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Before this season started, the idea of Kevin Garnett suffering what looks like a minor lower leg injury a few days after Christmas would not have seemed like a big deal in the fantasy world. When KG came down hobbling after a dunk last night in Detroit, the reaction was a lot more intense; Garnett has been fantastic this season, regaining his control over the defensive glass and anchoring the best defense in the league while finding his way back into the top 25 on the Player Rater.
It is unclear at this moment how much time -- if any -- Garnett will miss, but given the fact it seems to take him much longer these days to recover from injuries, fantasy owners have to be concerned.
In the short term, Glen Davis will continue to play enough minutes for his limited statistical contributions to stay fantasy-worthy. Beyond that, it's hard to imagine anyone else becoming an option. Jermaine O'Neal is a possibility, but he looked extremely rusty returning to action against the Detroit Pistons. Instead, it seems more likely that Paul Pierce will carry more of the load and the Celtics will simply suffer a bit on the defensive end.
Lamar Odom went back to the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers (and Andrew Bynum went back to the starting lineup), perhaps in response to their recent losing streak. The Lakers beat the New Orleans Hornets easily, and Odom played 31 minutes, his fewest in more than a month. Odom's certainly not going to become a useless fantasy player, but this development is a huge blow to his top-30 fantasy ranking. Despite the Golden State Warriors' loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, it appears Dorell Wright is getting hot again; over his past two games he's playing a ton of minutes (45.5 per, to be exact) and is averaging 30 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.5 3-pointers and two steals. With Andris Biedrins and Dan Gadzuric both missing time with sprained ankles, the Warriors have no choice but to go small, and Wright will be the beneficiary. John Wall had a nice night with 12 assists off the bench in the Washington Wizards' win over the Indiana Pacers; it would appear Wall is slowly rounding back into form and should be in all lineups going forward. With 35 points over his past two games, Houston Rockets point guard Aaron Brooks is starting to look a lot more like himself; he, too, should be in your lineup every night now. Gordon Hayward had a pretty productive 44 minutes for the Utah Jazz against the Los Angeles Clippers, finishing with 17 points, six rebounds and three assists while filling in for C.J. Miles (who was out with flu-like symptoms). If Hayward can work his way into the rotation, he could be a source of 3s (3-for-5 from downtown against the Clips), plus he was an excellent rebounder in college, so there's some serious fantasy potential there.
It will be a battle of the two best teams in the West when the San Antonio Spurs visit the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night. Both teams do a pretty good job of bottling up opposing guards, but coming off a 17-point, 15-rebound performance against the Lakers, DeJuan Blair could be posed for another big night. I love the matchup against the New York Knicks for Brandon Bass and the Orlando Magic; Bass is a bit undersized for a power forward, but that shouldn't matter much against the Knicks' front line. The Knicks, improved as they are, are still one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. The Jazz will try to avenge their Monday night loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, but the Blazers' size does pose problems for Utah's undersized front line. Mehmet Okur hasn't done much for the Jazz since returning to the lineup, but this matchup could be a great chance to get his size back into the equation; I wouldn't be surprised if he knocks down a couple of 3s and has his first fantasy-worthy performance of the season.