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Guard options limited as injuries mount

Jerryd Bayless has gotten a lot of play as a replacement for Brandon Roy.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The list of injured guards keeps getting longer by the day and the problem is becoming a nightmare for fantasy owners.

Over the weekend, Kobe Bryant, who hadn't missed a game since December 8, 2006, sat on the sidelines and watched as his team played the Portland Trailblazers. But Portland had problems of their own, missing All-Star Brandon Roy.

Other fantasy stars on the sideline include: Chris Paul who is out for 1-2 months, Mo Williams out for an extended time with a sprained left shoulder, Michael Redd out for the season, Leandro Barbosa on the shelf for another month and Chauncey Billups who missed his team's last game with an ankle injury.

Add to that growing list, All-Star guard Joe Johnson who has the flu and is questionable for Tuesday's game against Memphis, and guard/forward Corey Maggette who is questionable with a sprained finger and as a fantasy player we are quickly running out of options.

Some of the moves have probably already been done.

For instance, when I wrote a story last Monday about Darren Collison taking over for Paul, he was at the 29% ownership level - today it's at 61%. Billups points are likely taken by J.R. Smith (82%), most of the Redd owners jumped on Brandon Jennings (90%) and Jerryd Bayless (10%) has gotten a lot of play as a replacement for Roy.

If Johnson is out on Tuesday, Jamal Crawford (86%) would likely move into the starting role with Flip Murray (4%) doing some scoring off the bench as the sixth man. And when Maggette has missed time in the past, both Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry have hoarded most of the shots, but both are on someone's roster already.

Of course, if you're trying to replace Kobe...good luck with that. The Lakers all-time leading scorer at just 31-years-old is impossible to replace in mid-February. Actually his 28.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.6 apg is impossible to replace at any point, but fortunately he's been a warrior and played through most of his injuries over the past three years. It's very possible that if the Lakers hold him out of Monday night's game that they could easily keep him resting until after the All-Star break in preparation for the stretch drive and playoff run.

In Bryant's absence on Saturday, Artest started at shooting guard as the Lakers went "big" with a frontline of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. Bynum, however, is also questionable for Monday's game which could put Shannon Brown in a starting shooting guard role. He had 19 points on Saturday, shooting 8- for-15, and is owned in just 4% of all leagues.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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