What's the theme of this Box Score Blog, kids? It's all about ankles: the joint that connects the foot to the leg and is absolutely necessary for the game of basketball. Basketball requires healthy ankles, and fewer were available after Friday's games.
Josh Smith didn't make it out of the first quarter before spraining his left ankle. According to Sekou Smith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (one of the best beat writers going, by the way), Smith turned his ankle after attempting to block a shot and landing on Zaza Pachulia. He is expected to miss from two to three weeks with a high ankle sprain. Tune in here and to Smith's updates in the Journal-Constitution to get more refined updates on his return. Those of you in weekly leagues can safely move Smith to the bench. Marvin Williams will be the biggest beneficiary of the move, though owners can expect more scoring from Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson as well.
Tony Parker, he of the NBA season-high 55-point game Wednesday, will miss two to four weeks after spraining his left ankle, according to the Associated Press. X-rays were negative, but that doesn't change the fact that ligaments were stretched in ways they weren't intended to stretch. While Parker is out, Roger Mason becomes a must-add. Last night he scored 18 points with five 3-pointers and will continue to see many minutes and many shots as the Spurs (1-5) search for answers for their offense with two of the trio of stars sidelined with ankle injuries. Manu Ginobili isn't expected back until mid-December.
To round out the swollen ankle scene, we turn to Deron Williams, who missed last night's game as we expected. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the initial reports that he will miss four to six weeks are valid. Deron told the paper he thought he was told he could return in two weeks because doctors knew he didn't want to hear the more dire diagnosis. Reality has set in now. Williams injured the ankle on Oct. 18, putting his earliest return game at home against Milwaukee on Nov. 19. Weekly leaguers can bench him for next week and stay updated to determine whether he will in fact be back at the earlier end of the return window.
Under the Boards
On a night of several near triple-doubles, Jason Kidd (22 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists) came the closest. Kidd also threw in six 3-pointers, two blocks and a steal to add to his fantasy buffet. Folks who grabbed Kidd in the fourth round are liking what they have seen from the old man this far. In somewhat troubling news for J.R. Smith owners (count me among them), Dahntay Jones got another start at shooting guard. Smith (+12) had a much better plus-minus than Jones (-8), but the two are still effectively splitting minutes at the 2. Smith should work his way into more minutes if he can maintain those kind of plus-minus numbers. The Warriors are wounded, and the Grizzlies took full advantage for the win Friday night. It wasn't Marc Gasol (8 points, 6 rebounds) as I expected, but other inside players got it done for the Grizz. Darrell Arthur nabbed a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds and Hakim Warrick had his best game of the season, putting up 19 and 10 respectively. The Warriors were missing Corey Maggette (hamstring) and Al Harrington (back). Harrington may miss more time, as his back has been giving him problems all week. Paul Pierce continues to log the most minutes of the big three and came close to a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. He has been the most valuable Celtic this season. Amare Stoudemire is proving to be a gold mine for those of you in free-throws-made leagues. He hit 16-of-18 last night en route to 26 points. Brad Miller made his return from his five-game suspension and promptly put up a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards. Spencer Hawes played just 21 minutes but still managed 13 points and 8 rebounds to go with a 3-pointer. Blame much of this on a permissive Timberwolves defense. Hawes' range is for real (7-for-9 on 3-pointers this season), and owners in keeper leagues should hold tight. Hawes' skill set is perfect for fantasy.
Guy Lake is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.