NBA Injuries and Who Can Benefit Instead (Week 10)

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Just how frustrated are we with injuries in the NBA this season? It seems as if Player X returns, Player B gets injured. The injury bug has been real this season, and it's like a plague that continues to spread across the league. Understanding the injury landscape is key in all forms of fantasy basketball.

Unfortunately, injuries will happen more often than not. It is just the nature of the game. However, in order to stay ahead of your opponents, you need to stay a top of these injury-related news. One significant add to the waiver wire could potentially make or break your season.

Consider this your one-stop overview of fantasy-relevant injuries around the NBA. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter @RotoBaller @RotoBallerNBA and @fungo24!

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Notable Injury Updates Around The NBA

Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul (leg) could not finish the game on Wednesday against the Lakers and this is a serious concern for Paul owners since it's the the same left leg that had a bruised left knee and caused him to miss time earlier this season. Hopefully this is just a stinger and isn't going to linger for the long-term. However, Paul is known to be a slow healer and always seems to get injured, which is why he slips in most drafts. The Rockets will probably release an update on Thursday, so we'll keep you updated. There's no real winner except James Harden, who will go back to being the official point guard. The Rockets had their 14-game winning streak snapped by the Lakers, despite Harden dropping 51 points. Center Clint Capella (heel) was also held out tonight and could miss a few more games to correct it. Ryan Anderson could see more minutes at the center position with the Rockets opting to go small. P.J. Tucker played 35 minutes and is a decent option in deeper formats.

Portland Trail Blazer point guard Damian Lillard (right leg contusion) left Wednesday's game briefly before returning to the game. He did not look like himself, but Lillard is an iron man when it comes to injuries. Lillard will only miss time if he's truly unable to play, so we're not expecting to miss time. If he does end up missing time, Shabazz Napier and Evan Turner would get a boost.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (back) is expected to miss the next two games this week with a sore back. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that he could return on Christmas against the Knicks. However, this is starting to be a concern, as the Sixers will likely treat Embiid going forward with major caution. The Sixers has lost four of it's last six games and is just 2-8 from their last 10 games. Meanwhile, Richaun Holmes is close a must-own, as he's a handcuff to Embiid's health. Meanwhile, J.J. Redick (hamstring) could also miss time, while Jerryd Bayless and T.J McConnell would see additional time. I #TrustTheProcess, but not its health.

Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez (ankle) suffered a mild ankle sprain against the Warriors on Monday and will miss at least the next three weeks. His absence will open up more minutes for Kyle Kuzma, Julius Randle, and Larry Nance JR. Kuzma and Randle are must-starts going forward, while Nance is still worth a spot in standard leagues due to his ability to rack up boards and steals without hurting you in any category. If you're not in good shape, Lopez could be a drop in some leagues since he's struggled to get consistent minutes and production with the Lakers. Head coach Luke Walton did start Andrew Bogut against the Rockets on Wednesday, but didn't take a single shot in 17 minutes of action. Ignore him.

Detroit Pistons guard Avery Bradley (groin) said he is going to see a specialist on groin injuries on Thursday. He's expected to miss at least a week and Reggie Bullock should be owned since coach Stan Van Gundy loves his ability to his the 3-ball and has been starting him. Rookie Luke Kennard and Ish Smith will get additional minutes, but they're suited for the deepest of leagues.

Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter (hip) missed two games due to a sore hip. He did not practice on Wednesday, but is still being listed at day-to-day. Kelly Oubre Jr. and Mike Scott are going to soak up most of Porter's minutes. Scott has been real hot, and he should be owned until further notice.

New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis (knee) has missed two straight games due to a sore left knee. The good news is KP was a full participant during Wednesday's practice and is being listed as questionable for Thursday's game vs. Boston. The bad news is he did say he's going to deal with discomfort for a while. “Today I went through the whole practice. They were trying to take me out. I wanted to stay in,” Porzingis said. “I felt great. The knee felt stable. I don’t see why I would not play tomorrow.” Take that for what you will, but it sounds like the "Unicorn" will utlimately need clearance from the team doctors. Michael Beasley, who filled in nicely for KP, has scored 23 and 30 points in the last two games. It'll be worth monitoring to see if Beasley is able to carve out a bigger role with Porinzgis's return. He's more suited for deeper leagues though.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (knee) is expected to miss about a month after suffering yet another knee injury. The team did say he's going to be re-evaluated in two weeks, but the Jazz will likely hold him out until he's right. Derrick Favors will get to flirt with top-75 numbers again and Ekpe Udoh will get a chance to play more minutes. The Jazz could go small more often now with Joe Johnson back, but Favors seems to be the only true beneficiary in standard leagues while Udoh and Johnson deserves a look in deeper formats. Donovan Mitchell (toe) also missed Wednesday's contest and is listed questionable Thursday against the Spurs. Rodney Hood moved back into the starting lineup while Alec Burks, Thabo Sefolosha and Joe Johnson will see more minutes.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (shoulder) missed his fourth consecutive game on Wednesday but the Warriors are simply being cautious with Stephen Curry (ankle) already out. The good news is Green is expected to play this weekend. Jordan Bell and Omri Casspi has been playing well in Green's absence, but could both have minimum fantasy value with Green returning.

