And now for some comic relief during this hectic part of the fantasy NBA season. If you haven't seen the clip of Dikembe Mutombo's Rocket teammates imitating him, then you need to check it out. My personal favorites are Shane Battier, Aaron Brooks, and Steven Novak. And you have to love Rick Adelman's quote at the start of the clip – "I talked to him for 10 minutes on the phone and didn't understand a single thing that he said." Enjoy, and feel free to send me some links of your favorites NBA video clips – perhaps I'll share some more of my favorites over the season's final weeks.
Gerald Wallace (GF – Charlotte)
Wallace returned to the court on Wednesday night, scoring 14 points and grabbing five boards in 22 minutes. "I thought Gerald did a good job of getting on the floor and knocking down some shots and trying to get his legs and timing," said Bobcats coach Sam Vincent. "That's going to take some time … He's going to have to play some games and he's got to get his timing and his rhythm with the team." Expect Matt Carroll's fantasy impact to decrease as G-Wall's playing time increases.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C – Cleveland)
Rest and painkillers have Big Z's back feeling better to the point that he's no longer "dropping a lot of cuss words" when he gets out of his car, but he'll be out at least through the end of this week because of a bulging disk. He'll be re-evaluated at that point, but it's unlikely that the Cavs will press him into much action before the playoffs.
Ben Wallace (FC – Cleveland)
Wallace missed Wednesday's game with back spasms and is questionable for Thursday, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. Joe Smith will get another start at PF if Wallace can't go.
Jermaine O'Neal (FC – Indiana); Jamaal Tinsley (PG – Indiana)
Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said on Wednesday that he "absolutely" expects both O'Neal and Tinsley back at some point before the end of the season. Then came the qualifier, "but it's one of those situations where I have no timetable to go by." Both players are doing individual work, but neither has returned to team practices as of yet, and there's less and less reason to share O'Brien's optimism as each day passes.
Elton Brand (FC – LA Clippers)
As mentioned in last week's Big Picture, a best-case scenario for Brand appears to be early April, meaning his games-played total is likely to be single digits if he were to return before the end of the season.
Chris Kaman (C – LA Clippers)
Kaman missed his second consecutive game because of a sore lower back on Wednesday. Consider him day-to-day at this point, and it's likely that he'll at least be limited by injury for the rest of the season.
Andrew Bynum (C – LA Lakers)
Bynum has begun running on an anti-gravity treadmill, the next step in his return from a knee injury, according to the Los Angeles Times. He remains on an indefinite timetable, however, and remains unlikely to contribute much to the Lakers or fantasy teams before the end of the regular season.
Udonis Haslem (PF – Miami)
Haslem has missed the past three games with a sprained ankle and is day-to-day at this point.
Yi Jianlian (PF – Milwaukee)
Yi has missed the past five games because of a nagging right wrist injury that has bothered him since January, and it's possible that he'll miss most or all of the rest of the season so that he's at 100 percent for the Olympics in August. "It's not a normal injury," said Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak. "There could be some hidden damage in there." Charlie Villanueva has been starting for Yi and should be a very good fantasy play for the remainder of the season.
Mo Williams (PG – Milwaukee)
Williams continues to be sidelined by pubic symphysis, and while there hasn't been a definitive update by the Bucks, the short-term prospects of a return from this type of injury appear to be less than good. Royal Ivey will continue to start for Williams, but offers little in terms of fantasy impact.
Eddy Curry (C – New York)
According to the Daily News, Curry is not expected to play again this season. He is currently seeking a second opinion on his injured right knee, and may need surgery to repair a small cartilage tear. David Lee figures to move into the starting lineup for the rest of the season if Curry does not return.
Dwight Howard (C – Orlando)
Howard left Wednesday's game early with a bruised right quad, but the injury is not expected to cause him to miss any time, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Willie Green (SG – Philadelphia)
Green played just 12 minutes on Monday and missed Wednesday's game because of a lower back strain. He is expected to miss at least the next two games (Thursday and Friday), according to the Philadelphia Daily News.
Nick Collison (FC – Seattle)
Collison missed Wednesday's game with right hip, lower back, and right elbow bruises he sustained during a fall on Tuesday – he's day-to-day at this point.
Chris Bosh (FC – Toronto)
Bosh's knee has made slow progress and the Raptors have no intentions of rushing him back to the court. He's missed the past seven games and will probably miss at least the final three games of the team's current road trip, according to the Toronto Star. Rasho Nesterovic has been in the starting lineup while Bosh has been sidelined, averaging 12 points, 7.1 boards, and 0.6 blocks in 28 minutes per game.
Caron Butler (SF – Washington)
Barring any last-minute setbacks, Butler will return to the starting lineup for the Wizards on Thursday, according to The Washington Post. His minutes are likely to be somewhat limited at first, as he's been out for over a month and has only participated in a few practices.
Antawn Jamison (F – Washington)
Jamison has been dealing with a sore lower back for about a week and did not practice on Wednesday but is probable for Thursday's game, according to The Washington Post.
Gilbert Arenas (PG – Washington)
Arenas could return to the lineup sometime before the end of March, but nothing definitive has been set in terms of a date. He did not practice Monday because of some soreness in his surgically repaired left knee, according to the Washington Post.
