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Aron Baynes DET C
Pistons' Aron Baynes: Available Thursday vs. Hornets1h ago
Aron Baynes (illness) will be available to play during Thursday's tilt against the Hornets, Aaron McMann of the MLive Media Group reports.
Baynes was previously listed as questionable after missing the team's morning shootaround, but is apparently feeling good enough to play. He should continue to get around 15-to-20 minutes per game behind starting center Andre Drummond.
Noah Vonleh POR PF
Trail Blazers' Noah Vonleh: Will start Thursday vs. Magic1h ago
Noah Vonleh will draw the start at power forward for Thursday's tilt against the Magic, Mike Richman of the Oregonian reports.
Coach Terry Stotts has opted to roll with Vonleh as his starting power forward next to Jusuf Nurkic now that the team has had more time to practice together after trading away their previous starting center, Mason Plumlee. Over his past 14 contests, Vonleh has averaged 4.2 points and 6.3 rebounds across 18.1 minutes per game, and will likely continue to have a similar role moving forward.
Meyers Leonard POR PF
Trail Blazers' Meyers Leonard: Will come off the bench Thursday1h ago
Meyers Leonard will return to the bench for Thursday's matchup with the Magic, Casey Holdahl of TrailBlazers.com reports.
Leonard drew two consecutive starts prior to the All-Star break, but now that Jusuf Nurkic has had the chance to get acclimated to his new team, the Blazers are electing to start him at center. That pushes Leonard to the bench and likely means a decreased role moving forward. Leonard's role has been highly volatile throughout the season, which makes him at best a risky add in the majority of fantasy formats.
Jusuf Nurkic POR C
Trail Blazers' Jusuf Nurkic: Will start at center Thursday1h ago
Jusuf Nurkic will start at center for Thursday's game against the Magic, Casey Holdahl of TrailBlazers.com reports.
Nurkic was traded to Portland just prior to the All-Star break and had a strong debut against the Jazz, posting 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and a steal in just 21 minutes. With that strong performance and another week to get acclimated with the team, the Raptors are now comfortable entering him into the starting lineup. Look for Nurkic to act as the team's starting center moving forward and should push for a much bigger role now that he's with the top unit. Meyers Leonard will likely move back to the bench in the corresponding move, which should mean a decreased role for him as well.
Lou Williams LAL SG
Rockets' Lou Williams: Available Thursday vs. Pelicans2h ago
Lou Williams will be available for Thursday's matchup with the Pelicans, Craig Ackerman of Houston Rockets .com reports.
It was initially reported that Williams would sit out Thursday's game but he's now been made available. That being said, he likely won't see more than a few minutes in his first game with Houston.
Terrence Jones NO PF
Terrence Jones: Waived by Pelicans2h ago
Terrence Jones was waived by the Pelicans on Thursday.
The Pelicans were expected to waive Jones after he was made expendable by the acquiring of DeMarcus Cousins. Once Jones clears waivers he'll be free to sign with any team. He's averaged 11.5 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 47.2 percent from the field in 51 games played this season.
Jonathan Drouin TB LW
Lightning's Jonathan Drouin: Out Thursday1h ago
Jonathan Drouin (illness) isn't on the ice for pregame warmups, indicating he won't play Thursday against the Flames.
With Drouin unavailable Thursday, the recently recalled Cory Conacher will get an opportunity to slot into the lineup against the Flames. Tampa Bay's next game isn't until Monday against the Senators, which could give Drouin enough time to overcome the illness that's keeping him out of Thursday evening's contest.
Andrei Vasilevskiy TB G
Lightning's Andrei Vasilevskiy: Draws starting nod Thursday1h ago
Andrei Vasilevskiy led his team onto the ice for warmups and will be between the posts for Thursday's matchup with the Flames.
There was a great debate amongst Tampa Bay beat writers about who would play Thursday, but it will be Vasilevskiy who draws the start after two games of rest. The 22-year-old goalie will be seeking his first win since Jan. 24 when he limited the Blackhawks to two goals on 36 shots and will have his work cut out for him against a Calgary team that is averaging 3.00 goals per game in February.
Ales Hemsky DAL RW
Stars' Ales Hemsky: Nearing return to action1h ago
Ales Hemsky is ahead of schedule in his recovery from hip surgery and is nearing a return to Dallas' lineup.
Hemsky was originally given a 5-to-6 month recovery timetable after undergoing hip surgery in late October, but it appears he could be ready to return to action just four months after going under the knife. A more definite timetable for the veteran forward's return to the Dallas Stars ' lineup should be established once he's cleared to start practicing with his teammates.
