Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh go down
Two top power forwards toppled this weekend, as both Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer went down with sprained ankles in Saturday night's Bulls-Heat matchup. Boozer reportedly left the arena in a walking boot and will mill Monday's game against the Grizzlies. It sounds like he could miss a week or so, which upgrades both Kurt Thomas and Taj Gibson in the short term. Thomas is already averaging 9.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in his past five, and snared 18 boards in Friday night's contest against the Pacers, so he definitely makes a good play this week with Boozer set to be sidelined. Expect more information about the extent of the injury early this week, although in weekly transaction leagues I'd say it's safe to bench Boozer this week. Bosh's situation appears less severe, as he called the damage "very mild," and the Heat play just three games in the next 10 days, with matchups Tuesday and Saturday this week. He'll likely miss Tuesday's contest and Saturday is iffy, so with the light schedule Bosh is also a safe bench in weekly transaction leagues. I wouldn't be too worried about his long-term prognosis, though.
Aaron Brooks is rounding back into form, and after dropping 24 points with 10 assists and 4 3-pointers Saturday he's averaging 18.5 points, 5.0 assists and 2.2 3s per game in his past four contests. Brooks being at full strength cuts into the value of both Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin, and even though Brooks is a stud and a must-start, the emergence of Lowry as a player who deserves significant minutes hampers his overall value as well for this season. He'll likely fail to live up to where he was drafted in most leagues even without the injuries, since Lowry's legitimacy diminishes Brooks' role. Do make sure to get Brooks back in your lineup, though. Leandro Barbosa is out 1-2 weeks with bum hammy, meaning Jose Calderon and DeMar DeRozan should be set to play tons of minutes as the Raptors' starting backcourt. Calderon has been on fire recently, with averages of 13.4 points, 11.0 assists and 1.0 3s in his past five contests, which was topped by a 21-point, 15-assist performance Saturday night. Tyreke Evans returned after missing three games with a sprained ankle on Friday night, but put up a clunker, scoring nine points on 4-for-15 shooting from the floor. He bounced back Saturday with 25 points, 5 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 steals and 2 3s, and even though his numbers have been disappointing this season, January has been his best month yet, with averages of 18.0 points, 7.3 assists and 2.8 steals per game in six contests. He might do damage to your field goal percentage, but he's been too productive recently to not start if he's on your team, so get him back in your lineup now that he's back from injury. Ryan Anderson put up 15 points, 11 rebounds, 3 3s, 2 steals and a block Saturday in 29 minutes off the bench. He's averaging 14.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.0 3s and 1.2 blocks per game in his past five contests in 24.0 minutes per game. Those are numbers worth starting in any format, especially if you're in need of 3s, which Anderson (2.3 per game) provides from the power forward spot better than any player other than Al Harrington during the past month. Alonzo Gee had a surprising night Saturday, with 12 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 steals, a block and a 3-pointer. In deep formats, he's looking like an option for the desperate Cavs if you're desperate for steals. Kwame Brown has been starting at center for the Bobcats, and he snared 14 rebounds Saturday night. That's his second 14-rebound performance this month, and since he's nabbed the starting gig he's averaging 7.8 boards per game in eight contests. He's another guy who's an option in deep leagues only, if you're in need of that one category; the boards should be consistently in the 8.0-per-game range. After his 23-point, 20-rebound performance Saturday, Zach Randolph is averaging an insane 25.5 points and 14.9 rebounds per game this month. His 13.1 rebounds per game are a career high, and Randolph is on pace to have the best season of his career.
Danilo Gallinari should return Monday if there aren't any setbacks in practice, and the same is the case for Kevin Garnett. Nick Young has been scorching this month, and look for his success to continue Monday against the Jazz at home, where he's averaging 3.1 more points per game than he does on the road. Dirk Nowitzki returned on Saturday, but played just 15 minutes because he was ejected. He appeared healthy and should be fine against the Pistons Monday night. Michael Beasley has missed the past two contests with a sprained ankle, and his status is uncertain for Monday's contest. I'd check in before the game on his status before making a start/sit decision.
Josh Whitling is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.