With nine games on the NBA slate Saturday night, it’ll be important to make sure you don’t have any injured players in your fantasy basketball lineups.
The game between the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers is a big one for both teams, and they each figure to be without some key players. Knicks’ center Tyson Chandler (illness) and backup point guard Beno Udrih (knee) have already been officially ruled out of tonight’s contest in Philly, and coach Mike Woodson hinted that trouble-making shooting guard J.R. Smith (shoelace untying addiction) could be bench for the second consecutive game.
After tonight’s DNP, Chandler will have now missed four straight games with this mystery illness (bubonic plague, perhaps?). Fantasy owners can only hope he gets well soon and he can return to providing his customary big rebounding and high field goal percentage nights. Kenyon Martin will continue to fill in. He has averaged 9.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and a block in the three games during Chandler’s absence.
An MRI to Udrih’s knee on Thursday revealed an inflammation of the left tibiofibular joint, so chances are he’ll miss at least a few more contests while they wait for the inflammation to go down. Raymond Felton should continue to get a nice boost in Udrih’s absence. He put up 13 points and 14 assists in the Knicks’ win over Miami on Thursday. Toure’ Murry is on the very deep league radar.
As for Smith’s situation, our guess is as good as any. The Knicks played remarkably well without him in the lineup on Thursday, so it’s possible he sits again tonight, but with Woodson you never really know. It would be best to check the official lineups closer to game-time, but he might be worth keeping on your teams bench regardless. Prior to sitting out Thursday night, he was only averaging 6.5 points (31.3% FG) and 0.8 three-pointers made over his last four games
The Sixers’ injury report will have less of an impact on fantasy teams. Lavoy Allen has been ruled out with a strained right calf, but there really aren’t any players worth picking up in his stead.
Other Injury Notes:
Magic shooting guard Arron Afflalo is almost guaranteed to miss tonight’s game in Denver with a strained tendon. He took a fall last night, and while x-rays were negative, he’ll likely take it easy. Mo Harkless could draw the start and makes for an interesting stream vs. a Denver team that has been weak defending the perimeter…Tyreke Evans aggravated his left ankle injury last night and should miss tonight’s game in Dallas. The Pelicans are losing players by the minute, which has opened up playing time for guys like Brian Roberts, Austin Rivers and Jason Smith. If Roberts is still on your waiver wire he is a must add with Jrue Holiday out indefinitely and Rivers could be a sneaky pickup, too. He played 25 minutes last night after Evans went down and totaled 12 points and four assists.