Deron Williams may have scored a franchise-record 57 points en route to a Sunday victory over the Bobcats, but the news out of Charlotte wasn't all good for the Nets. In just his fifth game back from a foot injury, Brook Lopez rolled his ankle badly and left the arena on crutches. There's still no official word from the team on the severity of the injury, but as Fred Kerber of the New York Post writes, it could deal a serious blow to the Nets' hopes of trading for Dwight Howard in the next ten days.
Lopez isn't the only trade candidate who could be on the shelf as the March 15th deadline approaches. Here are a few more players whose injury statuses may affect the deals their respective teams can make in the next week and a half:
- Jermaine O'Neal: The Celtics would need to include salary to make any deal of substance, so O'Neal's $6.23MM expiring contract made him a prime candidate to be included in a trade to ensure salaries match. Unfortunately for Boston, O'Neal recently suffered a wrist injury and may undergo season-ending surgery. If he elects for the surgery, there's a chance O'Neal could be waived by the Celtics.
- Al Horford: Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group reported last week that the Hawks were still interested in Dwight Howard, perhaps in a deal involving Horford. While such a trade would be a long shot to begin with, Horford's torn pectoral makes it even trickier. Already reluctant to deal Howard, the Magic would probably be even more wary about doing so for a player who is just recently out of a sling.
- Anderson Varejao: Varejao will be re-evaluated this week, but it looks like he won't return to the Cavs' lineup until after March 15th. Before the injury, the Cavs said they didn't intend to trade Varejao, though there was some speculation that stance could change by the deadline. With Varejao still out, he'll definitely be remaining in Cleveland.
- Jordan Hill: Among the Rockets' numerous former lottery picks on expiring contracts, Hill is the most attractive asset. While that may be faint praise, Hill has been the most productive of the group of four 2009 draftees that also includes Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn, and Terrence Williams, and his salary ($2.86MM) is very reasonable. However, a sprained MCL has kept Hill out of action for the last couple weeks, and even though he expects to return within the next week, he won't have much time to showcase his health before the deadline.
- J.J. Hickson: The Kings are reportedly quite interested in moving Hickson, but they've stumbled upon a roadblock besides his disappointing production this season — he'll miss his third straight game tonight with a hip pointer.
- Thabo Sefolosha: Having missed 18 games with a foot injury, Sefolosha is shooting jump shots again, but it doesn't appear he's ready for game action yet. Steve Kyler wrote this morning that the Thunder could try to acquire a replacement if the team feels Sefolosha will miss much more time. The 6'7" wing also represented a potential trade asset for the Thunder, but questions about his health will hurt his value.
- Andrea Bargnani: Bargnani seems to be getting closer to returning from a calf injury, and could be back in plenty of time for the trade deadline, but it may not matter either way. As Kyler reported today, the Raptors are getting inquiries on Bargnani, but don't seem interested in dealing him.