Buzz Index – adds
Charlie Villanueva (F – Milwaukee) 23,799 adds
Charlie V has really found his groove, averaging 24.6 points on 49 percent shooting, 1.6 threes, 9.6 boards, 0.8 steals, and 1.2 blocks in 37 minutes per game.
Upshot: Yi Jianlian remains sidelined with a right wrist injury that has been bothering him since January, and he could end up shutting it down if concerns over his availability for the Olympics become any more substantial than they already are. Villanueva is a great play at least while Yi is out – in his 16 total starts on the season, he's averaged 15.2 points, 0.6 threes, 7.8 boards, 0.7 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 30 minutes.
Daequan Cook (G – Miami) 12,021 adds
Cook was added to a number of rosters in the wake of his 23 points and five threes in 43 minutes on Monday versus the Clippers.
Upshot: Cook followed up that performance with six points on 2-of-9 shooting in 40 minutes versus the Knicks on Wednesday. Think Rashad McCants at his most maddeningly inconsistent – in his four starts this season, Cook has averaged 13.3 points on 40 percent shooting, 2.8 threes, 4.3 boards, 0.3 steals, and 2 turnovers in 38 minutes. There is also a chance that he is back to the bench when Udonis Haslem returns from injury.
Matt Carroll (GF – Charlotte) 11,925 adds
Gerald Wallace's injury thrust Carroll into the starting five and he has been quite productive – over the past eight games, he's averaged 16.9 points on 49 percent shooting, 3.3 threes, 5 boards, and 1.5 steals in 38 minutes per game.
Upshot: Wallace played 22 minutes off of the bench on Wednesday, his first action since suffering his concussion. You may be able to get a few more solid games out of Carroll, but he's likely to be playing closer to 20 minutes per game within a week or so, assuming G-Wall gets back to full speed and is back in the starting lineup.
Ricky Davis (GF – Miami) 10,671 adds
Davis is off to a good start as the default "go-to guy" for the Wade-less Heat. He's scored 27 points in three consecutive games on 65 percent shooting, averaging 3.3 threes, 4.3 assists, and 1 steal in 42 minutes per game.
Upshot: Davis isn't shy and his usage should be as high as any player in the league moving forward, so he'll be a good source of points, threes, boards, assists, and steals. What is unlikely is that many of Davis' big statistical games help the Heat put additional tallies in the win column.
Anderson Varejao (FC – Cleveland) 9,891 adds
Injuries to Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Ben Wallace have created surplus playing time for Varejao, and he's averaged 9.5 points, 9.8 boards, and 1.2 steals in 34 minutes over the past six games.
Upshot: He's been struggling with his shot (41 percent shooting over the past six, 39 percent since the break), but otherwise has been a fine C2 option. Big Z is out at least a few more games and doesn't figure to be pushed much before the playoffs begin, so Varejao should continue to have good value down the stretch.
Buzz Index – drops
Dwyane Wade (G – Miami) 47,728 drops
Wade's season is over, as he'll rest and rehab his surgically repaired left knee and concentrate on being 100 percent for Team USA in this summer's Olympics.
Lowdown: A fitting end to a frustrating season for Wade's fantasy owners. Ricky Davis and Shawn Marion will inherit as much of Wade's scoring responsibilities as they can handle, and the rest of the Heat roster will simply do what they can to help.
Eddy Curry (C – New York) 8,077 drops
Curry has missed the past three games due to pain in his right knee – an MRI earlier in the week revealed a cartilage tear, and a decision on whether or not to have surgery is expected to come within a few days.
Lowdown: Even if Curry decides to not have surgery, it's hard to imagine that he'll have much in the way of a positive fantasy impact while playing at less than 100 percent. David Lee should – and I can only stress the word should – be looking at consistent starts for the rest of the season. Willie Green (SG – Philadelphia) 7,990 drops
Green hit waivers after playing just 11 minutes on Monday and missing Tuesday's game with a lower back strain.
Lowdown: Green had a good run in February (14.2 points on 50 percent shooting, 0.9 threes, 1.1 steals in 13 games), but he's a marginal enough contributor that you don't need to wait on him to work past this injury. Travis Outlaw (F – Portland) 7,227 drops
Outlaw is back to being a reserve and has barely been contributing on offense over the past week – over the past five games, he's averaged 5.5 points on 28 percent shooting and 1.3 boards in 16 minutes per game.
Lowdown: It looks like Outlaw's "breakout" campaign will have to wait at least until next season. James Jones' 20 minutes per game in March have taken a big chunk out of Outlaw's playing time. Ben Wallace (FC – Cleveland) 7,219 drops
Wallace played just 16 minutes Monday and did not play Wednesday because of back spasms. In nine games with the Cavs, he's averaged 5.7 points on 43 percent shooting, 8 boards, 0.8 steals, and 1.3 blocks in 29 minutes.
Lowdown: Wallace's real value to the Cavs will come on the defensive end of the floor during the playoffs – even when healthy, he's a sub-par option as a fantasy center at this point.
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 3/13)
TOP 10 (Worst)
BOTTOM 10 (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
DIFF = difference in ratio since previous update