It's make or break time in many fantasy leagues, with the final days of the first round of head-to-head playoff matchups taking place. Some key updates to big names can be found below, so let's get right to it. Good luck this weekend.
Joe Johnson (G, Atlanta)
There's been nothing new on the Johnson front – a return at some point this season still hasn't been ruled out, but there have been no recent updates that would give credence to hopes that he is going to return.
Paul Pierce (GF, Boston)
Pierce is out Friday and may not play again this season, although there is "a chance" that he'll play before the season ends, according to Celtics coach Doc Rivers. Pierce has been dealing with significant pain in his left elbow, and his return is contingent on that pain subsiding in the very near future.
Dirk Nowitzki (PF, Dallas); Josh Howard (GF, Dallas)
Mavericks coach Avery Johnson called both Nowitzki and Howard game-time decisions for Friday, but added, "I like to err on the side of caution. If I see any type of danger, the guy's not going to play." Both players suffered ankle injuries during the team's Wednesday game.
Richard Hamilton (SG, Detroit); Chris Webber (FC, Detroit)
A flu bug has affected a number of Pistons, including Hamilton, Webber, Dale Davis, Flip Murray, Carlos Delfino, and Pistons coach Flip Saunders. Neither Hamilton nor Webber was with the team in Chicago on Thursday, instead staying home in an attempt to recuperate. Both players are questionable for Friday. Jason Maxiell and Murray have been in the starting lineup in Webber and Hamilton's place.
Jermaine O'Neal (FC, Indiana)
O'Neal, who missed Wednesday's game with left knee and ankle sprains, is questionable for Friday.
Mike Miller (GF, Memphis)
Miller, who has missed the past three games, is out indefinitely because of tendinitis in both knees. Tarence Kinsey has started in his place and averaged 18.7 points, 1.3 threes, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals in the three games.
Dwyane Wade (G, Miami)
Wade participated in drills on Tuesday and is "very positive" about the chances that he will be back with the team "late in the season and the playoffs." The plan is for Wade to progress to some contact drills by early next week, depending on what team doctors tell him, and then he hopes to return to practices the following week. Wade and the team's focus is clearly on the playoffs – even if things go according to plan, Wade doesn't figure to see significant minutes in a few final regular season games, instead using them as tune-ups for post-season action.
Peja Stojakovic (GF, New Orleans/Oklahoma City)
Stojakovic has been practicing since March 14 but has yet to make an appearance in game action. According to Hornets coach Byron Scott, there is a 50-50 chance that Peja will return to the lineup on Saturday. "He's moving pretty well, and it's just a matter of time," said Scott.
Quentin Richardson (GF, New York); David Lee (F, New York)
When asked if Richardson or Lee would play again this season, Knicks coach Isaiah Tomas replied, "I don't know if there're coming back." Richardson has been sidelined with what has been called a "sore lower back" while Lee has missed games with a "sore right leg". It's safe for fantasy owners to move on at this point.
Steve Francis (PG, New York)
Francis, sidelined by a sprained right ankle, did not travel with the team on its current road trip, meaning he will miss at least the next two games.
Kevin Martin (SG, Sacramento)
Martin's vision is back to normal and he will be in the lineup for the Kings on Friday. He had experienced double vision after being poked in the eye this past Sunday.
Brad Miller (C, Sacramento)
Miller is still listed as day-to-day because of plantar fasciitis, but he appears closer to returning to the lineup, according to The Sacramento Bee. Miller was able to participate in a full practice on Thursday, but there is no definite timetable for his return to the lineup.
Andrea Bargnani (F, Toronto)
Bargnani doesn't figure to make much of an impact during the rest of the regular season. One week removed from an appendectomy, he has begun light workouts and will be re-evaluated in a week. If he is cleared to return to full practices next week, he'll need a few practices before he's read for game action, meaning he'd be back with three or four games remaining in the season.
Stat of the Week
Paul Millsap's five steals (3/23 @ LA Clippers) matched his season high and came in just 23 minutes of play. The 22-year-old rookie continues to play well in limited minutes for the Jazz, although his playing time certainly limits his fantasy value. Although he's made just one start this season, Millsap is certainly near the top of the list of backups who are most likely to be huge fantasy contributors with a starting role – his per-35 minute averages for the season include 13.5 points, 9.9 boards, 1.8 steals, and 2.0 blocks, and he has single-game highs of 20 points, 17 rebounds, five steals, and four blocks.
Line of the Week
Baron Davis (3/23 vs Washington)
34 points (10-16 FG, 11-14 FT), 3 3PTM, 9 rebounds, 15 assists, 4 steals, 0 blocks, 3 turnovers
Davis had another one of his phenomenal games in the 135-128 win over the Wizards. Davis' career has been one of incredible performances tempered by a complete inability to stay healthy for a full season, and 2007 has been no different. Davis has fantastic per-game averages of 20.4 points, 1.3 threes, 4.5 rebounds, 8.3 assists, and 2.1 steals, but had missed 19 of the team's 73 games through Thursday in five separate stints on the inactive list and is currently dealing with swelling in his left knee.
Others with consideration: Zach Randolph (3/29), Kobe Bryant (3/23), Jason Richardson (3/29), Carlos Boozer (3/26), Gerald Wallace (3/28)
Eddy Curry Line Update
The Eddy Curry Line was originally established to put a spotlight on how truly anemic Curry's overall fantasy line is. The standard: a player must average more turnovers than assists, steals, and blocks combined – in order to qualify, a player must have appeared in at least half of his team's games and averaged at least 25 minutes of playing time.
EDDY CURRY LINE – BEST AND WORST
TOP 5 (Worst)
BOTTOM 5 (Best)
GP = games played
MPG = minutes played per game
POS = positive stats accumulated to-date (assists + steals + blocks)
NEG = turnovers to-date
RATIO = amount of positive stats per turnover