Roy, Turkoglu injured
The rules in my primary baseball league include an unusual provision for lineups. And no, I've not forgotten that this is the NBA Fantasy Box Score Blog. Just bear with me.
In our league, we make weekly lineups. However, if a player gets injured, we can swap him out and activate a bench player immediately. The second part of this stipulation is that any player we sit must remain inactive for a minimum of seven days.
The philosophy here is that league members prefer the simplicity offered with weekly lineups. But we find it simply agonizing when a player goes to the sideline on a Tuesday and we're stuck with an empty lineup spot for four or five days.
Which brings me back to Tuesday night in the NBA. This morning, fantasy hoops owners are sweating out a couple of key injuries to Brandon Roy and Hedo Turkoglu. Their owners in weekly lineup leagues aren't just sweating, they're stuck. With roto campaigns wrapping up and head-to-head playoffs under way, they're stuck at the worst possible time.
Hopefully, Roy and Turkoglu will be OK. (Not just for our sakes, of course, but for theirs, foremost.) Looking at the game summaries though, it's easy to conclude that either or both could miss significant time.
Roy was hurt at the end of the first quarter in Portland's win over Washington. The All-Star guard strained his right groin attempting to block Caron Butler's buzzer-beating attempt. He returned briefly in the second quarter, but he aggravated the injury and soon left for good. Afterward, Blazers coach Nate McMillan told The Oregonian: "That injury could be awhile." The paper pointed out that groin injuries can take a month to heal.
With that, set your coffee safely away from your keyboard, and let me say it: Roy's season might be over.
Without Roy -- and without LaMarcus Aldridge, who missed the Wizards game after spraining his right ankle Monday against the Sonics -- the Blazers are a team transformed for fantasy. Martell Webster was huge for the second straight night, burying four from downtown against the league's worst team in 3-point defense. Jarrett Jack contributed 17 points and 6 assists on 7-of-10 shooting. Joel Przybilla had the worst 17-rebound, 2-block performance I can recall (6 points, 6 turnovers and 4-of-7 from the line), but the big Minnesotan now has 56 boards over his past three games and is averaging 11.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks since the All-Star break. Travis Outlaw, whose minutes and production had sunk like the market in March, started for Aldridge and turned in a nice 20-point, 6-rebound, 5-assist effort. It was his first 20-point game since Feb. 24 and his best game on the boards since Feb. 4. The five dimes are a season high, too.
Any of these players, if available, could be worth an end-of-season add. Logically, Jack's value should spike the most, but consistency has never been his strong suit. Portland has a tough schedule next week (Lakers, Rockets, Spurs), but plays Sacramento, Memphis and Phoenix among its final five games.
As for Turkoglu, he fell on his right wrist during Orlando's loss to San Antonio. As with Roy, Turkoglu's injury occurred at the end of the first quarter, and, after trying to play with it, he left for good early in the second. Turkoglu, a fantasy gem uncovered at the tail end of many drafts this season, will have an MRI on Wednesday.
"I'm crossing my fingers," he told the Orlando Sentinel. "I just fell on it. I hope it's just a sprain. I hope it's not something like it was broken and keeps me away."
Howard had a monster 24-21 game, while Keyon Dooling (19 points, 4 steals) and Carlos Arroyo (17 points) filled in for Nelson. But the Magic didn't have a replacement for Turkoglu, nor an answer for Tim Duncan (19 points, 15 boards, 4 blocks) or Manu Ginobili (28 points in 33 minutes off the bench).
Speaking of injuries, Josh Howard will feel the burden of Dirk Nowitzki's absence. It won't be a problem, though, as long as the Mavs play the hopeless Clippers. Howard's 32 points (including 15-of-15 from the line), Jerry Stackhouse's 20 and Erick Dampier's 19 points and 17 rebounds carried Dallas.
Chicago seems to have finally settled on a rotation, which features a front line of Luol Deng, Drew Gooden and Joakim Noah with Ben Gordon providing spark off the bench. Gooden had another huge night (31 points, 16 rebounds), while Noah was solid (13 and 9, with 3 steals and 3 blocks) and Gordon popped in 16 points in only 23 minutes.
I don't know what would be more shocking, the Bulls making the playoffs (after beating the Hawks, they're only two games out) or the Hornets winning the West, but I'm gradually concluding that a team with Chris Paul and David West can win way big. Yeah, it was only Indiana, but stand in awe of what those two did on Tuesday: 31 points, 14 assists, 3 steals and 2 3s for Paul; 35 points, 16 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks for West.
That's the kind of production we hope for this time of year. But, as Roy and Turkoglu owners know, despite our best efforts, it doesn't always work out that way.
Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.