NBA fans got some sad news on Wednesday, as Alonzo Mourning's knee injury has likely ended his career. In a move that epitomized his career, Zo refused to be wheeled off of the court on a stretcher, instead choosing to limp off with the help of teammates. You'll hear plenty about Zo's career over the next few days, and deservedly so – Mourning played with a fire and intensity that is rarely seen in any sport. To honor Zo, I thought I'd share some video of a few of the best blocks of his that I could find. In my humble opinion, the blocked shot is as exciting of a play as any in the game, and Mourning was among the best in the business. How about this one on Josh Smith – listen for the slap on the ball. How about swatting a two-handed dunk attempt by Dwight Howard – in slo-mo, no less. Here he blocks Shawn Marion, who was essentially in full stride. This one is great – Channing Frye, mouth agape, was "cleared for takeoff?" I think not. Thanks for the memories, Zo.
Ben Wallace (C – Chicago)
Wallace missed his first game of the season on Wednesday, – he sat with soreness in his left foot, as he's tweaked it "a few times" in the past week. While Wallace revealed that he has a bone spur in the foot, he's not considering surgery at this point. "That's four to six weeks," said Wallace. "I don't want to be sitting here on the sidelines talking to [reporters] for four to six weeks." Wallace averaged 2 points on 27 percent shooting, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2 blocks in the four games prior to Wednesday – consistent off nights and sporadic stints on the inactive list seem likely if Wallace doesn't undergo surgery.
Nene Hilario (FC – Denver)
All signs point to Nene returning to the Nuggets' rotation right around January 1. He's been participating in on-the-court drills such as shooting and ball-handling, and will be cleared for full basketball activity on Friday, according to The Denver Post.
Chucky Atkins (PG – Denver)
Atkins could be back in the lineup as soon as Friday or Sunday, according to the Rocky Mountain News. "I'm definitely close now," said Atkins, whose previous target return date was December 26.
Tracy McGrady (GF – Houston)
McGrady was pulled at halftime of Wednesday's game with a sore left knee after making just one of 10 first-half shots. "Doctors, coaches, and trainers saw how I was moving out there and decided to shut me down," said T-Mac. Although he traveled with the team, McGrady does not appear likely to be in the lineup on Thursday. "We'll see how it feels. Every time I put pressure on it, there's constant pain, sharp pain. I don't have any lift. Laterally, I can't really do anything." Yikes.
Jamaal Tinsley (PG – Indiana)
Tinsley missed Wednesday's game with a deep left thigh bruise, but the injury is not considered serious – he could be back in the lineup as early as Friday.
Sam Cassell (PG – LA Clippers)
Cassell, who has missed the past 11 games with a strained left calf, recently set his target return date as December 27. According to the Daily News, he's been a limited participant in recent practices with the team.
Cuttino Mobley (SG – LA Clippers)
Mobley missed Tuesday's game after spending most of Sunday night in an emergency room because of a stomach virus. He is expected to be back at full strength by Friday.
Pau Gasol (FC – Memphis)
Gasol has missed four consecutive games with a sprained right big toe. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, he will practice on Thursday with the hopes of playing on Friday. "They told me it was going to be sore and a little painful," said Gasol. "But I want to get back out there and help my teammates."
Alonzo Mourning (C – Miami)
Mourning's season, and possibly his career, is over after tearing his right patella tendon on Wednesday. He is scheduled to have surgery on Thursday, and the typical rehab time from such an injury is around six-to-eight months, according to The Miami Herald. "I've been through a whole lot worse than this," said Mourning, who underwent kidney transplant surgery in 2003. "But it's disappointing to think that my career will end this way." Zo averaged 6 points, 3.7 boards, and 1.7 blocks in 25 games this season, and 17.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks in 838 career games over 15 seasons.
Peja Stojakovic (GF – New Orleans)
Peja returned to practice on Wednesday, but his status for Saturday is not yet known. "We'll decide on Saturday's game when the time comes," said Hornets coach Byron Scott. Peja has been battling a groin injury.
