Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The calendar is turning to March and as we head down the NBA fantasy home stretch we are finding it harder and harder to get our normal lineup on the court. More than a dozen new injuries over the past week have fantasy owners scrambling to put a respectable group of starters on the floor.
Lebron James has had two subpar games in a row (15 points. 5 rebounds 8 assists and 21 points 1 rebound, 0 assists) and is struggling with a sore right ankle. He is probable for Friday's game with San Antonio, but if he's not going to be the 28.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 7.2 apg superstar that we expect, there are a lot of owners who are going to be in trouble. There is nothing to do to replace the NBA's best player, so pray he gets better quickly.
Steve Nash injured his right ankle and missed Thursday's matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Suns missed his 14.1 ppg and 9.7 apg and were blown out by a 132-106 score. He is listed as day-to-day and if he misses more action, Leandro Barbosa will benefit. On the other hand, it looks like Shaquille O'Neal and Jason Richardson would suffer without the two-time MVP at the point.
Tim Duncan has missed the last two games as has his San Antonio teammate Manu Ginobili. No problem for the Spurs as Tony Parker has been superb, but for fantasy owners there is no one on the Spurs who will get you Duncan-like numbers. The best I can offer you is Kurt Thomas (12.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg) or Matt Bonner 13 ppg, 6.5 rpg).
Paul Pierce dislocated his right thumb and is listed as questionable for Friday's game against Indiana. His 20.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.8 apg are going to be hard to replace if he can't go. Expect Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Glen Davis to pick up the scoring pace if Pierce has to sit out a game.
Five Golden State Warrior players are hurting with two of them, Jamal Crawford (rest) and Monta Ellis (left ankle) not expected to play. Also part of the "walking wounded" are: Stephen Jackson (dental), Corey Maggette (right hand) and Ronny Turiaf (right ankle). Jackson is the most likely to play and if he does should have a huge game. He's never been one who is afraid to shoot the rock and without three of the team's primary scorers (Crawford, Ellis, Maggette), Jackson could easily crack the 25-shot, 35-point mark.
Rookie Eric Gordon and second-year player Al Thornton are hurting. Gordon is doubtful with a bruised left shoulder and Thornton questionable with a strained right arch. In their absence against the Celtics, Zach Randolph got off 30 shots, scoring 30 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Allen Iverson is doubtful with a strained back. But this is not the same AI who averaged more than 30 points a game in the past, he is an 18.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.1 apg guy and is replaceable. The Pistons will use balanced scoring to make up for his points, but Rip Hamilton is the most likely to "explode" in Iverson's absence.
Other fantasy-worthy players who have missed time recently include: Mike Bibby (flu), Nene Hilario (right knee) and Kevin Martin (right ankle).