Johnny Oduya DAL D
Stars' Johnny Oduya: Out Friday but close to return2h ago
Johnny Oduya (lower body) will remain sidelined for Friday's matchup with the Coyotes but could return Sunday against the Bruins, per coach Lindy Ruff.
It's been a long, injury-plagued season for Oduya who has now missed 25 games to this injury that has nagged him throughout the campaign. While his seven points shouldn't be too enticing to most fantasy owners, his even plus-minus rating could be appealing to owners who play with that stat, as well as the Dallas Stars who could seriously use some defensive help right now.
Pavel Zacha NJ C
Devils' Pavel Zacha: Out with concussion2h ago
Pavel Zacha has been diagnosed with a concussion and will not play Saturday's game against the Rangers, Andrew Gross of The Record reports.
Gross notes that Zacha did not work out Thursday and the plan is for him to work out Friday. Concussions are notoriously tricky injuries to lock down in terms of timetables for return, so Zacha will need to log one full-contact practice at the very least, as well as pass the NHL's concussion protocol before he is given clearance to return to game action.
Jeremy Smith COL G
Avalanche's Jeremy Smith: Gearing up for second career start2h ago
Jeremy Smith will work between the pipes as Thursday's road starter versus the Predators, Mike Chambers of The Denver Post reports.
You're likely to see your fair share of fantasy owners picking on Smith in daily contests considering that he plays for the league's worst team and has just one NHL start under his belt, plus the Predators should have a chip on their shoulder after dropping a 6-5 overtime decision to the visiting Flames just two days ago. In this next contest, Smith will try to stave off a team that ranks fourth in the NHL by averaging 31.7 shots per game and is 10th in scoring.
Chris Hatcher LAD RP
Dodgers' Chris Hatcher: Will compete for bullpen job1h ago
Chris Hatcher (oblique) is in camp and will compete for a bullpen job this spring, Cary Osbourne of Dodger Insider reports.
Hatcher was shut down last year after suffering a grade 3 oblique strain. The results were not pretty before the injury as he was hit to the tune of a 5.53 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 40.2 innings. The difference between last year's totals and the sub-four ERAs he posted in 2014 and 2015 was his inability to keep the ball in the yard (1.8 HR/9 in 2016). Now healthy, Hatcher will compete for a middle relief role in Los Angeles Dodgers ' bullpen this season.
Pablo Sandoval BOS 3B
Red Sox's Pablo Sandoval: Positive signs in Thursday's exhibition1h ago
Pablo Sandoval cleanly fielded all three of his chances at third base and stretched a line-drive hit into a double during Thursday's exhibition game against Northeastern University.
Sandoval is motivated to prove himself after a couple of disastrous seasons in Boston, so Thursday's display was very encouraging. He showed up to camp in better condition and Thursday's hustle-double was an extension of the offseason commitment he put into his body. While manager John Farrell is not going to hand him the starting job, Sandoval merely has to beat out utility players Brock Holt and Josh Rutledge. It would take a monumentally horrible spring for him to get beat out for the starting job at third base.
Luis Valbuena LAA 3B
Angels' Luis Valbuena: No limitations due to hamstring2h ago
Luis Valbuena is not limited by the hamstring surgery he underwent last August and is ready to compete for the Los Angeles Angels ' first base job, the Orange County Register reports.
Valbuena followed up his breakout campaign in 2015 with an even better start to the 2016 season, slashing a career-best .260/.357/.459 with 16 homers in 90 games prior to going down with a season-ending hamstring injury. Now that he is healthy, the 31-year-old is ready to compete with C.J. Cron for the lion's share of at-bats at first base. Despite their opposite handedness, both batters' splits indicate that they are better against righties, so a strict platoon isn't a guarantee. This will be a battle to monitor this spring because the winner will be a high power upside option in fantasy.
Blake Swihart BOS LF
Red Sox's Blake Swihart: No throwing problems Thursday2h ago
Blake Swihart caught three innings during Thursday's exhibition game against Northeastern University and reported no issues with throws back to the pitcher, Christopher Smith of MassLive.com reports. This was Swihart's first game action in over eight months.
A video surfaced last week, showing Swihart overthrowing some pitchers, throwing wide, and double-clutching at times. Swihart feels the issue was overblown and some of it had to do with getting back in a groove after being away catching for so long. Other than his throws back to the pitcher, he said his receiving was "really good," noting he made a few blocks on wayward pitches while manager John Farrell was pleased with Swihart's framing. No matter how much skill he shows behind the plate, Swihart is still expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Jeff Locke MIA RP
Marlins' Jeff Locke: Throws lightly Thursday3h ago
Jeff Locke (biceps) threw 15-20 light tosses from 60 feet on Thursday, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports.
