Zenit at Khimki
Time: 6:00 PM CET
The first game on Friday's EuroLeague schedule features two Russian teams with Zenit heading south to take on Khimki in Moscow. Both teams will be without a key player, as Zenit's Gustavo Ayon and Khimki's Anthony Gill will spend the game on the sidelines. Ayon has been Zenit's best player this season, so his absence could lead to some notable changes in his club's rotation for Round 18. On the Khimki side, there should be fewer question marks relating to Gill's absence, as the team has several players capable of replacing him and will get back their best player, Alexey Shved, who missed last week's game with an illness. Both teams have won just two games a piece since Round 9, but one of them will add one more to the tally when this matchup comes to a close.
Zenit Saint Petersburg
Gustavo Ayon - OUT - Hip
1/7 11:33 PM IST - Ayon suffered a hip injury in a domestic league game Monday and has been ruled out indefinitely, according to Zenit's official Twitter account. This is a key loss for Zenit, as Ayon has been a key cog for his team so far this season. He was averaging 12.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists over 16 games (six starts). A timetable for his return has yet to surface, though it's safe to assume he won't take the court in Round 18 against Khimki.
Anthony Gill - OUT - Nose
1/7 11:56 PM IST - Gill has been ruled out of action indefinitely with a nasal fracture, according to euroleague.net. Gill broke his nose in a domestic league Monday and will miss time as a result. While a timeline for his return has not been announced, other players who suffered a similar injury this season were able to play within a couple weeks with help from a protective mask, so a return before the end of January should not be ruled out.
Petr Gubanov - OUT - Undisclosed
11/30 10:12 PM IST - Gubanov is with the Russian National Team for this weekend's FIBA qualifiers and will not be available for Khimki's Round 10 EuroLeague matchup with Panathinaikos, according to euroleague.net. Gubanov averaged 17 minutes per game in Rounds 4 and 5, but he has not seen EuroLeague action since, so his absence should not affect the rotation Khimki has been using of late.
Timofey Mozgov - OUT - Undisclosed
11/6 10:12 PM IST - Mozgov (undisclosed) remains sidelined, according to Khimki's official website. Khimki is getting healthier as a team, but Mozgov continues to work his way back from his injury. A timeline for his return remains uncertain.
Egor Vialtsev - GTD - Knee
12/27 3:49 AM IST - Vialtsev (undisclosed) did not play in Thursday's loss to ASVEL. Vialtsev has occupied a spot on Khimki's active roster for EuroLeague games for a few weeks, but he still not seen EuroLeague action this season, and has played in just two games of any sort since Nov. 24.
Zenit Saint Petersburg Probable Starters
Khimki Probable Starters
(C) Alexey Shved, BCK - With Gustavo Ayon out for Khimki, Shved is by far the best captain's choice for this matchup. He did not play last week due to an illness, but he has been a fantasy machine whenever he is on the court this season. Heading into this matchup he leads the league in scoring with an average of 20.9 ppg and is seventh in assists at 5.3 per contest.
Will Thomas, ZEN - Thomas' scoring totals have been inconsistent all season, but he scored in double figures in the last three games he appeared in, and he could be counted on for more scoring in this game with Ayon out of action.
Austin Hollins, ZEN - Hollins went quiet for a bit after scoring 51 points over Rounds 7-8, but he scored 14 points in each of the last two games. Like Thomas, he could be needed for more with Ayon sidelined.
Janis Timma, BCK - Over Khimki's last 12 games, Timma did not play in seven and scored in single digits in three others. However, he averaged 23 points over the other two games, showing the kind of upside he is capable when he gets his jump shot going. Khimki will be without Anthony Gill in this one, so Timma should see plenty of minutes and scoring opportunities.
Grand League Combination
Shved, Thomas, Hollins, Evans
Small League Combination
Shved, Thomas, Hollins, Timma