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The ranks of the injured have grown rapidly since the NBA All-Star game and the trade deadline have come and gone. And the effect of all the bumped and bruised bodies along with players still trying to find their way with new teams is to leave fantasy owners struggling to put out a solid lineup.
While the Oklahoma City Thunder appear to have reached a contract extension with newly-acquired center Kendrick Perkins, he has yet to play a minute with his new teammates due to a sprained MCL. Serge Ibaka is the beneficiary of the additional minutes and could reward fantasy owners with double-digit rebounding totals and a few blocked shots, but he's not going to put up many points.
Baron Davis, a recent acquisition of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has also yet to put on his new uniform and given his injury history might never make in on the court for his new team. The Cavs also received more bad news on Monday, that leading scorer Antawn Jamison (fractured finger) is likely out for 5-7 weeks ... or the remainder of the season. With the club having an 11-48 record, there is no reason to bring either veteran back any time soon.
The two injuries should open up plenty of shot opportunities for J.J. Hickson, Ramon Sessions, Daniel Gibson, Anthony Parker and maybe even Samardo Samuels.
On Monday, we also learned that San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker will miss 2-4 weeks with a calf strain. The team will likely be very conservative with Parker's health given that they have a huge lead in the race for best overall record (5 1/2 games over Boston). George Hill should slide into the starting role and have solid value for a month while Parker recovers. Meanwhile, Manu Ginobili figures to go off in Parker's absence, but he was already in most fantasy owners' lineups because he's having his best season since 2008.
Andrew Bogut (ribs) is out for Tuesday's game against the Detroit Pistons along with fellow forwards Ersan Ilyasova (concussion) and Drew Gooden (plantar fasciitis). The resulting opening should give Luc Mbah a Boute and Larry Sanders additional time. Mbah a Boute is worth a look, if only as a short-term answer as Bogut should not be out long.
Atlanta's Josh Smith (sprained MCL) left Monday night's game after playing just 14 minutes, but the team determined that no MRI was needed and fantasy owners dodged a bullet there, though he could miss a game or two.
Two other big men, Andrea Bargnani (illness) and Luis Scola (knee), are hurting, but will likely be available for their teams' next games. Scola has played 307 consecutive games -- he's a true tough guy -- so fantasy owners should still have him in their lineups.
These injuries on top of those to Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Caron Butler and Rudy Gay have left fantasy benches extremely thin. Hopefully, things will settle down as we head down the final six-week home stretch.
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