Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace has been a pleasant surprise all season and played well above his Draft Day position (ADP 26 = third round) for the entire season, so his injury on Friday night could be a "title changer."
Not for the Bobcats, who at 33-31 will almost certainly make the playoffs in the weaker Eastern Division, but not challenge for the championship with the likes of Cleveland, Orlando, Denver and the Lakers. But for fantasy owners who have gotten to enjoy, and expect, his box score-filling numbers the entire season.
Wallace, who has played in 62 of the team's first 64 games, was averaging 18.5 ppg, a stunning 10.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.5 spg and 1.2 bpg.
However, on Friday a flagrant foul by Los Angeles Clippers guard Baron Davis at the end of the first half sent Wallace flying. Though he took his two foul shots (making one), Wallace was done for the rest of the game and likely a lot longer. It appears to be the dreaded "high-ankle sprain" to go along with a sore left foot and a headache.
They carted Wallace to his car Friday, not a good sign.
"Pray," said Bobcats teammate Stephen Jackson, ominously.
With just 18 games left in the regular season, a two-week stay on the bench could cost fantasy owners eight games or 44% of the remaining games. And with a 2 1/2 game lead on the ninth-place Chicago Bulls, Charlotte will probably be very careful about his return date.
There's no one person who will take his place in the lineup. Tyrus Thomas might be able to grab the rebounds that Wallace would normally scoop up, but he's not a good scorer. Boris Diaw (79% ownership) will likely take a few more shots, as will Raymond Felton (80%) and "never-saw-a-shot-he-didn't-like" Jackson (99%) will hoist a few extra shots, but none of them is likely going to be available for pickup.
So for now, fantasy owners, like Jackson, should just pray he heals quickly.
|Gerald Wallace NBA Statistics|