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Fantasy Basketball Injury Round-Up Week 5

Welcome to another round-up of the most impactful fantasy basketball injury news from the previous week. As usual, the news will be paired with actionable fantasy advice that will hopefully help get you one over your league mates. This week seems to have avoided severe injuries to top players with many on the injury report looking to return to basketball. Is it possible that the future is… bright?

Fantasy Basketball Injury Round-Up

Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic

Projected Return Date: November 27

The #1 overall draft pick, Banchero, has missed the previous four games and is expected to miss at least the next four as well. While he’s been gone, most of his minutes have gone to Chume Okeke, who’s only been able to contribute a so-so fantasy stat line. Most of the offensive touches have been divided between Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs, and Bol Bol. Bol, in particular, has been able to become a must-own fantasy player. Banchero’s eventual return is bound to put the breaks on Bol somewhat.

Recommendation: Is it possible to sell high on Bol Bol?

Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers

Projected Return Date: Day-to-day

Kawhi Leonard returned from a 12-game injury management break with a dud of a game. In 25 minutes, Leonard went 2-8 from the field and 2-4 from the line for 6 points, dished out 4 assists and grabbed 5 rebounds. For a come-back game, this was, roughly, what was expected. Going forward, it is not known what form Leonard’s injury management will take. If the past is any indication, it is unlikely that Leonard’s interests align with the fantasy players’ interests. Unfortunately for us, Leonard and the Clippers are focused on the NBA playoffs, not our fantasy teams.

Recommendation: If you have Leonard rostered, look to trade for a player who can contribute in every game.

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets

Projected Return Date: November 20

While not a traditional injury, regardless, Irving is expected to return from his self-inflicted suspension on Sunday against the Grizzlies. While long-term Kyrie can’t be relied on, his play, while on the court, is elite. On a per-game basis, Irving contributed a top-12 fantasy line in 8 and 9-cat leagues before the suspension. His return to the lineup will put a significant dampener on the Edmond Sumners and Cam Thomases of the team. While some might have value in deeper leagues, it’s not obvious yet who and to what extent. There is also a decent chance of Irving going down with another suspension or injury.

Recommendation: Time to move on from the Nets’ Irving replacements. Cautiously.

LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets

Projected Return Date: December

LaMelo Ball reinjured his left ankle by stepping on a court-side fan’s foot in only his third game back this season. No return date has been announced while Hornets coach Steve Clifford expressed hope that it wouldn’t take as long as the previous injury. As a reminder, the previous ankle injury took about a month. This isn’t great news but as a consolation – fantasy leagues aren’t often decided in November. Long term, Ball is still expected to be great. On the flip side, this is good news for the Dennis Smith Jr. and Terry Rozier owners, who can get an extra run out of those two.

Recommendation: Get Dennis Smith Jr. if he was dropped.

Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings

Projected Return Date: Day-to-day

Murray left Tuesday’s game with a sore back and didn’t play on Thursday. Backs are no joke – they seem to hold the whole body up – but this one doesn’t look to be a long-term injury. Before the injury, Murray’s fantasy game wasn’t too inspired – I have him barely in the top 120 in both 8 and 9-category leagues. However, he is a rookie and is showing a lot of real-basketball flashes so moving on from him would be misguided.

Recommendation: Don’t panic.

Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies

Projected Return Date: Mid-December

Bane has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 right big toe sprain and is expected to miss at least 2-3 weeks. Bane has been having a whale of a season with fantasy numbers putting him among the 30 best players. The injury opens the door for John Konchar, who is solid but uninspiring, and, Dillon Brooks, who’s going to let it rip from deep.

Recommendation: John Konchar is the smart move here.

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