 15 points, 1 three, 4 rebounds, 5 assists) but Brooks’ minutes continue to rise. The Rockets beat the Wizards with a balanced attack that allowed them to overcome a mediocre line from Luis Scola(notes) (13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers).

LaMarcus Aldridge continued his impressive play as the undisputed alpha dog in Portland with Brandon Roy(notes) on the bench. Aldridge scored an efficient 26 points despite being the focus of Utah’s defense for the entire game. Andre Miller(notes) (17 points, 6 assists, 3 steals, 3 turnovers) and Rudy Fernandez(notes) (13 points, 1 three, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers) also continued to benefit from Roy’s absence. Portland gutted out a tough win despite being short-handed.

Mehmet Okur(notes) played 17 minutes after missing Utah’s last three games with a sprained ankle. Okur still is quite a ways from providing fantasy production but is at least making progress instead of experiencing further setbacks. Utah’s bigs failed to capitalize on Portland’s lack of frontcourt depth with both Al Jefferson(notes) (11 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers) and Paul Millsap (11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks) posting disappointing lines.

Baron Davis(notes) posted a decent line (11 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 5 turnovers) and actually had a key defensive play down the stretch to defeat the Kings. Beyond Davis, the Clippers continue to be dominated by Eric Gordon(notes) (31 points, 6 threes, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 turnovers) and Blake Griffin(notes) (24 points, 1 three, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 turnovers).

Paul Westphal rolled out a sensible starting lineup of Beno Udrih(notes), Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia(notes), Carl Landry(notes) and Samuel Dalembert(notes) and the Kings almost pulled out a win. Tyreke Evans played like it was his rookie season again (32 points, 3 threes, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers), while Garcia was hot from downtown (12 points, 4-8 3PT, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 0 turnovers) and may be back to being fantasy relevant until Westphal shuffles his rotation again. Omri Casspi(notes) played well off the bench as well (16 points, 4 threes). Should Evans opt for surgery it is anyone’s guess as to what direction Westphal takes given his penchant for unpredictable rotations.

Stephen Curry(notes) returned to Golden State’s starting lineup and posted a nice line (17 points, 4 threes, 5 rebounds, 8 assists). David Lee(notes) posted a line that is reminiscent of last season in New York (21 points, 16 rebounds). Dorell Wright(notes) led the Warriors in scoring with 28 points that were powered by five-for-seven shooting from behind the three-point line. Lou Amundson started ahead of Andris Biedrins(notes) (ankle) but only played 12 minutes.

Elton Brand continued to play extremely well (16 points, 16 rebounds) while Thaddeus Young(notes) (15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) benefitted from Iggy’s absence. Andres Nocioni(notes) technically started in place of Iguodala but was ineffective while Young had a serviceable fantasy line. Spencer Hawes(notes) also nearly double-doubled (9 points, 12 rebounds) in Monday night’s loss to Golden State.

Photos via Getty Images

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