Fantasy Basketball 2012: Thursday Preview

Today we're going to hit on some of the injuries over the past day and take a look at which players might be worth watching tonight. We also have two new notable starters. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and get all the info as it happens with the analysis you need for the possible adds in your league.

Injuries from Wednesday

Andrea Bargnani (TOR)- The best player on the Raptors suffered a strained left calf in Wednesday's loss to the Kings. He'll have an MRI on the calf and we'll know a lot more when those results are released.

Bargnani did suffer the same injury to that region last year and there should be some concern since this isn't a random occurrence. A calf injury like that could last from a day to a month, so owners really have to just stay tuned. Ed Davis, who has been a bust to this point, looks to be a fantastic pickup in most leagues since he should be able to get himself close to 30 MPG sans the Italian Stallion. Linas Kleiza also debuted last night and wasn't too shabby with his 10 points in 14 minutes. He is on the radar in deep leagues at the very least.

Al Horford (ATL)- Medium Al suffered a shoulder strain in the first half of Wednesday's game. He had an X-ray to ensure there were no fractures or to make sure it wasn't dislocated. It was negative, so that's good. As for the strain, there are a lot of muscle groups in the shoulder and an MRI should be able to give us an idea of how much time he'll miss.. Zaza Pachulia played a sizeable 30 minutes and is worth a look as a Band Aid until Horford hits the hardwood. Ivan Johnson played terribly on 1-of-6 shooting for six points in 17 minutes. He's an interesting player to grab in deep leagues.

UPDATE: Horford will miss the rest of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. This makes Zaza a very strong player to add and owners in deeper leagues should grab Ivan Johnson as well.

More of the Thursday Preview after the jump:

Ty Lawson (DEN)- I mentioned Lawson could miss Wednesday's game in Tuesday's column and that Rudy Fernandez could have a big game; that's what happened as Rudy posted a big line of 15 points, five boards, eight dimes, four steals and two triples. A foot strain is usually a minor injury and I think the Nuggets are being careful since they went up against the lowly Nets. They won. Leave Rudy on the wire unless you want some Ty insurance for this weekend.

Andray Blatche- Blatche is going to get evaluated for his sore right shoulder in New York. Blatche had a shoulder injury last season as well and, like Bargnani, had the same injury to this area last year. There should be some concern here for Blatche and owners, but they obviously shouldn't cut him until something conclusive comes out.

Uncertainty is the waiver wire's best friend and Trevor Booker makes for a wonderful pickup in competitive leagues. When he gets minutes, he' s a double-double machine. He's a career 56 percent shooter from the floor and should be very useful in that category on top of points and boards. The 66 percent from the line isn't great, although I wouldn't expect him to make many trips to the charity stripe.

Derrick Rose (CHI)- The reigning MVP is DTD with a flexion strain in his toe. This is basically the muscle that allows the toe to move downward and it's certainly not going to linger as much as a turf toe. I wouldn't be overly concerned with Rose. John Lucas had an extremely great game with 25 points eight boards and eight assists. Leave him on the wire since Mike James should take away some of his minutes in the near future.

Deron Williams (NJN)- D-Will had a big game with 16 points, 13 assists and three treys in 38 minutes against the Nuggets. He also suffered a Grade-1 sprain of his ankle. That means there is basically no structural damage and owners should really be concerned even though he had chronic issues with this ankle a few seasons ago. If you are cynic, grab Jordan Farmar. Farmar blew up with 26 points and six threes (!!) last night. I'm not buying it too much though.

Joakim Noah (CHI)- Noah gave his owners another reason to complain by spraining his left thumb last night. Noah had surgery on his right thumb last year, so this isn't a repeat. Owners shouldn't be concerned about the injury much, but his hideous numbers makes his value unbelievably low and could probably be had for pennies on the dollar. How low? Well, I get some questions on Twitter about cutting him.

If you own him the only thing you can do is wait for a couple big/decent games before trying to shop him. His value is just too low right now.