Stephon Marbury (PG – New York)
After a one-game return (Monday), Marbury is once again not with the Knicks as he grieves the passing of his father. He was in uniform but did not play on Wednesday; he did not practice on Thursday and, according to the Associated Press, Knicks coach Isaiah Thomas does not expect him to travel with the team to Friday's game at Charlotte.
Rashard Lewis (F – Orlando)
Lewis has been bothered by swelling, stiffness, and spasms in his neck for more than a week, according to Florida Today, and will have an MRI on Thursday in an attempt to find out what is the cause. To this point, he's been battling the pain with visits to the chiropractor. "The doctor told me I probably need to sit out two, three, or four games to let it heal 100 percent," said Lewis. "I'm not as mobile, and it's taken away my athleticism." Lewis added that he doesn't want to sit out any games right now, with the team having lost five of its past seven – it appears that spending time on the inactive list is a real possibility, however.
Tony Parker (PG – San Antonio)
It appears that Parker, who has missed four straight games with a sprained left ankle, could return to the lineup on Saturday. When asked if he'd be ready on Saturday, Parker responded "Yes, definitely," while Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, "I don't know. We'll see." Be looking for game-time updates.
T.J. Ford (PG – Toronto)
Ford has had a busy week, visiting with specialists in New York and Los Angeles. According to The Globe and Mail, he has officially been ruled out of playing on the Raptors' current road trip, which runs through December 31 (five more games), with orders to simply rest. Nothing is certain after the first of the year, either – there are rumblings that the Raptors' front office is very unnerved about the possibility of a potentially devastating spine-related injury if/when Ford returns to the court. Stay tuned.
Mehmet Okur (FC – Utah)
According to the Deseret Morning News, Okur continues to be listed as day-to-day with a left shoulder strain, and his availability for Friday's game is uncertain at this point.
Buzz Index – adds
Sean Williams (FC – New Jersey) 23,492 adds
Williams turned a lot of heads in his third NBA start, turning in a line on Tuesday that included 11 points, seven boards, two steals, and a whopping eight blocks in 42 minutes. In three starts on the season, the 21-year-old rookie has averaged 14.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 4.3 blocks in 36 minutes per game
Upshot: Williams is back in the starting lineup after being almost completely ignored in the rotation for much of early December. If the move sticks this time, Williams will be a significant source of defensive stats – if Nets coach Lawrence Frank once again flip-flops the roles of his big men, however, all bets are off. Either way, he's worth adding in the event that he plays so well that Frank has no choice but to leave him as the team's starter.
DeShawn Stevenson (SG – Washington) 15,026 adds
Stevenson was added to fantasy rosters en masse on the strength of a four-game stretch (December 9-15) in which he averaged 17.8 points, 4 threes, 3.8 assists, and 1 steal in 37 minutes per game.
Upshot: Stevenson will have plenty of opportunities to contribute for at least the next few weeks, while Antonio Daniels is on the shelf. Whether or not he'll take advantage of this on a regular basis is still up in the air – he scored eight points on 3-of-10 shooting on Wednesday, and he's never been a regular fantasy contributor. He's worth picking up, but don't hesitate to drop him for a better option, particularly if his contributions remain inconsistent.
Anthony Johnson (PG – Atlanta) 9,943 adds
Johnson has erupted with three straight strong performances, including his first double-double in almost two years. Over the past three games, he's averaged 16.3 points on 57 percent shooting, 1.3 threes, 10 assists, and 1 steal in 40 minutes per game.
Upshot: Injuries to Acie Law, Speedy Claxton, and Tyronn Lue have created the opportunity for the 33-year-old Johnson, who averaged 5.5 points, 0.5 threes, 4.5 assists, and 1.4 steals in his first 13 starts for the Hawks. There are two courses of action you should pursue: either ride the hot streak until its invariable end and then move on, or try to trade Johnson for someone with long-term prospects while his value is at its peak.
