Add Luol Deng to Bulls' injured list

January, 23, 2012

The effects of the condensed season are seemingly taking a toll, as more and more players are succumbing to injuries. Last week it was Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade, and this weekend fantasy starters Luol Deng, D.J. Augustin and Ray Allen went down with a variety of maladies.

Deng injured his wrist in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game, and although the X-ray came back negative, the wrist is swollen and his status for Monday is uncertain. He shouldn't miss considerable time, although if it becomes a lingering issue, Kyle Korver's value increases. Augustin left Sunday's game with an inflamed big toe, and it's unclear when he'll return. Monitor his status closely, as Augustin has quelled concerns about Kemba Walker cutting into his production by averaging 14.5 points, 6.9 assists and 1.6 3-pointers per game. If Augustin is set to miss time, Walker's value will receive even more of a bump, though the rookie has already become a must-start in most formats, averaging 14.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.4 3s in his past five games. Ray Allen hurt his ankle in the first half of Sunday's contest and is considered day-to-day, as he hasn't ruled out playing Monday against the Orlando Magic. Allen has been an iron man for the past three seasons, playing in 80, 80 and 79 games, and he's remained in top shape despite his age, so don't expect him to miss much time, if any.

The key with injuries is reacting to them swiftly with regard to your lineup, especially in this melee of a season, when teams are playing four or five games most weeks. The condensed season also makes it harder to make up games missed if your league has a games-played limit, so be sure to compensate immediately for your starters who are missing time, and have a plan as soon as it looks as if time will be missed.

Looking back

Mo Williams scored at least 25 points for the third consecutive game with Chris Paul sidelined, finishing with 26 points, three 3s, two assists, a steal and a block on Sunday. Paul is still considered day-to-day, but Williams has proved he still has what it takes to be a worthwhile fantasy player, and will still be worth owning when Paul returns.

Anthony Morrow is now coming off the bench for DeShawn Stevenson, but has retained fantasy value and is still an excellent source of 3s. He played 32 minutes to Stevenson's 15 on Sunday, dropping 19 points, shooting 6-for-10 with three 3s. Morrow is a 44.4 percent career shooter from long range, so whether he's starting or playing gunner off the bench, he'll give you around two 3s per game.

Stephen Jackson was benched for Friday's contest for missing a shootaround, then came off the bench for Shaun Livingston on Sunday, seeing just 26 minutes compared to his average of 32 per game for the season. Livingston scored in double digits in both games and will be a nice option for assists, steals and percentages if he starts seeing 30 minutes on a regular basis. His scoring and 3s are unimpressive overall, but he's averaging 2.4 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 55.2 percent from the floor and 89.5 percent from the stripe this month in just 23.5 minutes. He'll surface as a deeper-league roto option if he retains the starting job, so pay attention to how the situation shakes out.

Looking ahead

Rookie Nikola Vucevic has stepped up in the absence of Spencer Hawes; he put up 13 points and nine boards on Saturday, even more proof of Philly's impressive depth. Hawes is a game-time decision for Monday's game against the Wizards, although I'd still expect Vucevic to see extended run, making him worth a spot-start in deep leagues as long as Hawes is sidelined. … Deng, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson are all day-to-day for Monday's game against the Nets. This should prove to be a prime opportunity for Omer Asik -- who had 15 rebounds, two blocks and three steals Saturday night for the Bulls' thin frontcourt -- to put up another impressive outing. His per-minute numbers have been fantastic this season. Anytime he's in line for more than 20 minutes in a night, it's safe to expect respectable rebound and block numbers; he's averaging 6.1 boards and 1.3 blocks in just 18.4 minutes per game.



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