Knicks, Nets playing short-handed

The Knicks and Nets face off at the Prudential Center in Newark on Friday night. But some of those teams' biggest stars will be harder to find than an egyptian cobra in the Bronx Zoo's reptile house. Waiver wire bargains? You can find them a lot more easily.

Deron Williams is having surgery today to clear up some scar tissue and bone fragments in his right wrist. He's done for the season. Kris Humphries (ankle) won't be playing either, and Avery Johnson is on record saying Humphries would be shut down for the year if he wasn't available for this game. That leaves New Jersey with a starting five likely to feature Jordan Farmer and Dan Gadzuric.

For the Knicks, Amar'e Stoudemire - who turned an ankle in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's win over the Sixers - is out, and could miss Sunday's game against the Pacers as well. Chauncey Billups, who left the Philly game with a thigh bruise courtesy of Elton Brand's kneecap, is expected to start.

With Stoudemire out, Carmelo Anthony has the potential to put up some truly ridiculous numbers. 'Melo has been playing like something out of NBA Jam for the last week anyway - but c'mon. The Nets gave up 116 points to the offense-challenged Detroit Pistons in their last outing. The only thing that'll stop Anthony from scoring is if the Knicks rack up too big a lead and Mike D'Antoni pulls his regulars... and let's face it, the Knicks aren't exactly great at holding big leads.

If you're looking for waiver options to slot in for the season's final week, Shawne Williams (7% owned in Yahoo! Leagues) could be worth a claim. Williams is going to start in Stoudemire's place, and should be a difficult cover for Gadzuric. Don't be surprised if Avery Johnson is forced to use Travis Outlaw (16% owned) pretty extensively as a counter to New York's small-but-mobile frontcourt.

Toney Douglas is owned in just 42% of Yahoo! Leagues, and that number seems comically low. Douglas can be streaky, but he's rapidly improving as a floor leader and could put up very impressive numbers if asked to fill in for Billups for any length of time. Anthony Morrow is 62% owned and coming off a knee injury, but he's expected to play tonight and posted his season scoring high - 30 points - against the Knicks on March 30.

Shelden Williams (2% owned) is the nominal starter at center for New York, but that doesn't mean a whole lot. In the Philly game, Williams started but was the only Knick to log less than ten minutes. Something similar could happen against New Jersey - Williams will probably have a lot of trouble defending Brook Lopez, who absolutely killed the Knicks with his mid-range shooting the last time these teams played. Ronny Turiaf (9%) is probably a better center play.


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