The Minnesota Timberwolves have made frequent appearances on the injury report this season but with injuries to Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Jordan Hill the Lakers are making a run at the most beat up team of the season. Don’t worry Cavs and Wizards fans, your teams are still in the race as well. Let’s take a look at some of the more unlucky NBAers of the week:
Pau Gasol (concussion): Gasol is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion when he took a hard elbow to the face in Sunday’s game vs. Nuggets. It’s hard to gauge how long this injury will keep him out but he won’t even travel with the team on this week’s road trip. Gasol has only been back for eight games after missing most of December with a knee injury.
Dwight Howard (shoulder): Howard is expected to miss at least a week with a torn labrum in his right shoulder—though chances are good that it will take longer for him to return. With the Lakers lineup ravaged by injuries, expect Antawn Jamison to be the biggest fantasy beneficiary and a great pickup for the next week or two.
Kevin Love (hand): Love has broken a bone in his right hand for the second time in three months and may need to undergo surgery to repair it. He still needs to be re-evaluated by a specialist but the Wolves don’t expect to have Love on the court for the foreseeable future.
Ricky Rubio (back): While Love goes back on the injury list, frequent flyer Ricky Rubio is coming off of it. After practicing on Monday, Rubio is expected to play his first game since Christmas on Tuesday vs. Hawks. The Wolves are very short on bodies to put out there right now with Malcolm Lee, Brandon Roy, and Chase Budinger all joining Kevin Love on the sidelines—but Rubio will still be limited in minutes and won’t have the fantasy value his owners have been impatiently waiting for all season.
John Wall (knee): Wall appears to be on schedule to make his return to the Wizards as early as next week. He hasn’t played all season so it’s hard to envision him having an immediate fantasy impact but the Wizards need his production back badly. The top pick in the 2010 draft averaged 16.3 PPG, 8 APG, 1.5 SPG, and 4 RPG last season.
Nene (knee): The oft-injured Nene missed his 13th game of the season Monday with knee tendinitis, another injury to add the the long list. The Wizards don’t play again until Saturday vs. Atlanta so he will have plenty of time to rest his knee but keep an eye on his game status before starting him.
Kris Humphries (ankle): After missing yet another two games with yet another injury, Humphries is expected to be back in the lineup Tuesday against the 76ers. Humphries has only played two games since December 19.
CJ Miles (back): Miles has been playing well since returning to the starting lineup but had to leave Monday’s game vs. the Bulls early with back spasms. He claims he is okay but back spasms can be tricky. He is officially listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game against Atlanta so keep an eye on his status.
Anderson Varejao (knee): While rumors swirl about him possibly moving to Boston, the Cavs are hopeful that Varejao can return for Wednesday’s game against Atlanta. Varejao has now missed ten straight games, wait to see how many minutes he is ready to play before plugging him back into your lineup.
Marcus Thornton (ankle): With Tyreke Evans back in the lineup, the Kings are eager to get Thornton back as soon as Thursday against Dallas. Thornton has missed five straight with his ankle injury and despite inconsistent scoring he was averaging 13.3 PPG and a steal per game before his injury. Last season he averaged 19 PPG.