Probably the second most dreaded fate for a Fantasy sports GM is to see one of their key players get injured. Often it means that you've blown a coveted high draft pick on a guy that will now be sitting in street clothes, as you battle with your buddies for fantasy supremacy.

Now, I did say second most, didn't I? The only thing that stings more is to see a player you traded absolutely explode under the mentorship of a new owner, whilst the guy you received turns into Eddy Curry.

This season has been particularly gruesome when it comes to injuries to big name players. We've seen stars Manu Ginobili (hand), Luol Deng (wrist), Jason Kidd (calf), Dirk Nowitzki (knee), Zach Randolph (knee), Brook Lopez (foot) and Andrew Bogut (ankle) to name just a few, all miss time so far this season. There is no doubt that the condensed, post-lockout schedule is having an impact on players' bodies. 

So, what do you do when one of your soldiers gets injured? You have to weigh up all of the pros and cons and make a judgement call -- that's all part of being the big boss that you are.

As most NBA Fantasy leagues these days have removed the injured/inactive list from the realms of possibility, an injured player means a piece of dead weight being carried by your roster, like driftwood down the river that is the NBA season. There are a number of factors you need to consider when deciding whether or not to drop a player from your roster.

Roster size

The smaller the rosters are in your league, the less likelihood that you can afford to carry a man down. If you happen to be in a league with roster sizes of 10 or less, I wouldn't even consider carrying a seriously injured player. In rostered-leagues, you've got more scope to play with and thus would include this as one of the factors to consider.

League size

In other words, who is sitting on the free agent list and waiver wire? The size of your league, ie the number of teams, will determine how easy it is to pick up quality players as and when you want to. You need to consider this in the equation.

How many other injuries are you carrying?

Once your roster starts to look more like a hospital ward than a basketball team, you really can't call yourself a Fantasy NBA GM any more, can you? You're the CEO of one of the most expensive hospitals in the world. You really don't want to be carrying more than one long-term injury at a time. You simply can't afford to have that many missing games, as your opponents will punish you for it.

Are you likely to make the playoffs whilst carrying this guy?

It's a tough call, but you need to think about whether your team can realistically make its way into the playoffs whilst carrying this injured star on the bottom of the bench. You don't need to come first in the regular season, but you do need to get into those playoffs. If the answer is a considered "yes", then perhaps you are best hanging onto that player. He will be your secret weapon when you hit the playoffs, rather than punishing you when someone else picks him up.

Get your calculator out

This is the real crux of the situation. The hard cold numbers. It's easy to let emotion get involved in your decision making as a Fantasy GM, but the reality is, you can't afford to. Fantasy sports are all about numbers and nothing else, at the end of the day. So these are the numbers that you need to consider:

  • How many games is your player likely to miss (don't be overly optimistic either!)?
  • What are the stats that your injured player averages?
  • How long is left in the season?
  • What type of stats do the replacement players average who are available on the free agent list? 

Now, what you need to do is look at the stats your guy averages and pro-rata them based on how many games he will play the rest of the way. So if you have 48 games left in the season and your guy will miss 24 of them, then he becomes half the player that he was, right? In other words 24/48 = 1/2. His stats of 20.0ppg, 10.0rpg, 2.5bpg become 10.0ppg, 5.0rpg and 1.25bpg. 

Are those reduced stats better than the type of guy you can pick up on the free agent list? That makes your decision, right there.

On the other hand, if your guy is only going to miss 12 games out of the remaining 48, then he loses 1/4 of his value. That makes his 20.0ppg, 10.0rpg, 2.5bpg become 15.0ppg, 7.5rpg and 1.88bpg. Those numbers may be quite hard to find on the waiver wire.

We hope that this article helps you to make a decision on your injured player(s) and that it carries you to Fantasy victory this season!

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