Your post-Christmas update looks at the Blazers' backcourt and updates injuries for Camby, Billups, KG, Tyrus, and Artest among others.
• The Jerryd Bayless(notes) roller coaster continued Friday, as he followed up 31 points in 42 minutes on Wednesday with eight points on 2-of-10 shooting in 30 minutes on Christmas Day. It wasn't all negative, however, as he also had seven assists and played the entire fourth quarter in an impressive 107-96 win over the Nuggets. Bayless' promotion within the rotation has coincided with the team winning six of seven games, but his overall numbers haven't exactly been stellar for fantasy purposes - in the seven games, he's averaged 15.3 points on 39-percent shooting, 1 three, 80 percent foul shooting (6.4 FTA), 2.4 boards, 3.6 assists, 1.4 turnovers, and 0.3 steals in 28 minutes. With that said, he's certainly worth rostering in most formats in the event that he can get his shot to fall more consistently.
By necessity (thanks to injuries), the Blazers have been utilizing a small lineup in recent games, meaning Bayless, Andre Miller(notes), and Steve Blake(notes) have all been seeing around 30 minutes per game. Miller's averages over the past seven games include 27 minutes, 10.9 points on 38-percent shooting, 84-percent foul shooting, 2 boards, 4 assists, 1.1 turnovers, and 0.9 steals. Blake's include 28 minutes, 8.7 points on 50-percent shooting, 2.3 threes, 2 boards, 2.4 assists, 0.9 turnovers, and 0.6 steals. Miller isn't likely to get demoted any time soon, but he's also not likely to take back many fourth quarter minutes from Bayless or Blake. A trade seems like the path of least resistance in terms of helping everyone's fantasy impacts, but there are only so many teams that need a veteran point guard (signed through next season at ~$7M per) and only so many centers available. Brad Miller(notes) seems like a great option, but his salary ($12.3M) and the Bulls having little use for Miller would necessitate a third team getting involved.
• Marcus Camby(notes) played only 10 minutes Friday because of his sore left knee. He hyper-extended it on Tuesday and tried to give it a go despite some lingering soreness and swelling, and he'll have an MRI Saturday to determine the specifics of the injury. There's a decent chance he'll be out for at least Sunday's game (BOS), and Craig Smith(notes) would likely be the recipient of surplus run for however long Camby would be out.
• Chauncey Billups(notes) played 20 minutes - all in the first half - in his return from a groin injury Friday. He had no setbacks and his not playing in the second half of the 107-96 loss was strictly precautionary, as the team has a set of back-to-backs on Sunday/Monday (DAL, @SAC).
• Kevin Garnett(notes) left Friday's game late in the fourth quarter after a hard fall to the floor. He'll be checked by the team before they travel for Sunday's game (@LAC), but KG said he could have re-entered the game if it were necessary and a headache is expected to be the worst of it.
• Leandro Barbosa(notes) returned Friday, after nearly a month off because of an ankle sprain, and scored 12 points in 21 minutes during the 124-93 blowout of the Clippers. What remains to be seen is how the minutes break down for the Suns' reserves with Barbosa back in the mix and if Barbosa can get enough consistent run to warrant universal ownership (he's currently at 60%). Goran Dragic(notes) has performed admirably while Barbosa has missed time (19 minutes, 47% FG, 41% 3PT in December) and Jared Dudley(notes) has been very solid all season (24 minutes, 9.1 points, 50% 3PT).
• Two notes for the Bulls on Saturday: Tyrus Thomas(notes) was a full participant in practice Thursday and is expected to return to the active roster. His minutes will come from Brad Miller and Taj Gibson(notes), although he'll need some time to get back to game shape ... Kirk Hinrich(notes) will replace John Salmons(notes) as the starting shooting guard for at least Saturday's game, in an effort to provide some kind of spark to the 10-17 Bulls. The move should mean a few less minutes for Salmons, but it won't exactly hurt his fantasy impact if it helps him get untracked (38% FG). Hinrich has also struggled (36% FG, 70% FT) and should be monitored in the event that the move is mutually beneficial.
• Ron Artest(notes) suffered injuries to his head and left elbow after tripping and falling down a flight of stairs at his home on Friday night. He won't be in the lineup Saturday and we should have a specific update regarding his further availability by Sunday morning.
• Tracy McGrady(notes) won't play in either of the Rockets' back-to-back games this weekend (Saturday @NJN, Sunday @CLE), with team general manager Daryl Morey saying it was because "Tracy didn't feel like this is working in terms of working him back in" and adding that they'll try to work with McGrady in terms of "what's next" once the team returns to Houston. It's no coincidence that the move comes on the heels of T-Mac saying his minutes need to increase "over the next couple of games." What is fairly obvious is that the team has no interest in his taking on a role of any significance at any time, but what remains to be seen is if there is a trade opportunity out there or if the team would consider a buyout.
• Ryan Gomes(notes) will return to the active roster for the T-Wolves Saturday, after missing six games with a high ankle sprain. In seven games prior to the injury, Gomes averaged 20.3 points on 59-percent shooting, 1.2 threes, 93-percent foul shooting, 4.8 boards, and 1.6 steals-plus-blocks in 35 minutes.
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