We break down the biggest Week 21 NBA injuries with analysis on how much time the players will need to recover and how the injuries may affect performance.
Week 21 NBA Injuries
Otto Porter WAS: bruised right hip
Otto Porter was diagnosed with a bruised right hip last week after took a shot to the hip and went down in pain. He only missed one practice, but according to the Inside Injuries algorithm he should have missed at least two weeks recovering. Porter has a long history of hip injuries so it’s even more concerning that he hasn’t taken much time off. His hip is going to continue to bother him.
Anthony Davis NO: left ankle sprain
Anthony Davis stepped on Kosta Koufos’ foot in last Wednesday’s game, causing his ankle to roll. He tried to walk it off but eventually checked out. X-rays were negative, and an MRI on Thursday revealed a sprain. An ankle sprain in and of itself is not a major concern, but Davis can barely go two weeks without suffering an injury. The Inside Injuries algorithm calculated a 2-3 week Optimal Recovery Time, but Davis only missed one game before returning to action. Needless to say, he’s a High Injury Risk.
Jordan Bell GS: right ankle sprain
Bell’s back was originally bothering him last week, but the concern now is his ankle. He came down on Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s foot on Tuesday, and he immediately went to the locker room. X-rays came back negative and he was diagnosed with a sprain. Golden State announced that he would be evaluated again on Tuesday, which means he will miss at least three games.
Derrick Favors UTA: neck spasms
Derrick Favors missed one game last week due to neck spasms, but he returned to action on Wednesday. The injury isn’t a huge concern and Favors hasn’t dealt with this type of injury before, so fantasy owners should feel good about starting him going forward.
Kyrie Irving BOS: left knee soreness
Kyrie Irving’s left knee gave him trouble earlier in the season, and it started acting up again last week. Coach Brad Stevens acknowledged last Monday that Irving could miss a week to rest, and sure enough, he missed each game last week. Irving then admitted this Monday that he is doubtful to play this week as he continues to rest. Celtics GM Danny Ainge said he thinks Kyrie Irving will need to manage his knee for the rest of his career, and we tend to agree. There is a good chance Irving will need an off-season procedure to help clean-up from previous injuries.
Jaylen Brown BOS: concussion
Jaylen Brown had a nasty fall last week that resulted in a concussion and is expected to miss at least a full week’s worth of games. He tried to hang on the rim and slipped off, falling hard on his head and neck. It took a long time for him to get up and he looked dazed to say the least. He was able to walk off under his own power, but the Inside Injuries algorithm is still calculating a 2-3 week Optimal Recovery Time.
Marcus Smart BOS: right thumb injury
Right now there are conflicting reports on the severity of Smart’s right thumb injury, but either way he’s a cut candidate in most leagues. Some sources are reporting a torn tendon, which would almost certainly require surgery, and others are suggesting a sprain, which would only require 2-4 weeks of recovery time. The Celtics have said that he’s expected to miss an “unspecified amount of time,” so there isn’t much reason to hold on to him at this point. Plus he just returned from a laceration in his right hand a few weeks ago.
Kent Bazemore ATL: right knee bone bruise
The Hawks are in full-on tank mode, and that trend continues with Bazemore being ruled out for the remainder of the season with a bone bruise in his right knee. There was no reason to push a return for a few games in April, so the decision is probably good for Bazemore’s health anyways. A mild bone bruise can heal within 4 weeks, but more serious bone bruises can take around 8 weeks to heal. Bazemore needs to be cut in all leagues.
Wesley Matthews DAL: stress fracture in right leg
The Mavericks are also playing for Ping Pong balls at this point, so it’s no surprise that they shut down veteran Wesley Matthews this week after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right leg. This is the same injury that held Seth Curry out all season, and it could be a factor for the start of the 2018-19 season. Surgery remains an option if it doesn’t heal fast enough.
Aaron Gordon ORL: concussion
Aaron Gordon collided with Julius Randle on Thursday and was reportedly experiencing concussion symptoms after the game. He entered the league’s concussion protocol and will need to clear before he’s eligible to play again. The good news is he went through the contact-practice phase on Monday, but he will have to be clear of any concussion symptoms at Tuesday’s shootaround if he expects to play this week. This is a three-game week for the Magic, so he’s not be the best option in weekly leagues.
Rodney Hood CLE: back strain
Any injury for Rodney Hood usually means a multi-week absence, so owners should probably consider dropping him at this point. He hasn’t dealt with many back problems since 2016, but his injury history is still a concern. Kyle Korver, who recently returned from a foot injury, should pick up the slack.
Hassan Whiteside MIA: left hip pain
We don’t know much else about Whiteside’s injury other than that the Heat are calling it “left hip pain.” Whiteside’s main problem this season has been his knee, so it’s somewhat of a relief that it’s not an aggravation of that injury. This sounds like a nagging injury, and the Inside Injuries algorithm is calculating a 1-2 week Optimal Recovery Time. Unfortunately, Whiteside’s injury issues this season make him a High Injury Risk.
Daniel Theis BOS: torn left meniscus
This is a bad week for Boston. In addition to Kyrie and Marcus Smart’s injuries, Daniel Theis will undergo season-ending surgery this week after suffering a torn left meniscus. Theis was a solid bench guy for the Celtics, so this is a pretty big blow for the team. Aron Baynes, Greg Monroe and Marcus Morris will likely be the ones filling in the hole.
James Harden HOU: knee injury
This is likely just an excuse to give Harden some rest, but he was ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Mavericks with a knee injury. Houston had him back in the lineup on Monday against the Spurs, which is why we think this is more of a ghost injury than something to really be concerned about. Fantasy owners should keep playing him with confidence.
Dennis Schroder ATL: elbow injury
Dennis Schroder missed Sunday’s game with an elbow injury, but we are going to chalk this up as a tank effort on Atlanta’s part. He’ll most likely return on Tuesday, but fantasy owners should beware of ghost injuries in guys like Schroder. He’s missed five games this season to injuries, but they are all just one game absences to minor bumps and bruises. He’s an Elevated Injury Risk, but the bigger risk for fantasy players is that Schroder will likely be held out even more as the season wraps up.
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