The much-anticipated "plan" for how the Warriors will handle Stephen Curry and his recurring ankle problems amounted to a cursory Tuesday press release. Team doctors and Curry's surgeon confirmed that he has no structural damage, he will continue treatment and rehab, and will be cleared to play after he passes a functionality test on his right ankle. The fact that he doesn't need more surgery is a positive, but we'll have to see what specific details emerge in regards to how rigid of a test he'll need to pass to be back on the court, because he's clearly having serious functionality issues in the present. Nate Robinson is the add in competitive standard and deeper leagues - he's averaged 29 minutes over the past two games, despite joining the Warriors just days prior to his first appearance. Dorell Wright, Klay Thompson, and Brandon Rush will continue to split additional minutes on the wing based on who has the hot hand, relatively speaking.
• Dwyane Wade's foot injury has taken longer to heal than expected and has raised concerns about the possibility of plantar fasciitis. For now, he can only voice his frustration with not knowing exactly what is wrong and why long it has taken for pain to subside. Wade calls himself "hour to hour" and "minute to minute" and is hoping to play on Tuesday, but he could be shut down for some length of time if plantar fasciitis is eventually diagnosed.
• Nene Hilario's heel is still problematic, but he's resigned to play through it for now. He received a pain-killing shot before Monday's game, will skip practices moving forward, and is even trying new shoes in an effort to limit the effects. The Nuggets are off Tuesday and don't play a back-to-back for another week, and all parties are hoping that the regular off days will be enough to help him get right. The next extended rest for Nene and the Nuggets is just under two weeks out - they've got three straight days off from January 22-24 [schedule]. Fantasy owners should prepare for spotty performances in the short-term and keep their fingers crossed that we don't have any serious aggravation.
• Other status updates: Jason Kidd's back is giving him enough problems that he struggled during the Mavs' visit to the White House on Monday. He'll be re-evaluated on Friday .. For the Rockets on Tuesday: Kyle Lowry (foot) will play, but Kevin Martin (illness) will be a game-time decision. Goran Dragic will get the start if K-Mart sits .. Ty Lawson (foot) did not practice Tuesday and is day-to-day .. Rodney Stuckey (groin) is questionable for Tuesday .. Richard Hamilton remains doubtful for all of the Bulls' current back-to-back-to-back .. Mario Chalmers (shoulder) is expected to play Tuesday but will officially be a game-time decision .. Andrew Bogut (personal) will be back in the lineup Tuesday .. Both Tony Parker and DeJuan Blair are expected to play on Tuesday.
• Rick Adelman was asked Monday if he had considered employing Michael Beasley as a reserve, and he said that it's something that has been discussed internally since the summer. The T-Wolves' 97-87 loss to the Raptors later that night didn't give much credence to the idea - starters Wes Johnson (0-5 FG) and Wayne Ellington (2-6) were bad, and Darko Milicic is no offensive threat at center. Johnson is having a curiously miserable season and has made just two of 13 shots in two starts at small forward. If Beasley is heading to the bench, it will be because Derrick Williams has been promoted and not because the Ellington/Johnson combo will remain on the wings. Adelman said before Monday's game that Williams needs more playing time, so he's due for a boost in any case, but has also prefers Williams seeing most of his minutes at power forward and likes the chemistry he's developed with Ricky Rubio as the primary reserves. The upshot here is that this may amount to much ado about nothing, with Beasley continuing to start. He's off to a bad start (39% FG, 1:2.9 AST:TO) but does at least provide a much-needed threat of offense. Williams has been solid in his minutes and I'd roster him ahead of Beasley with the playing time being equal - Williams' averages over the past three games include 13 points, 1.3 threes, 6.3 boards, 0.7 steals, and 1 block in 28 minutes.
• We've got a bit more scouting on Brandon Knight now that he's made his first few starts, and the reviews are mixed, at best. Knight has a talent (and penchant) for scoring his own points but is not close to being an everyday point guard for the Pistons. The team has averaged 74 points in his three starts, with Knight himself scoring 14 points on 41-percent shooting while totaling nine assists and 11 turnovers. He's not creating much for his teammates and his own offense has been limited to shooting jumpshots, as evidenced by his grand total three free throws in 250 minutes (101 FGA). In fairness, the Pistons' offense has been bad as a whole and Greg Monroe has been heavily featured in the post while Knight has started, but we're still getting a good look at what Knight has to offer. His 43 percent from the floor is solid, given how little he's been around the rim, and 1.6 threes on 34-percent shooting also bodes well for his short- and long-term fantasy impact. But it's in everyone's best interest right now that Rodney Stuckey gets and stays healthy, allowing Knight to return to his reserve role. His own limitations as a facilitator magnify some shortcomings of his teammates (Jonas Jerebko has averaged 5 points on 26-percent shooting over the past three games) and his scoring-first, jumper-heavy offensive game is a better fit with the team's defense-heavy second unit. While a fairer test of his skills would be extended minutes alongside Stuckey (and not Ben Gordon), Knight will have to look to get to the rim more and/or improve his assist numbers in any case if his fantasy impact is going to be anywhere other than the fringes of standard leagues this season. As for Stuckey, he remains questionable for Tuesday's matchup with the Mavs, meaning Knight could be in for at least one more start.
• Anthony Morrow has been huge over the past three games (18.3 points, 54% FG, 4.3 threes) but all indications are that he'll be right back to the bench when either DeShawn Stevenson or Damion James is healthy enough to start. Avery Johnson likes the two-man game that has developed between Deron Williams and MarShon Brooks in a short time, and prefers Brooks' handles and the fact that teams are double-teaming him to Morrow's catch-and-shoot game.
• Rob Mahoney's latest suggests that Jameer Nelson is a buy low candidate. Nothing about his early-season performance suggests anything but that he's just "missing shots" that he normally would make, and that things will turn around before long. Nelson's ownership level is down to 59 percent, so he's on waivers in plenty of standard leagues. If you are participating in a deep enough league where Nelson would never hit waivers and need depth at point guard, float an offer and see about getting Nelson on the cheap.
• How much longer can Dwane Casey justify giving minutes to Rasual Butler? Butler, a "shooter", has successfully converted 24 percent of his shot attempts, including 23 percent from three. For all his offensive limitations, James Johnson can actually pass the ball and we know he'll have a positive impact on the defensive end (22 minutes, 4.4 boards, 1.3 steals, 1.9 steals). Casey may be content to continue to bring JJ off the bench because he's waiting for Linas Kleiza's return to adjust his starting five, but how Butler remains as the starter is curious in any scenario. Kleiza could make his season debut on Friday.
• Scanning the Buzz Index leaders: There's never been any doubt that Amir Johnson is a fantasy asset, he's just been showing it a bit more in recent games. He's still fouling at a good clip (5.1 per 36), but his minutes are up slightly from last season and so are the defensive stats (7.9 boards, 0.9 steals, 1.2 blocks) .. Byron Mullens was a flop against the Knicks on Monday (17 minutes, 1-6 FG). Let's see if he can turn it around against the Rockets on Tuesday - Jordan Hill is another athletic center that can affect the quality of his mid-range looks .. C.J. Miles is all but out of the Jazz's rotation entirely. Feel free to cut him across the board.
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