Cousins stars in return, Evans sits out
In Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, the Sacramento Kings have a couple of the best young players in the Association, while fantasy folk have a couple of statistical studs. The trouble right now is that the Kings can't seem to keep them on the court, because Evans keeps battling injuries and Cousins keeps battling his emotions. Case in point is Tuesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Kings got Cousins back from his one-game suspension but had to roll without the services of Evans, who skipped the game because of nagging plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
The Kings held Cousins out of Sunday's game following his altercation with Donte Greene. He returned in a reserve role but still cranked out 21 points (7-14 FG, 7-9 FT), 13 boards and two blocks in 29 minutes, though he had five turnovers. He's expected to come off the bench again tonight, though it's unclear if he'll return to the starting lineup following the All-Star break. Regardless, Cousins should be a solid play the final two months, as long as he can stay out of trouble.
After playing a month of games at a high level, Evans made us forget that plantar fasciitis only goes away completely with rest. The malady has been bothering Evans most of the season and probably will keep him out of the mix again tonight. He's supposed to play in the Rookie-Sophomore game this weekend, but he could get a solid week off before the Kings lace up again next week if he just sits. You would be wise to deal Evans the next time he cranks out a couple of quality games in a row before his foot ailment knocks him out for good.
• Rudy Gay left Tuesday's game with a few minutes remaining in the first half after being fouled by Evan Turner. Gay suffered an apparent shoulder injury and was unable to raise his left arm. He shot two free throws with his right arm before leaving the game for good. The severity of the injury won't be known until he has the joint examined further today. The good news is that the Memphis Grizzlies don't play again until next Tuesday after the All-Star break.
• While the Griz lost Gay on Tuesday, they got O.J. Mayo back from his 10-game drug suspension. He didn't get into the contest until there were a few seconds left in the first half. He played just six total minutes and his only stat was a lone 3-pointer. Whether he can turn things around with the Griz remains to be seen. However, he has a lot of talent and a trade to the right team could make him fantasy-relevant. Stash him on your bench until the NBA trade deadline passes.
• Mike Miller was clipped by a Jeff Foster elbow Tuesday night and had to be taken off the court in a wheelchair. He didn't fly back from Indiana with the rest of his Miami Heat teammates but later he was cleared by doctors to return to Miami on Wednesday. Miller sustained a mild concussion Friday, took another hit to the head Sunday and was dealing with concussion symptoms Tuesday night. If you follow the NFL closely you know that multiple concussions in a short time frame are taken very seriously by doctors. He won't play Wednesday, and time will tell how he responds over the break.
"The toe is a little sore still, but I was able to persevere through the soreness and practice today, so I feel pretty good," Stoudemire said. "It feels much better than three days ago. Three days ago I could hardly walk on it. Now I can run and jump. I haven't tried to really jump explosive yet, I'm going to try more tomorrow. But it's so far, so good."
Long-term, toe injuries can be nagging and really sap a player's explosiveness, so we'll all need to monitor this closely after the All-Star break. Short-term, expect him to play Wednesday and take it easy during the All-Star Game. As for Wednesday, STAT is pumped up to face Al Horford and the Hawks because the last time the teams met Marvin Williams and Shawne Williams exchanged punches.
"It's going to be a very, very intense game after what happened in Atlanta," said Stoudemire, who took umbrage at Horford's histrionics. "He don't want to see me. I watched him play in Florida, and I've seen him play a few years in Atlanta. We've got two different games, and we'll see how it plays out tomorrow."
Let's hope Stoudemire's toe holds up to his tongue.
• The Portland Trail Blazers won't decide whether Brandon Roy will play Wednesday until after their shootaround. He's still working his way back from knee surgeries, so expect him to play limited minutes even if he is cleared to play. Stash him on your bench for now and hope you get lucky after the break.