It was the first time the southpaw threw in three days, as he's been resting and dealing with biceps tendinitis. Although the club believes the ailment isn't too serious, Locke seems content taking things slow. "It's a lot better," Locke said, "but we're not going to say, 'Live BP tomorrow.' We're going to take the next step, whatever that is." When he returns, he'll look to compete for a rotation spot to open the season.
Zack Cozart CIN SS
Reds' Zack Cozart: Spring training games delayed3h ago
Zack Cozart (knee) won't be in the lineup Friday when the Cincinnati Reds begin spring training games. Instead, he'll likely start Monday or Tuesday next week. This isn't because there are problems with his knee, however. "He's fine. He could play tomorrow," manager Bryan Price said on Thursday. "They want to do some baserunning stuff with him to make sure his legs are conditioned coming off the DL at the end of the year. There's no reason he couldn't play. But why rush it with the length of spring training?"
Cozart confirmed that his knee is fine and that he's just working on getting his timing back. "There are no issues with me, we're just going to take it slow these first couple of games," Cozart said. "It was weird yesterday, we were doing that 27 outs [drill] and hitting and running out of the box, and having some game action on the field. It's just a whole different thing on your body. I'm ready for it. I told Bryan, physically, I feel great. I'm ready. We play a lot of games. I don't need to play 30 games or whatever we've got. I'll get my timing down."
Nick Folk NYJ K
Nick Folk: Released by Jets4h ago
Nick Folk was released by the Jets on Thursday.
Folk was the Jets' kicker for the past seven seasons. For his career he's converted 81.3 percent of his field goals, including 27 of 31 in 2016. It appears the Jets cut ties with Folk to free up some salary cap room, but it remains unclear who'll be their kicker in 2017.
Alterraun Verner TB DB
Buccaneers' Alterraun Verner: Will be released Thursday4h ago
Alterraun Verner will be released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Verner would have been owed $6.5 million in 2017. He saw a reduced workload in 2016 compared to his first two seasons in Tampa Bay, recording only 16 tackles compared to 76 and 56 in 2014 and 2015, respectively. A big reason for this regression was the emergence of rookie Vernon Hargreaves, who took over as the starting corner opposite Brent Grimes last season and racked up 76 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble. Verner still has value as a defender, and should find himself on an NFL roster come September.
Breno Giacomini: Released by Jets4h ago
Giacomini (back) was released by the Jets on Thursday, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports.
Giacomini spent the past three seasons with the Jets, serving as their starting right tackle when healthy. He underwent back surgery in January to repair a herniated disc that forced him to end the 2016 campaign on injured reserve. He's now a free agent and can sign with any team.
Lions' Pierce Burton: Signs with Lions4h ago
Pierce Burton signed a contract with the Detroit Lions on Thursday.
Burton has bounced around multiple practice squads over his first two seasons in the NFL and will hope to make an active roster for the first time with the Lions in 2017.
Russell Okung DEN T
Broncos' Russell Okung: Will not have option picked up6h ago
Russell Okung will not have his 2017 option picked up by the Denver Broncos , Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports.
Okung had a $1 million option due Mar. 9 and another $8 million due in 2017 via a roster bonus, and Denver is reportedly not taking the tackle up on it. Had the bonus been exercised, the tackle would have been owed another $40 million from 2018 to 2020. Although there is certainly a chance he enters free agency, it is not a lock, as the Broncos could ask Okung to restructure his contract. If he were to enter the free agent pool, however, he would add another tackle to a class that already boasts the likes of Andrew Whitworth, Kelvin Beachum and Ryan Clady among others.
Ryan Tannehill MIA QB
Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill: In line to approach upcoming season healthy6h ago
After passing what NFL.com describes as "a battery of tests" on his left ACL and Grade 2 MCL sprain, Ryan Tannehill is slated to be available for the Miami Dolphins ' upcoming offseason program.
Meanwhile, the Miami Herald confirms that Tannehill will not require reconstructive surgery to address the knee issue that cost the starting QB the Dolphins' last three regular-season games in 2016, as well as the team's postseason loss to the Steelers. While Tannehill is expected to utilize a knee brace throughout the 2017 season, the report adds that barring any setbacks, the signal-caller is in line to handle a full workload by the start of training camp this summer. Tannehill may, however, be limited to some degree during the squad's offseason practices leading up to that.