Tyrus Thomas out two months
The big news from Thursday is the injury to Tyrus Thomas, who had finally been starting to show signs of blowing up for the Charlotte Bobcats. After putting up some great numbers during the Bobcats' recent 4-game win streak, Thomas struggled against the Celtics and the Hornets and didn't play at all against the Sixers.
Before the 'Cats game on Thursday, the news came out that Thomas would miss up to two months with a tear in the lateral meniscus of his left knee. It's unfortunate, clearly, for fantasy owners who hoped Tyrus would start to put up the numbers that have made him such a great fantasy option for brief stints in the past.
Instead, it appears that Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw will continue to play way too many minutes for the Bobcats while Nazr Mohammed (15 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench) fills in some of the gaps when a big man is needed. No one becomes fantasy-worthy who wasn't before, and this is just a major blow to the Bobcats, and also to fantasy owners who were hoping to sneak a little production out of Thomas during the balance of the season.
If you were worried about Eric Gordon's finger after he left the court briefly Wednesday night against the Timberwolves, he did a good job of handling your concerns on Thursday night, finishing with 35 points on 13-for-26 shooting from the floor in the Clippers' loss to the Trail Blazers. You can keep him in your lineup without reservations going forward. Rudy Fernandez, in the meantime, continued to put up good fantasy numbers off the bench for the Blazers. After putting up 17 against the Clippers, he's now been in double figures for three straight games, and is averaging 14.0 points, 3.3 steals, and 2.0 3-pointers per game during that stretch as well. Evan Turner had a terrible game for the Sixers against the Bobcats, and while the Bobcats do play tough defense, Turner's numbers in 26 minutes per game in his past five are nothing to write home about. I'm giving up on him until further notice. As mentioned above, Nazr Mohammed was productive in the 20 minutes he played on Thursday night. Unfortunately, he doesn't do much more than score and rebound, and won't play enough minutes to make his contributions in those categories valuable on most nights, even with Thomas out. Both the Bulls and the Mavericks played stellar defense on Thursday night, so I'm not willing to read too much into the putrid performances of the offenses. Suffice it to say that Derrick Rose was able to carry the Bulls on a terrible shooting night, just another feather in his cap.
The New Orleans Hornets do not generally give up big numbers to anybody (since they play excellent defense). Because of that, I wouldn't worry much about who will be getting minutes for the Hawks in place of Al Horford, who will miss the game Friday night with a sore right ankle. No matter who it is, you won't want him in your lineup. Chauncey Billups managed some good numbers against the Lakers last season, but on just 39 percent shooting from the floor. This season, he had just 15 points and four assists, and was 3-for-11 from the floor in their previous meeting. That's just to say that while the Lakers may have trouble defending point guards, Billups is not the sort of point guard that gives them trouble. You probably need to play him, but if you have other options, consider them. The Nets, as you can probably guess, do not do a great job defending big guys, so it's another great night to get Greg Monroe into your lineup for the Pistons. Monroe is averaging 13.2 points on 70 percent shooting, 8.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals in his past five games and has a good chance to keep that up on Friday. Finally, we have three matchups on Friday night between bottom-10 defensive teams: Pistons-Nets, Suns-Wizards and Kings-Warriors. If you have guys on any of those six teams, Friday night is the night to get them into your lineup.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.