T.J. Ford (SAS)- The Longhorn was diagnosed with a torn hamstring and will miss 4-to-6 weeks. Kawhi Leonard had a stunning (yes, it's stunning when dealing with Pop) 38 minutes that yielded 11 points and eight boards. He should already be owned in deeper leagues and is on the radar in all leagues. On a side note, it's a bit odd how the critics bashed Leonard for his shot and he started at shooting guard and is taking threes. Subsequently, Neal is rendered useless in standard leagues.

Rudy Gay (MEM)- Rudy Gay has a hip pointer and should probably play through the injury. That type of injury is usually just a thorn in the side (or technically the iliac crest of the pelvis) and I would expect him to play through the pain. Stay tuned. Tony Allen and Sam Young would be the appropriate adds in standard and deep leagues, respectively.

Iman Shumpert- (NYK) There were no reports cramping for Shumpert. Party!

Kwame Brown (GSW)- Brown will miss the rest of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. While many of us haven't been counting on Brown, his absence could give second-year Ekpe Udoh a chance to produce. He had some bright spots last season and his athleticism gives him some allure for Mark Jackson. He a solid shot blocker and would certainly be owning in the event he gets 30 minutes.

New Start City

The move we were all expecting was made official today as Byron Mullens will man the five for Charlotte. If your league is competitive, Mullens is probably already owned. If he's not, then he is someone that has nice upside and should be considered in most standard formats. If I write one more if/then statement, you might question my writing skills.

Jon Leuer will take over at the starting power forward for the Bucks. Leuer got 30 minutes on Tuesday and handed in a adequate line of 10 points, five boards, a block and a steal. The Bucks aren't very good and the Badger might get some burn. I'd take him over Drew Gooden right now, but give me Mullens until I see what happens tonight.

Thursday Previews

Charlotte Bobcats at Atlanta Hawks

We've pretty much covered this one with Mullens, Zaza and Ivan Johnson. Tyrus Thomas should probably play and keep an eye on Kemba Walker and his recent increase of minutes. Marvin Williams is questionable with his Grade-1 ankle sprain. He's no longer worth owning and Vlad-Rad would be a nice plug-n-play sans Marvin.

Detroit Pistons at Milwaukee Bucks

Keep an eye on Stuckey on whether he'll return from his groin injury. He has been out a week and is likely a game-time decision. I am a huge Brandon Knight fan for the way he's chucking threes and really feel that he is a must-own guy given his situation on the cellar-dwelling Pistons. Will Bynum would also be a decent spot-start in some formats.

Carlos Delfino had a big game for a change on Tuesday and he might like Australians more than that hot blonde in the Miller Lite commercial. I've been practicing my accent for my next bar run.

New York Knicks at Memphis Grizzlies

Mattress Speights was a bit of a down-type (get it?) in his last game with only 10 points in 20 minutes. The dearth of depth up front still makes him a very desirable player to own. You're splitting hair with him and Mullens, but Speights is your man if you want some stats in next month since he has a great chance to succeed with Z-Bo recovering from his MCL injury.

The Knicks pretty much have things figured out until Baron Davis makes his debut.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Phoenix Suns

Alonzo Gee should be usurping Omri Casspi's territory in the starting lineup with the way the Israeli has been close to a disaster. Casspi has been roasted like a KFC product for not getting back on D and is shooting a poultry 38 percent from the floor. Kyrie Irving is going to get more minutes and that will lead to Ramon Sessions losing value. I wouldn't have a problem cutting Sessions for one of those bigs (Speights, Mullens, Leuer) mentioned above.

Channing Frye has been playing a lot better in his last two which has curbed the Markieff Morris hype. It's still definitely worth monitoring given the immense upside of Morris. Shannon Brown has been getting more minutes and could be a damper on Jard Dudley.

Orlando Magic at Golden State Warriors

Isn't it about time we just start calling a sprained ankle a "Curry"? Curry should be out and look for Nate Robinson to have another nice game and Dorell Wright owners are crossing their fingers, toes, legs, arms, hairs and anything else that he blows up again. Wright was the hero on Tuesday and hit six threes.

J.J. Redick has been lighting up from deep and should already be owned in deep leagues with his six-man role.

Thanks for reading! Send me anything you want about your fantasy basketball team to my Twitter feed @MikeSGallagher or post them in the comments section. Do it.

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