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Fantasy Basketball Injury Report: Week 17

Welcome back from the NBA All-Star break. I hope you had a good time. Probably not that good if you actually watched the All-Star Game. Anyway, as we’re gearing up for the last stretch of the NBA regular season as well as the end of the fantasy basketball season, let’s take a round-up of the big injuries.

Week 17 Fantasy Basketball Injury Report

Tyrese Haliburton, PG – Indiana Pacers

Injury: Left hamstring strain injury management

Projected Return Date: Now

Haliburton seems to be now completely off his minutes’ limit. He’s played over 30 minutes in the last four games. Haliburton averages 20 points, 12 assists, 1 steal, and 4 threes in 33 minutes over the last four, which ranks him only in the top 25 in 9-cat leagues. The percentages a down a tad but other than that, he’s in line with his season averages. Andrew Nembhard and T.J. McConnell have been hanging on as marginal fantasy players with serviceable field goal percentage, assists, and steal numbers. Going forward, Haliburton is clearly trending up and the other two will likely be too inconsistent to be rosterable in standard fantasy leagues.

Recommendation: Move on from Nembhard and McConnell.

Khris Middleton, SF – Milwaukee Bucks

Injury: Left ankle sprain

Projected Return Date: Day-to-day

The Bucks are 3-7 with their new head coach Doc Rivers. Perhaps non-coincidentally, Khris Middleton has been out with an injury in seven of those. To me, he’s always been the rug that ties the room together for that Bucks team. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always tie to fantasy success – this year Middleton’s barely in the top 100 in 9-cat fantasy. Malik Beasley is the best pick-up while Middleton is gone (and perhaps even with Middleton back). Beasley averages nearly 4 three-pointers per game, which is nice but nothing to get overly excited about since it is just one category out of 8 or 9.

Recommendation: None.

Onyeka Okongwu, C – Atlanta Hawks

Injury: Left big toe sprain

Projected Return Date: Week-to-week

Okongwu will be out “for the foreseeable future” according to coach Quin Snyder. Months of holding on to him with very mediocre play had finally started to pay off and now the injury is a huge spanner in the works. Interestingly enough, Clint Capela is ready to return from his injury. We don’t quite know how long into the future Quin Snyder can see but if the plan is to go back into the center timeshare with Capela and Okungwu, I wouldn’t totally hate cutting bait now. Bruno Fernando is the third center on the roster but likely won’t be worth a look unless both  Capela and Okungwu are out.

Recommendation: May be time to move on.

De’Anthony Melton, PG/SG – Philadelphia 76ers

Injury: Back lumbar spine stress response

Projected Return Date: Friday

Melton will return on Friday against the Cavs according to coach Nick Nurse. Melton has been basically out with the lower back injury since the new year. With Kelly Oubre Jr., Buddy Hield, and Kyle Lowry competing with Melton for the SG minutes, it’d be hard to imagine Melton can return rosterable statlines. All four will be diminished from a fantasy perspective. It’s very likely that there are more useful players than Melton on the waivers in standard leagues. If not, it doesn’t hurt to take a few games before the drop. But the upside with the crowded backcourt and the quirky injury is very limited.

Recommendation: Move on.

LaMelo Ball, PG/SG – Charlotte Hornets

Injury: Right ankle tendinopathy

Projected Return Date: No date set

LaMelo is participating in team practices but is still without a timeline for a return. It wouldn’t be a surprise at all if he sat out the rest of the season. They wouldn’t sit a healthy star player for no reason but Ball clearly has chronic ankle issues and the Hornets aren’t exactly in contention for anything but lottery balls. Ball is too good to drop unless in an emergency but, hey, you have my permission to take a productive player in his stead.

Recommendation: Move on.

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