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Week 23 NBA Injury Report: Rest for the Weary

Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett

It’s bad enough to be locked in a fantasy playoff matchup or finishing up your roto season with a plethora of injuries to some of the biggest names in the game. Now, with only a couple weeks left of the season, fantasy owners have to deal with another nuisance – pre-playoff rest days. With most teams already certain of their playoff fate, whether their spot is locked in or they are so far away from the playoff picture it doesn’t even matter, coaches will opt to rest older and more valuable guys and give injured players an extra game or two to heal up. Possible rest days not withstanding, let’s take a look at when you can expect to see your top guys back in the lineup.

Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett

Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett (5) and shooting guard Courtney Lee (11) and power forward Brandon Bass (30) take the court to face the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James (hamstring): LBJ sat out Sunday’s game against the Spurs with a strained hamstring and is listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Knicks. I would be surprised if he doesn’t play and would be willing to start him unless you hear otherwise before game time.

Dwyane Wade (ankle): Wade has been dealing with an ankle injury for a while but only missed Sunday’s game against the Spurs. He’s listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Knicks and I’d expect him to play barring any setbacks.

Mario Chalmers (ankle): Chalmers has missed two straight with a sprained ankle and is listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Knicks. The injury isn’t supposed to be a serious one and there’s a solid chance Chalmers goes on Tuesday—but I’d say the chances are less than James or Wade playing.

Paul Pierce (ankle): Aside from hurting his ankle in Sunday’s game against the Knicks, Pierce didn’t travel with the team on Monday due to personal reasons. The injury isn’t serious but between that and whatever he’s dealing with, coach Doc Rivers isn’t saying whether Pierce will be good to go Wednesday against Detroit.

Kevin Garnett (ankle): Garnett has missed six straight with a foot injury but could have played Monday against the TWolves had it been a more important game. With that said, there’s a good chance the Celts give Garnett more games off and keep him on the bench the remainder of the regular season with the playoffs sewn up. Look for Jeff Green to get plenty of action down the stretch.

Byron Mullens (ankle): Mullens has missed three straight with an ankle injury but could return as early as Wednesday against Philly. It shouldn’t matter to fantasy owners since he’s back to playing around 15 minutes per game anyway so drop him if you haven’t already.

Marco Belinelli (abdomen): Belinelli has missed four straight with an abdominal strain but could return as early as Tuesday against the Wizards but more likely later in the week. He doesn’t have much value these days but his return could hamper Nate Robinson‘s value so keep an eye on his status.

Joakim Noah (foot): Noah has missed five straight with a foot injury and the Bulls have no reason to rush him back. There’s a good chance he misses all of this week which could bode well for Taj Gibson.

C.J. Miles (ankle): Miles missed Monday’s game against the Hawks with a sprained ankle and is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Nets. Miles has relative value but only when healthy so there’s no reason to start him unless you’re desperate.

Kyrie Irving (shoulder): Irving returned early from his shoulder injury and played well Sunday against the Hornets but sat out Monday’s game against the Hawks because he hasn’t been cleared to play back-to-back stints. He’ll play Wednesday but he’s likely going to sit out the second game of back-to-backs the remaining two weeks.

Ty Lawson (heel): It looks like Lawson will miss most if not all of the Nuggets’ remaining games. It’s a tough hit to owners since he was averaging 16.7 PPG and 6.9 APG but now it’s time to snag up Andre Miller who will start the remainder of Denver’s games in Lawson’s absence.

James Harden (ankle): Harden sat out Monday with a nagging foot injury and while it’s possible he plays Wednesday against the Kings, it makes sense for the Rockets to rest Harden for an extra game or two. If he doesn’t play, James Anderson or Carlos Delfino could see a nice bump.

Chauncey Billups (groin): It’s looking very possible that Chauncey misses the rest of the regular season with a groin injury since the Clippers still don’t have a timetable for his return. Look for Willie Green to get a fantasy bump as he takes over Billups’ minutes.

Steve Nash (hamstring, hip): Nash is listed as doubtful for Tuesday’s game against the Mavs and it’s possible he misses the rest of the week. If he’s out, Steve Blake could see a bit of a fantasy bump.

Tyson Chandler (neck): Chandler is listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Heat and I’d expect him to finally return to the court after missing 10 straight games.

Jameer Nelson (ankle): Nelson has missed two straight with a sprained ankle and is listed as day-to-day. The Magic are in no rush to bring him back which means Beno Udrih could get a couple more games as a fantasy relevant player.

LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle): The official line on Aldridge is “he’s expected to play again this season.” That doesn’t sound very promising for fantasy owners missing the big man. Aldridge is averaging 21 PPG, 8.9 RPG, and 1.3 BPG and will be replaced by Meyers Leonard in the lineup.

Nene (knee): Nene has missed four straight games, as per his usual schedule, but may return for Tuesday’s contest against the Bulls. If he doesn’t play Tuesday, there’s a good chance he plays Wednesday against the Raptors.

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