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NBA Injuries and Who Can Benefit Instead (Week 8)


DraftKings FanDuel daily fantasy basketball

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

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (ankle) will miss up to two weeks with a bad ankle sprain. The MRI results were negative and came back clean, so that's great news. Patrick McCaw got hit in the nose on Monday against the Pelicans and will enter the NBA concussion protocol. He did not play Wednesday against the Hornets and could be out a couple more games. It's a shame because he was worth a pick-up in most leagues after the Curry news. However, he could still have nice short-term value next week. We'll keep you updated on his status going forward. Guard Quinn Cook made the start Wednesday but isn't worth adding. Forward Draymond Green also missed Wednesday's contest due to shoulder soreness. He is considered day-to-day. Anytime Green misses time, rookie Jordan Bell is a near must-start player due to his upside in blocks and steals. Obviously, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will post monster lines with Curry sidelined. Center Zaza Pachulia (shoulder) re aggravated his shoulder and did not return. Bell could continue to start even if Draymond Green is able to play Friday against the Pistons.

New Orleans power forward Anthony Davis (groin) avoided a disaster after Tuesday's MRI results. It came back clean and he is considered day-to-day. He was in a lot of pain and had to be carried off the court, so owners were probably sweating it out. The Pelicans will not rush him back, so DeMarcus Cousins will go off where his usage goes up by nearly four percent without Davis on the floor. Cousins went off for 40 points and pulled down 22 boards in a win over the Nuggets. Guards like Jrue Holiday, E'Twaun Moore, and Rajon Rondo gets a nice bump as well. Forward Dante Cunningham is a decent deep-league add.

Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker (groin strain) will miss the next 2-3 weeks to recover from his groin injury which he suffered on Tuesday. It's unfortunate for Booker, who was having a great season. The Suns will let his heal 100 percent before they think about bringing him back, as they want more lottery balls anyways. Rookie Josh Jackson will likely be injected into the starting lineup where TJ Warren gets a nice boost as long as Booker is out. Josh Jackson does have some upside, but he could really mess you up with turnovers and awful percentages. Point guard Tyler Ulis can get a chance and run the offense, so owners who need assists can give him a look. I'm not fully sold on anyone other than Warren on the Suns though.  They're a complete mess.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (ankle) went down last Thursday and is expected to miss a couple more games. He will travel with the Nuggets on their road-trip, so the injury isn't considered serious. Meanwhile, Kenneth Faried has filled in nicely and is worth a standard league add until Jokic is back. Mason Plumlee has started for Jokic but is best suited for deeper leagues.

Orlando Magic forward Evan Fournier (ankle) sprained his ankle late in the game of Wednesday's contest against the Hawks and was limping pretty bad. He was in a lot in a pain and had to be assisted off the court. He looks like he's going to miss some time. It's not clear who will get the bulk of his minutes. X-rays showed no fracture, according to head coach Frank Vogel. It's worth noting Jonathan Isaac (ankle) is close to a return and could be the main beneficiary of this news. D.J. Augustine is also worth a look in deeper leagues as he subbed in for Fournier late to close the game with the starters.

New York Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (lower leg stress injury) has begun a treatment and rehabilitation plan and he will be re-evaluated in two weeks. The Knicks did receive positive news as Kristaps Porzingis (ankle/illness) was able to come back for Wednesday's contest. Lance Thomas started for Hardaway Jr. on Wednesday against the Grizzlies, but coach Jeff Hornacek said to the media the nightly starter will depend on match-ups with Doug McDermott and Damyean Dotson in consideration. It seems like a timeshare we'd like to avoid, so there are no real standard league adds here.

Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller (knee) and Frank Kaminsky (ankle) both left Wedneday's game vs. the Warriors and did not return. Both players were canceling out each other's value and production. With this news, Dwight Howard will play more minutes while Marvin Williams, Jeremy Lamb and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist all get a slight boost.

Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein (lower back) tweaked his back last Saturday and did not travel with the team on their two-game road trip, which means he's out at least a couple of games. I'm not sure the Kings know what they're really doing, having sent Skal Labissiere to the G-League following the Cauley-Stein injury. There's no real winners besides perhaps Zach Randolph, who had a great game against Cleveland with 18 points, 10 boards, and six assists to go along with three steals. Jakarr Sampson started and joined the fun with six boards and a team-high 16 rebounds. He can be viewed as a deep league add, but don't expect this type of performance. Cauley-Stein should be considered day-to-day.

Atlanta Hawks center John Collins (shoulder) will miss the next 2-3 weeks following a shoulder injury. The Hawks are desperately thin more now than ever, with Miles Plumlee (disclosed injury) heading into the locker room against the Magic. He did not come out at half time and Tyler Cavanaugh started the 2nd-half for the Hawks on Wednesday. Ersan Ilyasova should be picked up in most leagues due to upside and the minutes he'll be asked to play. Not a great add, but you can certainly do worse.

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (quad) is getting close to a return. The Spurs was originally going to play him Monday, but held him out and want to make sure their franchise star is 100 percent before game action. He's been a full participant in practices and we could see him as early as this weekend. Kyle Anderson (MCL sprain) will miss 2-3 weeks and can be dropped in most leagues now that Leonard is close. This is your LAST chance to buy low on Leonard. Don't underestimate "The Claw", he's that good.

Los Angeles Clippers point guard Milos Teodosic (foot) is close to a return. He is projected to be the starting point guard for the Clippers when he comes back, and is worth grabbing in most formats right now. There's a real chance he could average close to 12 points and seven assists per game. He's capable of shooting the 3-pointer as well, as he shot over 38 percent in his career over in Europe.

Chicago Bulls guard Zachary 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. Forward Nikola Mirotic should be back sometime this weekend, if not next week for the Bulls. With Markkanen and Portis playing well, it's probably wise to monitor the minutes rotation when he's back before making a move.

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Isaiah Thomas (hip) has progressed to on court drills, where his next step will be taking contact in practices. He will be brought along slowly to ensure his hip doesn't flare up. However, he seems to be ahead of schedule for a mid-to-late December return and 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 an early-round player on the year. Guys like Allen Crabbe, Rondae Hollis Jefferson will continue to have increased usage. Trevor Booker deserves a look in most leagues, but I don't fully trust him.

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (knee) will miss another week or so for to rest his ailing sore knee. He has said to the media he will not return unless he feels 100 percent right, so he could be held out longer. Goran Dragic will continue to do the heavy lifting on offense. Josh Richardson has picked up his play lately and deserves a look in all leagues if he was dropped. Kelly Olynyk is also a nice short-term standard league add. 

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (knee) is going to be out for another week or so with knee soreness. He received platelet-rich plasma and viscosupplementation injections to reduce the inflammation in his left knee. Bradley Beal and Otto Porter will eat up most of his usage while Kelly Oubre Jr. will look at more minutes. Tim Frazier has not played well filling in for the injured Wall, as backup point guard Tomas Satoransky has played well and deserves a look in deeper leagues.

 

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