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NBA Injuries and Who Can Benefit Instead (Week 17)

Wow, what a day. The NBA trading deadline went out with a bang on the final day. In case you missed it, check out our Player News section.

We're approaching crunch time in fantasy. You must do anything possible to make the playoffs. Once you get there, it's an entirely different ball game. Holding onto injured players with little upside is likely a bad move at this point. 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

New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis (knee) suffered a devastating ACL injury on Tuesday night, which will obviously end his season. He's expected to have surgery as soon as possible, and he will likely be looking at a 9-12 month recovery time, depending on how fast he heals. It's a brutal pill to swallow for not only Porzingis owners, but also the Knicks as well. The 22-year old was having a break out year and was even named a first-time All-Star. There's a glimmer of hope that he'd be able to come back stronger since he's so young, but severe knee injuries and big man with long fragile limbs is something we'd like to avoid in fantasy. He'll make for a very risky pick in next year's draft and in the event that Michael Beasley is on your waiver wire, change that immediately. Beasley will be the main focus of the offense for the Knicks along with Tim Hardaway J.R.

Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (groin) has missed eight straight games games and while he's listed as day-to-day, the Nets will likely hold him out past the All-Star break. RHJ is one of the Nets cornerstones of the rebuilding franchise, so he's going to be eased back into action. Joe Harris and Caris LeVert will continue to see extended minutes. They're both more of a 14 + team leagues since D'Angelo Russell has returned.

Chicago Bulls point guard Kris Dunn (face/concussion) has just been cleared from the NBA concussion protocol, and now he will need to work his way back from his conditioning. He's been ruled out this week, and the Bulls could also hold him out after the All-Star break. Jerian Grant is a lukewarm, nice short-term option where Denzel Valentine can be used a streamer option.

Houston Rockets guards Eric Gordon (back) Trevor Ariza (quad) are both listed out for Friday's contest against the Nuggets, and their absences mean Gerald Green, Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker will take turns on canceling each other out. They're all more of a 14+ team league option, but any one of them can have nights where they can give you a slight edge in weekly formats. Gordon's injury isn't as serious as Ariza's, so we expect Gordon back sooner.

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball (knee) has progressed in his recovery from a MCL sprain, and he's reportedly close to a return. He has participated in limited drills in practice and the Lakers will likely hold him out until after the All-Star break. With the news of Isaiah Thomas coming to town, Ball owners can rest easy as the front office and coach Luke Walton has stated in the media that "Ball is still our starting point guard, that has not changed". Ball is still a nice buy low depending on where you are in your standings, given that he was flirting with top-35 numbers prior to his injury. In his absence, Josh Hart has emerged as a top-40 play with three straight double-doubles. If you picked up Hart, it's a good idea to hold onto him through the All-Star break, when we find out more on the Lakers new rotation.

Miami Heat center Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) did not practice on Thursday and is doubtful for Friday's game. It's the same surgically repaired shoulder he has suffered earlier in his career, and he's currently without a timetable to return. Bam Adebayo has been on and off but still deserves a look in deeper settings. James Johnson is still a hold in most 12-team leagues, even though he hasn't been the same guy we saw last year when he was posting top-60 numbers. The big men around the league is dropping like flies, which is why I recommend holding onto Olynyk until we hear bad news.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony (ankle) was ruled out shortly before Thursday's contest against the Lakers. The injury isn't considered serious, but Melo likely took the night off given that it's the Lakers. Josh Huertis, Jerami Grant, and Patrick Patterson will share some of Anthony's minutes. Although none of these guys are standard league relevant, Grant is worth a short-term look as a blocks specialist. Russell Westbrook (ankle) was also ruled out Thursday, but it seems more of a precautionary rest, given that he walked into the arena without any noticeable limp. Paul George will be very busy against the Lakers Thursday night.

San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (ankle) is without a timetable, according to head coach Greg Popovich. The Spurs love to be secretive about just everything, so it may not be as serious as it sounds. However, if he continues to miss time or is hit with a multi-week absence, he may not be worth holding onto depending on your playoff hopes. Tony Parker will likely be inserted back into the starting lineup, while Patty Mills receives a nice boost and is worth a short-term look.

Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart (hand) will miss another week or so after hitting his hand in a team hotel. The injury seems a bit wacky but Terry Rozier has a small window to produce some value while Smart is on the shelf. Rozier has shown enough to be worthy, making him a very nice short-term add.


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