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February already a tough month for injuries

Chris Paul is expected to miss from a couple of games to two weeks.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If you own a fantasy basketball squad, you know that the last week has been extremely tough on fantasy lineups.

At least half a dozen "big time" players have been sidelined. So lets look at the situations and try to figure out how to patch a lineup together until these guys return to the floor.

Joe Johnson, G. Atlanta - Johnson will miss Wednesday night's game with a viral infection and is listed as day-to-day. Maurice Evans will start in his place, but isn't likely a viable fantasy starter. Johnson's 21.5 ppg will likely be spread between Mike Bibby, Josh Smith and Ronald "Flip" Murray. Murray is likely not on a roster and has scored in double figures in eight straight games. He is averaging 18.2 ppg over his last five even with Johnson in the lineup.

Both guard Tony Parker and forward Tim Duncan of San Antonio, missed yesterday's game with Denver. This is the only "no-problem solution" because they weren't injured or ill, just resting after an overtime game on Monday night. No action needs to be taken as they should be back for the next game of the Spur's "Rodeo Trip."

Kevin Garnett, F, Boston - Garnett has missed two consecutive games with the flu, but is expected to try and return for Thursday's huge matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers. Glen "Big Baby" Davis has averaged 12 ppg and 8.5 rpg as Garnett's fill-in.

Chauncey Billups, G, Denver - Billups is questionable for tonight's game at Oklahoma City with a sprained right ankle. He'll likely miss just one game and is shooting for a Friday return against Washington. J.R. Smith should be the beneficiary of more time and shot opportunities.

Chris Paul, G, New Orleans - Paul is expected to miss from a couple of games to two weeks with a strained groin. No one player will be able to replace his 21.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 10.9 apg and 2.8 spg. Without Paul and center Tyson Chandler, the Hornets will rely on forwards David West and Peja Stojakovic to score. But who will get them the ball in the right position?

Answer: Antonio Daniels is the backup point guard and will get a chance to play a lot of minutes. He has always been a solid bench player, but never a fantasy starter.

Jameer Nelson, G, Orlando - Nelson suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder. If they choose surgery his season could be over versus choosing rest which would mean just a few weeks missed. Anthony Johnson would take his place at point guard, but I suspect the team would run the offense through Hedo Turkoglu at forward who is an excellent passer. This injury could hurt the team's ability to get the ball inside to Dwight Howard, so don't be surprised if Howard's numbers dip this week while they try to adjust to Nelson's loss.

Brad Miller, C, Sacramento - Miller missed last night's game with an abdominal strain. He was averaging 11.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg and 3.4 apg and was a solid backup option. He'll likely miss at least one more and probably two more games. Spencer Hawes will replace him in the starting lineup and he did a decent job at the beginning of the season when Miller also missed a number of games.

Deron Williams, G, Utah - Utah might be the most injury-prone team in the league. Currently, they are without All-Stars Williams, Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko. Boozer and Kirilenko are three weeks away, but the loss of Williams hurts the most. He runs the team almost exclusively for the 35.6 minutes-per-game that he is on the floor and also scores when needed (17.6 ppg, 10.1 apg, 2.7 rpg). He missed Monday's game with a swollen knee and hopes to be back Thursday, but they'll likely be very careful with their "franchise" player so expect him to miss two games...at least. Ronnie Price will continue to start in his place, but is only good for around 10 points and a couple of assists - not fantasy worthy.

However, Ronnie Brewer's numbers should take a leap forward. Brewer has five straight games with at least 15 points and with all these starters missing should get a huge opportunity to put up points. He owned in less than 70% of the leagues and would be a very nice pickup.

Injured PlayerTeamPossible Solution
Joe JohnsonAtlantaRonald "Flip" Murray
Kevin GarnettBostonGlen "Big Baby" Davis
Chauncey BillupsDenverJ.R. Smith
Chris PaulNew OrleansAntonio Daniels
Jameer NelsonOrlandoAnthony Johnson
Brad MillerSacramentoSpencer Hawes
Deron WilliamsUtahRonnie Brewer
Tony ParkerSan Antonionone
Tim DuncanSan Antonionone


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

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