Fantasy Basketball Injury Round-Up
Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns
Injury: Left ankle sprain
Projected Return Date: April
Ouch! Durant slipped and sprained his ankle during warm-ups against Wednesday’s game against the Thunder in what would have been his first home game as a Phoenix Sun. He’s now been diagnosed with an ankle sprain and be re-evaluated in 3 weeks. That is after the season’s end for most basketball fantasy leagues. Therefore, there is not much else to do but drop Durant for a more useful player. An example of a more useful player? Take a look at Durant’s teammates Josh Okogie, Torrey Craig, and Terrence Ross.
Recommendation: Drop Durant. Add Okogie, Craig, or Ross.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Injury: Left thigh strain
Projected Return Date: Day-to-day
Doncic has been seemingly playing with a thigh injury for a while now. In Wednesday’s game against the Pelicans, the injury was aggravated to the point of Luka not being able to play. Luckily an MRI showed no serious damage and Doncic will look to rejoin the team once discomfort in the thigh has subsided. If he misses more games look for Tim Hardaway Jr. and Christian Wood to carry a bigger offensive load. And Kyrie Irving, of course.
Recommendation: Hardaway Jr. is available in many leagues.
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
Projected Return Date: Week-to-week
According to Woj, Morant will miss at least the next four Grizzlies games. Though there is no guarantee, either, that he’ll return in the fifth game. In the meantime Tyus Jones has been setting the fantasy world on fire – in the 3 games sans-Morant, Jones ranks 12th in 9-cat leagues. The stat line for Jones has been 21 points, 8.7 assists, 2.7 steals with 3 treys and decent-enough percentages. Not bad at all for a guy off the fantasy waivers. As for Morant – if there’s an immediately useful player to get from the waivers (say, a Tyus Jones), there’s no need to hold onto Morant. Ultimately, the decision to drop Morant is made by the fantasy calendar and waiver wire availabilities.
Recommendation: Weigh your options.
Steven Adams, Memphis Grizzlies
Injury: Right PCL Sprain
Projected Return Date: Not during the regular season
Adams’ knee will be re-evaluated in four weeks, which moves him outside the circle of usefulness for fantasy teams. So feel free to drop him. Since he’s already missed over a month’s worth of games, this latest development won’t exactly cause a big reshuffle of the Grizz rotation. Xavier Tillman has been starting for Adams and if a mild injection of rebounds, steals and blocks is what you’re after, go for it.
Recommendation: Drop Adams. Take a look at Tillman.
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
Injury: Right hamstring
Projected Return Date: ???
Williamson will miss at least two more weeks of basketball and let’s be real – the emphasis is on at least here. It’s very unlikely for Williamson to be contributing for anyone’s fantasy team this season again. As he’s been out since January 2nd, this won’t have any impact on the Pelicans rotations. In the 29 games since January 2nd, the best Pelicans 9-cat fantasy players have been Trey Murphy and Herb Jones, barely sneaking into the top 100.
Recommendation: Drop Williamson.
Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks
Injury: Left foot soreness
Projected Return Date: Day-to-day
Brunson attempted a return from his two-game absence with a sore foot but ended up re-aggravating said foot and had to leave the preview of this year’s NBA finals against the Kings at halftime. The severity of the injury is not yet known. This may open up things for Immanuel Quickley again, who had a 38-point outburst in one of the games Brunson missed previously. RJ Barrett is also someone who may up their scoring numbers, though scoring is all he contributes fantasy-wise.
Recommendation: IQ is the high-IQ move.
Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls
Injury: Left knee
Projected Return Date: Next season, maybe
Nothing concerning this season’s fantasy basketball (though, somehow, Lonzo Ball is rostered in 57% of Fantrax leagues), however according to ESPN’s reporting, Lonzo Ball may need a third surgery on his bum knee. This casts further doubt on his ability to ever contribute stats for a fantasy team again. For now, he should be on the do-not-draft list for the 2023-24 fantasy season.
Recommendation: Do not draft.