Juan Carlos Navarro (G – Memphis) 9,297 adds
Navarro has once again seen his value spike while a teammate has hit the inactive list. Over the past three games (with Pau Gasol inactive), Navarro has averaged 18 points, 3.3 threes, 3.7 boards, 3.7 assists, and 1.3 steals in 39 minutes per game.
Upshot: Gasol is expected to be back in the lineup on Friday, so we may see Navarro head back to the bench – he's averaged just 7.3 points in 15 games as a reserve. With Darko Milicic struggling, however, Navarro could hold on to his starting spot – if that is the case, then his long-term prospects improve significantly.
Nazr Mohammed (C – Charlotte) 6,699 adds
Nazr made his first start for the Bobcats on Wednesday and put together a very nice line, scoring 17 points with eight boards and three blocks in 38 minutes.
Upshot: Mohammed will at least be reasonably productive if he can handle 30-plus minutes on a regular basis – something around 10 points, 7 boards, and 1 block, with ever-present upside. If you are hurting at center anywhere near as much as the Bobcats were when they made the trade, then you should absolutely grab Nazr off of waivers.
Buzz Index – drops
Marko Jaric (GF – Minnesota) 13,782 drops
Jaric totaled 11 points and 10 turnovers in three games before sitting out on Wednesday with the flu.
Lowdown: Those numbers, coupled with Jaric's propensity for the inactive list, don't exactly breed confidence among fantasy owners. He'll be back on some rosters when he has another productive two- or three-game stretch, but he's just not worth the trouble when it comes down to it.
Antonio Daniels (PG – Washington) 11,475 drops
Daniels was given a two-to-four week timetable for a return after spraining his right MCL on December 13. He averaged 11 points on 50 percent shooting, 4.4 boards, 6.6 assists, and 1.4 steals in 14 starts before the injury.
Lowdown: Daniels should be on Watch Lists in every league in which he's currently on waivers. He'll be in for starts for at least another month when he does return, as Gilbert Arenas will be back no earlier than mid-February (probably later). Be looking for updates regarding Daniels' status in another week or so.
Larry Hughes (G – Cleveland) 10,597 drops
After averaging 29 points on 56 percent shooting, 3.5 threes, 2.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks in his first two games back from the inactive list, Hughes has averaged 8 points on 24 percent shooting, 0.3 threes, 0.5 steals, and 0.3 blocks over the past four games.
Lowdown: This should come as a surprise to no one, really. Hughes' inefficient game has more negatives than positives on the vast majority of nights. He's averaging 10.9 points on 34 percent shooting in 27 minutes of 12 games thus far on the season.
Carlos Delfino (SG – Toronto) 7,471 drops
Delfino's shot has gone seriously cold. Over the past seven games, he's averaged 6.6 points on 29 percent shooting and 0.9 threes on 23 percent shooting in 21 minutes.
Lowdown: He's as cold now as he was hot when he averaged 16.2 points and 2.7 threes in six games from November 25 to December 5. It should be noted that those numbers came in 31 minutes per game for a squad depleted by injury at the time. With some players getting healthy and Kris Humphries playing good basketball, Delfino's numbers figure to stay down.
DeSagana Diop (FC – Dallas) 6,712 drops
Erick Dampier's return to the Mavericks' starting lineup has banished Diop to fantasy irrelevance – in 13 games as a reserve, Diop has averaged 3.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 0.5 blocks in 14 minutes per game.
Lowdown: Diop averaged 4.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in his 14 starts, but is of no value in his current position, on the low end of a platoon.
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. It can be used to help establish which players are among the best and worst, in terms of efficiency of production, for fantasy basketball. 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 (as of 12/20)|
|TOP 10 (Worst)||GP||MPG||POS||NEG||RATIO|
|BOTTOM 10 (Best)||GP||MPG||POS||NEG||RATIO|
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