Nikola Vucevic PF/C ORL 3 Hrs
Nicola Vucevic is scheduled to take part in Thursday's practice and is hopeful to play Friday against the Knicks.
Vucevic had been on a tear in his last five games (averaging 13.8 points, 11.5 boards, 3.0 dimes, 1.0 steals, and 1.5 steals during that span), so this is certainly good news for his owners. The 23-year-old is averaging over 33 minutes per game this season and should continue to establish himself as one of the better big men in fantasy basketball as long as he can stay healthy.
Jameer Nelson PG ORL 3 Hrs
Jameer Nelson (foot) is scheduled to practice Thursday and is hopeful to play Friday against the Knicks.
The oft-injured Nelson has missed three straight games with a sprained foot, so a return Friday would be a welcome sight for his fantasy owners. While he can't be counted on to stay healthy, Nelson is can still contribute to fantasy rosters as evidenced by his 11.7 points and 6.1 dimes per game this season. If Nelson doesn't play Friday, E'Twaun Moore would likely see a bump in his minutes.
Tobias Harris F ORL 4 Hrs
Tobias Harris (ankle) has rejoined the Magic to restart the rehabbing process on his high ankle sprain.
While there is still no official timetable for Harris' return, early reports indicated that Harris would undergo a 7-10 rehab, so the clock theoretically starts ticking now. The third-year forward is a good stash for owners who have a bench spot as he can be a fantasy difference maker when healthy. Glen Davis and Andrew Nicholson will continue to see a bump in their minutes while Harris remains out.
Kenyon Martin PF NY 4 Hrs
Kenyon Martin will again be in the starting lineup when the Knicks face the Nets on Thursday.
Don't be fooled into thinking that Martin's status as a real-life starter means that he should be a fantasy starter. Martin is still only averaging 20.8 minutes over his last five games, has yet to record a double-digit rebound game all season, and is only averaging 0.6 blocks per game. For a player whose main value comes from rebounds and blocks, those are some tough numbers to swallow.
Jason Terry G BKN 4 Hrs
Jason Terry (knee) will not be available for Thursday's game against the Knicks.
Terry was supposed to be out for "at least a week", but we are now right at the tail end of that timeline with no return in sight for the 36-year-old. Thursday will count as Terry's eighth straight missed game and it goes without saying that he does not belong on any fantasy rosters. Alan Anderson and Tyshawn Taylor will help pick up the slack while Terry is out, but both players are only worth a look in deeper leagues.
Andrei Kirilenko F BKN 4 Hrs
Andrei Kirilenko (back) will miss Thursday's game against the Knicks.
Kirilenko is still without a return timetable, but it speaks volumes about his status that the injury-riddled Nets are being cautious with his balky back. Even though the Nets badly need Kirilenko in their lineup now that Paul Pierce is out for at least two weeks, it seems as if they'd like to avoid any long-term setbacks by playing it safe with the 32-year-old. Until he is able to show that he can suit up (and stay healthy), AK-47 isn't worth a spot on any fantasy rosters.
J. R. Smith SG/SF NY 4 Hrs
J.R. Smith (knee) will play against the Nets Thursday night.
Smith had missed portions of Tuesday and Wednesday's practices to rest his sore knee, so hopefully that rest will pay off for his owners Thursday night. The mercurial ten-year veteran is currently shooting 33.1 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from downtown and belongs on fantasy benches until he can get his shooting groove back.
Rajon Rondo PG BOS 5 Hrs
Rajon Rondo (ACL surgery) will miss at least the next few weeks, according to Celtics GM Danny Ainge.
"I don't think he's close," Ainge said. "I don't think it's gonna happen in the next few weeks. We're not on pins and needles about it. We're being very cautious with Rondo. He's still got a little bit of a limp. He needs to get his strength back." This isn't a huge surprise as Rondo was set to met with Dr. James Andrews in 10-14 days, but it's starting to look like we won't see Rondo return to game action before the calendar turns to 2014. In the meantime, Jordan Crawford's owners can continue to enjoy another month of surprising production from the 25-year-old.
Deron Williams PG BKN 5 Hrs
Deron Williams (ankle) will miss Thursday's game against the Knicks.
Thursday will be the tenth game Williams has missed this season, which puts him into the unenviable category of having missed more games than he's played. Shaun Livingston and Tyshawn Taylor will continue to split point guard minutes, but neither is a great fantasy option in anything in the deepest of leagues. At this point, all Williams owners can do is hope he can return within the next week or so and quell their fears that this is becoming a lost season for the 29-year-old.
Jermaine O'Neal C GS 6 Hrs
Jermaine O'Neal is playing through a a sprained right wrist, but isn't planning to have surgery until after the season.
O'Neal (who has been dealing with groin and knee injuries all season) had previously alluded to a wrist injury, but this is the first in-depth report we've heard about his sprain. According to team sources, the 35-year-old has had the wrist checked out several teams and as recently as Monday, but will not pursue surgery until after the season. O'Neal has been a decent source of rebounds and blocks when healthy, but his health isn't something owners should be betting their mortgage on.