As if his lingering elbow issue this season wasn’t a big enough pain in the ass, Carmelo Anthony broke his right hand in Monday’s victory over the Indiana Pacers. He’ll see a hand specialist on Tuesday and the course of action will be determined thereafter.
However, the AP recap didn’t make it sound to good.
Whenever an injury like this happens, I’m too anxious to wait for the MRI, etc to find out what the deal. I scour the Internet instantly to figure out how long the injury could potentially keep a player out.
Obviously every injury is different because some can worse than others. But here is what I came across when searching fractures of the third metacarpal bone (the middle finger between your two knuckles):
- An N.C. State player is due to miss 3-6 weeks with a similar injury to a different finger.
- Cleveland Indians slugger Travis Hafner missed the final three weeks of the 2006 season with the same injury, and it was just a hairline fracture.
- Baseball player Howie Hendrick missed more than a month with the same injury in 2007.
- Last season, Anthony’s teammate Anthony Carter missed nearly two months with the same injury, although his was serious enough to need screws.
I’m not sure how relevant the baseball references are, since playing baseball with a broken finger is agonizing while it’s easier to deal with in basketball. The fact that it is his shooting hand doesn’t help, though.
I would venture to guess that Anthony owners are looking at anywhere from 3-to-8 weeks without him, depending on the severity. It’s a pretty huge blow, especially if it’s closer to the latter estimate.
Even though he has been disappointing – proving a 9th or 10th round value in nine-category leagues when he was probably drafted in the fourth round – he’s averaging 21.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, and a career high 1.1 3-pointers per game.
As a result of his lingering elbow problem, his percentages have been sub-par (.431 FG, .774 FT), but he’s still the league’s 15th leading scorer. He had been shooting 50 percent (53-of-105) in five-plus games before suffering the injury.
The point is that Anthony is not an easy guy to replace with someone from the waiver wire. But there are lots of extra shots to go around the Nuggets and the players that will benefit the most may be available in your league:
J.R. Smith is already owned in 51 percent of Yahoo! leagues and just 37.5 percent of ESPN leagues. He makes nearly two 3-pointers per game with Anthony in the lineup. and while his percentages don’t help you (.450 FG, .685 FT), he will score in bunches and add some steals. This injury will help vault him towards the top of the league in 3-pointers made.
In the five games Anthony has missed this season, Smith averaged 16.3 points and made 11 3-pointers. He has so much potential, I’m surprised he’s available in as many leagues as he is.
If Smith is taken, the secondary – but also very good – option is Linus Kleiza.
While Anthony was sidelined for three games in December, Kleiza nailed nine 3-pointers and averaged 15.6 points. Anthony returned and Kleiza has not scored more than 10 points since.
While Smith had value before Anthony’s injury, Kleiza has gone from afterthought to a truly valuable player. He is putting up 15.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 3-pointers per 36 minutes this season.
Plus, it’s just a fun name to say. Seriously. Try it. Linuuuuuus Kleeeeeiza!!!
Some of the minutes vacated by Anthony will also fall to Carter, who will do nothing to help your scoring but could provide a boost in assists and steals with some extra playing time. He’s averaging 7.5 assists and 2.2 steals per 36 minutes this season.
If Anthony is your only big scorer, the strategy should not be to replace the points, but instead the 3-pointers, rebounds and steals you will be missing. Kleiza will help with the 3-pointers and rebounds and Smith with 3-pointers and steals.
In fact, both players will crush Anthony’s projected total of 3-pointers, so perhaps you can somehow use this blow to youtr advantage.
Owning Anthony has been something of a struggle all season and just when he seems to be turning a corner, this happens. All you can do is hope for the best. And get drunk … very, very drunk.