NBA Fantasy: Blazers Marcus Camby Out with Knee Injury

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The knee injury that Marcus Camby sustained in last Monday’s game was not supposed to be serious. Original tests came back negative. But since this is the Blazers and Marcus Camby, some additional testing found that he had a partially torn meniscus in his left knee. Of course he does. Camby will have surgery later in the week and is expected to miss 4-5 weeks.

The two burning fantasy questions coming from this news are 1) what do you do with Camby and 2) is there anyone worth picking up in his absence.

1) Despite only averaging 6 points a game this season, the 36 year old Camby is currently ranked #48 on the GMTR player rater on a per game basis thanks to averaging 11.3 boards and 1.9 blocks a game. So, he’s good enough that you don’t want to flat out drop unless you absolutely have to.

However, a five week return puts Camby’s back on the court at end of February, which is a couple of weeks before most leagues start their playoffs. Five weeks is optimistic for Camby, especially given that he’s in his mid-30’s and the Blazers are likely going to have a tough time staying in playoff contention without him.

So, if your fantasy team has a good shot at making the playoffs without him or you have a big bench to stash him, then I’d hold onto the guy and hope he makes a return in time for H2H playoffs. In a shallow league or in a league where you can’t afford to carry him, then I would certainly look around the league to trade (to a team that can afford to stash him), but more likely than not you may have to drop him.

2) Blazersedge has a great rundown of what Camby’s injury means to the team and what we can expect Nate McMillan to do with the rotation going forward. There are basically 3 guys who can (attempt) to fill the 29 minutes being vacated by Camby: Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, or Sean Marks.

Przybilla would be the natural choice to replace Camby considering he’s started over him in the past. But Przybilla is currently working his way back from his own injury, and has just played 8 games and about 63 total minutes since returning. Chances are he’ll continue to get limited minutes off the bench to avoid re-injuring himself.

In the game that Camby got hurt, Cunningham got the most minutes filling in (27) and it looks like he’s going get the start tonight at center. Cunningham is really a 6-8 forward who is going to have trouble guarding some of the larger centers in the league, but given their current situation the Blazers may have no choice but to go small with Aldridge and Cunningham as their bigs whether they want to or not.

For comparison sake, here is what Cunningham has done per 30 minutes this season and what Przybilla has done per 25 last season, since he’s hardly played this year and there is no way the team is giving him 30 minutes a game right now.

Cunningham per-30 (2010-11): 7.4 PPG, 4.8 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 0.8 BLK
Przybilla per-25 (2009-10): 4.5 PTS, 8.7 REB, 0.3 AST, 0.3 STL, 1.5 BLK

Przybilla is the big winner on pro-rated basis. At least he has a board/block thing going on that can approximate a poor man’s version of Camby (complete with injuries). There is the issue of Przybilla working his way back on the court and playing only limited minutes in the immediate future, so this is one we’ll probably have to watch play out. The line above is probably a best case scenario. Cunningham on the other hand has been fairly invisible stats wise and even his per-30 numbers are underwhelming. Given the choice between the two, I’d choose none, followed by Przybilla, then Cunningham.

More Camby-Related Fantasy Analysis: Yahoo Sports | Razzball | Fantasy Basketball Daily

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