At this point, it’s best to read official injury reports with the same skepticism you’d reserve for a story in The National Enquirer.
Or the New York Post.
I submit as Exhibit A the headlines out of Salt Lake concerning Mo Williams’ thumb injury. Initial reports listed Williams as "day to day," which quickly turned into "out indefinitely." Then came the dreaded "seeking a second opinion," finally leading to "surgery needed, out 6-8 weeks."
That progression is eerily similar to what we got from the Knicks after Raymond Felton hurt his hand.
New York was similarly vague when discussing Amar’e Stoudemire’s season debut. The rumor mill was abuzz that STAT would rejoin the team at the Staples Center on Christmas Day … before Stoudemire himself stepped up to say that wasn’t happening. He finally did return a week later, but he has said that he’s only about 80 percent healthy. Stoudemire may have pushed for an early return to help compensate for the losses of Felton and Rasheed Wallace (foot).
What’s a fantasy owner to do?
Getting an understanding of common basketball injuries and the associated recovery times is a great first step – Jeff Stotts’ weekly column here at RotoWire is required reading. Jeff’s explanations will enable you to look at some of the press releases with a more critical eye. Of course, that assumes that the information in said press release has some basis in reality, and that isn’t always the case.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on the waiver wire – just to see what sort of players might be available should the need arise. That will be a big factor when dealing with injuries; in a shallow league, it makes little sense to hang on to a Williams or Felton through a two-month absence when a Jamaal Tinsley or Jason Kidd is there for the taking. In a deeper league, it might make more sense to try and get by with your bench until those starters are available again.