Justin Verlander underwent successful core muscle repair surgery this morning. Verlander will "undergo physical rehabilitation for the next six weeks and will be reevaluated at the end of that time.
An out of nowhere situation for Verlander who wasn't known to be suffering any ailments that required surgery. The Tigers' Twitter feed is reporting that Verlander will have physical therapy for the next six weeks, but there is a reasonable expectation that he will be ready to rock by the time the season starts. Of course, six weeks out puts him well behind others so it might be a challenge for him to build up enough arm strength to be able to go early in the year. Coming off a relatively down season, this injury all but assures that Verlander should be dropped in your rankings - at least until we get more clarity on where his body is at.ANALYST: Ray Flowers
Verlander suffered the injury at the end of December while participating in an offseason conditioning program. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski released a statement saying, We fully anticipate Justin to participate in spring training and be in a position to compete at the beginning of the 2014 season. This is just another red flag for an ace who showed signs this past season that his large workload, a MLB high of 932 innings pitched between 2010-2013, not to mention his willingness to rear back and throw 100 mph late in games, may have finally begun to catch up to him.ANALYST: Michael Pichan
Nik Stauskas scored 16 points (6-10 FGA) with three assists, two rebounds and one steal over 31 minutes in Wednesday’s loss against the Kings.
“Sauce Castillo” as all the cool kids are calling him these days had a very nice game on Wednesday. He’s been back and forth between bench and starting lineup all season long, something that could be messing with the youngsters head. Stauskas has been known for his shooting ability since his days at the University of Michigan and that ability was on display Wednesday as he knocked down 4-of-5 from three-point territory. Stauskas is a better scoring option than both T.J. McConnell and Kendall Marshall, so the competition to take his minutes is very scarce. However, it doesn’t matter how many minutes Stauskas gets each night, he’s not worthy of a roster spot in any format. The occasional DFS play is somewhat acceptable, though. Analysis: James Grande
Ish Smith scored five points (2-6 FGA, 1-2 FTA) with 10 assists and three rebounds over 31 minutes in Wednesday’s loss against the Kings.
Since arriving in Philadelphia, Smith has shown something to the rest of the league. He’s no slouch, and he continuously proves that on a nightly basis. Smith is putting up career numbers with the 76ers. He’s averaging career bests in minutes, points, assists, rebounds, and steals. Even if Smith is not the teams point-guard of the future, he’s making a quite a claim for himself. Smith, specifically, has become quite the commodity in DFS. He’s still not as expensive as other guards who are putting up virtually the same numbers he is. Analysis: James Grande
Jahlil Okafor scored 26 points (11-18 FGA, 4-5 FTA) with 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks over 39 minutes in Wednesday’s loss against the Kings.
We’re beginning to see real encouraging signs with the 76ers and Jahlil Okafor has played a large part in that. The 76ers have only won eight games, sure, but they’re starting to play some good basketball, thanks to Okafor’s contributions. He’s now recorded at least 14 points and nine rebounds in three straight games and two of the aforementioned outings have gone for double-doubles. Okafor is just a rookie and has gone through his fair share of ups and downs. But now half of a season down, we’re beginning to see him mature before our eyes. Noel wasn’t on the floor on Wednesday and you saw how effective he could be. If Noel misses any more time on the flipside of the all-star break, Okafor could and should be considered a DFS stud. Analysis: James Grande
Darren Collison came off of the bench and scored 25 points (9-12 FGA, 5-6 FTA) with three assists and three rebounds over 32 minutes in Wednesday’s win against the 76ers.
If these last couple of weeks don’t open head coach George Karl’s eyes that Collison should be on the floor more, than who knows what will. Collison was electric from the moment he stepped on the court Wednesday, helping the Kings stage a 17-point comeback. He scored 25, tying his season-high, on a scorching 75-percent from the field. Collison’s last five games have been more of the same. He’s averaged 19.2 points on 66-percent field-goal, 54-percent from three and 92-percent from the free-throw line. Sure it’s hard to play Collison when you already have one of the better point-guards in the association, but Collison has earned it. Monitor his playing time coming out of the all-star break. We could begin to see the Kings implement a lot of two point-guard lineups. Analysis: James Grande
Rajon Rondo scored 14 points (7-13 FGA) with 15 assists, eight rebounds and three steals over 36 minutes in Wednesday’s win against the 76ers.
Rondo has done a great job revitalizing his career in Sacramento and is making sure he gets himself a multi-year contract during the offseason. Rondo has seemingly taken the one-year deal he got from the Kings as a challenge, and has responded in a big way. He recorded his 27th double-double of the season on Wednesday and has now recorded at least 15 assists in four straight outings. As amazing as Rondo has been throughout his career, he’s actually averaging a career-high 11.9 assists per game. With a beast inside like DeMarcus Cousins, Rondo’s job gets a bit easier. He’ll continue to feed Cousins and continue to rack up the assists. Rondo will remain an elite play at point-guard for the remainder of the season. Analysis: James Grande