Marcus Camby injury worse than thought
Everyone around the Portland Trail Blazers made it sound like Marcus Camby's sprained knee wasn't too serious, but it turns out that he has a partially torn meniscus in the joint. He'll have surgery in a couple of days. If this were a healthy, young player having a routine procedure, we could hope to see him back in action within a month or so. But we're talking about one of the most notoriously injury-prone players in recent NBA history, and he's 36 now. Let's hope for the best, but I'm expecting the worst. Anyone who was counting on Camby for his rebounding and blocked shots should brace for a long-term absence even if things go well with the procedure. Joel Przybilla has been a worthy rebounder in the past and should get a chance to prove he can do it again, but he has his own knee issues to overcome. Keep an eye on Dante Cunningham, too. Mostly, Camby's absence is going to open up even more room in the lane for LaMarcus Aldridge to keep spreading his fantasy wings.
• Miami Heat fans and fantasy owners were glad to see LeBron James back on the hardwood against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, but neither were fully satisfied with the results. The Heat lost their fourth straight game, while LeBron had six turnovers and was just 11-of-30 from the field and 2-of-10 from beyond the arc. Unlike Heat fans, at least we fantasyheads got something to take home with us, because LeBron finished with 34 points, 10 boards, seven assists, two steals and hit 10 of 11 free throws. He'll get to rest his ankle until Saturday, so expect James to get his game back on track this weekend. As for the four straight losses since his coldhearted tweet last week? Well, Cleveland fans might just call it karma.
• With Chris Bosh still sidelined with a sprained ankle, Joel Anthony started for the Heat. He pulled down 16 boards and blocked three shots. Unfortunately, he failed to attempt even a single shot or free throw in 43 minutes of action. Despite the uneven fantasy performance, we stat junkies can appreciate a performance so prolifically unusual that Anthony joined a group that includes only Dennis Rodman and Wilt Chamberlain. According to Elias, since the 1967-68 campaign, only the three of them have pulled down at least 15 boards in a game without attempting any shots. Wilt did it once (1967-68) and Worm did it four times. The Heat don't play again until Saturday, so Anthony may be forced back to the bench if Bosh's ankle responds well to the extra rest. A fun night for Anthony, but he won't see enough action to hit the glass like this very often.
• Al Horford was felled by a sprained ankle Tuesday and left after playing only 20 minutes. Horford ended up with just six points (3-8 FG) but at least he snagged nine boards and dished out three dimes before departing. Initial reports made it sound like it wasn't too bad, but we'll have to wait until more information comes out before guessing whether he'll be able to lace up for the Hawks' game Friday.
When trying to figure out just how good (or bad) a young player can be, you need to assess more than just raw talent. Plenty of talented players don't have the drive or desire to be the best they can be. Probably most of them, actually. So you have to look for outside information sometimes to determine if a guy has that kind of motivation. Here's a gem from rookie John Wall. He told Washington Wizards coach Flip Saunders to fine him whenever he pouts, sulks or shows frustration during games, because he wants "to be a great point guard." He's been far more focused and under control since he told his coach that two weeks ago. Look for a huge second half from Wall, maybe even enough to be mentioned with Blake Griffin for the Rookie of the Year. He and the Wiz face the Milwaukee Bucks on the road Wednesday night.
Tom Carpenter is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.