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (ankle) is in danger of missing the Christmas Finals rematch against LeBron James and company. The Warriors do not want to rush their star point guard back as they have now won ten consecutive victories. Patrick McCaw has been awful while Omri Casspi has been great with averages of 11.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game over his last five. He's worth a look at least until Green and Curry is cleared. Obviously, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will continue to shoulder the load.

Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris (elbow) did not play in Wednesday's contest against the Timberwolves, and he's listed day-to-day. He was a game-time decision all the way up to tip-off, so it could be just a minor injury that needs an extra day of rest. Jamal Murray stepped up and went off for 30 points, while guard Torrey Craig played 37 minutes and scored 10 points with six boards, two assists and two treys. He's played 30 minutes and also scored 14 points the previous game, making him an attractive pick-up in deeper leagues.

San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (leg) exited Wednesday's game against the Blazers to a leg injury. Knowing the Spurs, they will let him heal before he returns. He's a drop candidate in most leagues with Kawhi Leonard now healthy. Meanwhile, Kyle Anderson (knee) also returned tonight and played well in 23 minutes. Anderson was playing very well and flirted with mid-round value before he got injured, and it's worth monitoring how he fares with Leonard back. For now, he's worth a look in deep leagues with Green expected to miss time.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (Achilles) will miss at least two more weeks and still doesn't have a set timetable to return, but reports say he has responded well to treatment. He is obviously worth holding, so try to hang in there. Meanwhile, Tyreke Evans will continue to run the point for Memphis.

Los Angeles Clippers forwad Danilo Gallinari (glute) said to the media today he's expected to miss another six-weeks after suffering a partial tear in his glute. Wesley Johnson (foot) is also sidelined, so Jamil Wilson is worth a look in deeper leagues, as he's scored double-digits in two straight games and averaged 10.4 points over his last five games. Just don't expect it to last. It's starting to look like a lost season for Gallinari owners.

Orlando Magic forward Evan Fournier (ankle) missed sixth straight game on the sidelines and isn't even close to returning. He's not even doing any contact work and the Magic will continue to lean on Mario Hezonja, who has scored 12 and 28 points over his last two contests. Hezonja is worth a short term pick up.

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (knee) is getting close to a return, although the team hasn't announced a set return date. If anyone follows him on Snapchat, he has said to his fans he's progressing well in his recovery. He's already lifting weights and working on conditioning. He has said to the media he will not return unless he feels 100 percent right, so he could be held just a bit longer. Goran Dragic (elbow) did not play Wednesday but it doesn't seem like a long-term injury. Tyler Johnson started and has been playing well enough to be owned in most leagues. James Johnson (ankle) is expected to be sidelined for 7-to-10 days with an ankle bursitis injury. Jordan Mickey and Wayne Ellington has been decent, but is more suited for deeper leagues. Josh Richardson has been playing excellent basketball and he should've never been on the wire anyways. Make sure he's not available in your wavier wires. Kelly Olynyk is a handcuff to Whiteside, and he should be owned until Whiteside returns.

Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker (groin strain) will close to a return and could return as soon as this weekend. The Suns will let his heal 100 percent before they think about bringing him back, as they want more lottery balls anyways.  TJ Warren will continue bombing away as long as Booker is out. Isaiah Canaan was hot heading into Wednesday, but fizzled out on 2-of-12 shooting. He's a streaky guard and is still worth streaming until Booker is cleared though.

 New York Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (lower leg stress injury) his still a couple weeks away. He continues to be a cheer leader for the Knicks during games so it's at least a positive sign he's with the team. Frank Ntilikina has played well lately and deserves a look again. I'd pick him up now before he blows up. He's a very intriguing assists and steals guy, with the upside to average a 3-pointer per game. If the Knicks were to unleash him for 30 minutes per night, look out. He could be a sneaky difference maker towards the second-half of the season.

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (knee) continues to progress well and but reports states he will not return January instead of December. There are rumors saying the Bulls will not rush him back and risk winning more games, since they're in full tank mode already. His return will likely send either Justin Holiday or Denzel Valentine to the bench. I suspect the Bulls to roll out a lineup of Robin Lopez, Lauri Markkanen, Justin Holiday , Zach LaVine, and Kris Dunn in 2018. Holiday will not be this good with LaVine back in the lineup. If you want to sell high on Justin Holiday, go for it.

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Isaiah Thomas (hip) is rumored to target early January for his Cavalier debut. All signs points to him being the player he was. If you are sitting comfortably on top of your standings in your league and have an IR spot, it wouldn't hurt to send an offer out to see if you can get him now.

Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (knee) continues to be sidelined after an arthroscopic surgery last month to remove loose bodies. There is still currently no timetable for his return, but Spencer Dinwiddie continues to fill the void nicely as he's become a mid-round player on the year. Guys like Allen Crabbe, Rondae Hollis Jefferson will continue to have increased usage.

Sacramento Kings forward Harry Giles (knee) is not expected to play for the Kings until January 2018 at the earliest, but he has tremendous upside in fantasy. The Kings are going to be super careful with him, as he's recovering from surgically repaired knees that caused teams to pass on him during draft night. He's not likely to be much of a factor for standard league owners once he returns, but the Kings are an absolute mess and it wouldn't be surprising if they chose to use the second-half of the season developing their young core. The Kings has not updated his recovery status, but he was last seen warming up and taking shots with the team prior to a game on Dec. 10th. If you're in a deep league and is comfortable stashing a player, it wouldn't be a terrible idea especially if you have an IR spot. He's a low-risk, high reward stash. Just my opinion.

 

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