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16
14
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36
33
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NO
31
6
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CIN
o44.5
-3.5
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IND
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Week 5 Fantasy Basketball Injury Report: Doncic Goes Down, LeBron On The Mend!

Will Desvallees Nov 18th 4:33 AM EST.

There isn't too much breaking or tragic news for players this week. With Luka Doncic suffering a sprained ankle, we will take a look at the guards who should see an uptick in playing time in his absence. Doncic isn't the only big name who is dealing with an injury. LeBron should be returning in the coming days, while Kris Middleton just suited up after a multi-game absence for the Bucks. Nikola Vucevic and Joel Embiid will be out for longer periods of time. Let's dive in!

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NBA Injury News & Updates

PG/SF Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (Ankle)

Luka sprained his left ankle on Sunday and is currently listed as day-to-day. While he is only expected to miss a few games, Jalen Brunson is a must-start in his absence. Expect Kristaps Porzingis to also produce high offensive numbers. He’s played well over the last few games, scoring 32 points on 12-for-22 shooting on Nov. 12. On Nov. 15, Porzingis dropped 29 points while shooting 11-for-20 from the field. Especially while Doncic is out, expect KP to produce more on the offensive end while Brunson runs the point. Trey Burke and Frank Nitlikina got some opportunities for Dallas as well. It was good to see Nitlikina play with some degree of confidence against the Suns last night. He scored 13 points shooting five-for-eight from the field and a perfect three-of-three from beyond the arc. Tre Burke is just a good bench player shooting 47.2% from the field over only two games this season. Even so, I'm not surprised as I've seen him shoot well above 50% before. If healthy, he should play 20 minutes per game on any NBA team and has proven to be an effective scorer and great ball handler since being called up from the G-League. He also has great floor vision, which was one of his trademarks as a college player for Michigan. The only issue on that end would Dallas' size on the floor, with Brunson and Tre Burke measuring at 6'1'' and 6'0'' respectively. The Mavs have an interesting core of guards with multiple years of experience backing up Luka. Each of them has the capacity to produce if they are needed for increased minutes. We'll see moving forward how well they perform, but they each should be in the back of your mind in case Doncic misses more time this season.

C James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors (Knee)

NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole stated that James Wiseman could be activated at some point next week. Even if this ends up not happening, Wiseman will be back to NBA action in the weeks to come. He will likely face a minutes restriction in his first few games back, but if he is available on your waivers still, time to pick him up. This also means that Draymond Green’s current production of 8.8 PTS, 7.9 REBs, and 7.1 ASTs per game will decrease slightly. When Wiseman comes back, Green will have to do less. 

SF Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics (Hamstring)

Jaylen Brown has not played since Nov. 4 but is edging closer and closer to a return. He will likely return by the end of this week or the beginning of next week. Brown has recently expressed his optimism about recovering from this frustrating hamstring injury. 

SG/SF Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets (Sprained Ankle)

Harris will be out until after Thanksgiving with a sprained ankle. This season, he’s playing approximately 30 minutes per game while scoring 11.3 points (42.5% from the field) and hauling in 4.0 rebounds per game. With Kyrie Irving and now Harris out, Patty Mills and Bruce Brown will see increased minutes and production in Brooklyn.

SF/PF De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks (Wrist)

Late last week, the Hawks reported that De’Andre Hunter will be out for the next two months. This comes after Hunter only played 23 games last season due to injury. Entering his third year in the NBA, Hunter has been efficient since his rookie season but will miss significant time. This means that SG/SF Cam Reddish and Danillo Ganilari will get more minutes and will likely be relied on more on the offensive end of the floor. Big man John Collins will step up as well, and will likely be attempting more shots considering how well he’s been shooting this season. 

PG/SG Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers (Meniscus Tear)

Collin Sexton’s surgeon stated that he could return within four weeks. While this is most likely a best-case scenario for Sexton, it is a positive development for the Cavs. This means that for at least the next four to six weeks, guards Darius Garland and Ricky Rubio will continue to lead the Cleveland offense. 

PF/C Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans (Foot)

Zion will not be back until mid-December, still recovering from the surgery he underwent on his foot. In this time, Williamson shattered the 300 lbs. mark and has been visibly unfit and overweight over the last few weeks. His weight is becoming a concern, as it makes him more injury prone and also delays the big man’s return to the hardcourt. 

SF/PF LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers (Abdomen)

King James has returned to practice but in a limited capacity. Last week, Frank Vogel made it clear that LeBron is on his way back, but that the Lakers are being cautious in not rushing him back. He’s currently day-to-day, but reports suggest he could be back Friday. When asked if LeBron would play against the Bucks on Wednesday, Vogel comedically responded very simply “day-to-day.” His response was similar to how Greg Popovich answers questions during mid-game interviews. Vogel's answer, though short and straight to the point, confirms that LeBron is on his way back, but that they have not been able to set a specific return date. It also reveals that the Lakers are sick of being asked the same question. LeBron’s return to action will mean Carmelo Anthony will likely play fewer minutes and players like Malik Monk or Wayne Ellington will likely no longer produce enough to consider starting in your fantasy basketball leagues. There is a good chance that James returns Friday against the Celtics. If he does not, James will be back Sunday against the Pistons or early next week. Basically, LeBron is actually day-to-day now but wasn’t at the beginning of this week nor last week. 

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Players Back In Action / Close To Returning From COVID-19 Protocols

PF/C Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Embiid tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 8 and will not return before Nov. 27. Doc Rivers discussed Embiid’s battle with the virus on Tuesday, explaining that Embiid is still symptomatic and will not play in the four games left on the 76ers' road trip West. The earliest Embiid could return would be when the 76ers host the Timberwolves on Nov. 27. 

SG/SF Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers

While Rivers reported rather bad news about Embiid, the update he provided about Thybulle was more encouraging. Thybulle tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 6 but Rivers stated that he is likely to return during this road trip. As opposed to Embiid, Thybulle is no longer symptomatic. Since the 76ers ruled him out for Thursday’s game against the Nuggets, the earliest Thybulle could return is on Nov. 20 when the 76ers face the Trail Blazers. He could also return either Nov. 22 against the Kings or Nov. 24 against the Warriors.

C Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls

Vuc tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 11 and is expected to be out until at least Nov. 21. Still, he needs to be on everyone’s radar especially as it pertains to the trade value charts.

SG/SF Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

Middleton has been cleared from COVID-19 protocols and returned last night (Nov. 17) against the Lakers. As was expected, Middleton’s minutes were limited but will surely increase to 30+ MPG. Like Vucevic, he is one of the main undervalued trade targets this week. 

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Eric Bledsoe LAC PG +11.1
Alex Caruso CHI SG +11.0
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Drew Eubanks SA C +9.6
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De'Anthony Melton MEM PG +9.1
Cody Martin CHA PF +9.1
Chris Boucher TOR PF +9.0
Franz Wagner ORL SG -14.6
Victor Oladipo MIA SG -12.1
Patrick Beverley MIN PG -11.4
Alperen Sengun HOU C -10.8
Andre Drummond PHI C -10.7
Jaden McDaniels MIN PF -10.3
Jordan Clarkson UTA PG -10.2
Isaac Okoro CLE SF -10.1
P.J. Tucker MIA SF -10.1
Steven Adams MEM C -8.6
Cam Reddish ATL SF -7.1
Anfernee Simons POR SG -6.9
Terrence Ross ORL SG -6.9
Jonathan Kuminga GS SF -6.6
Jarred Vanderbilt MIN PF -6.6

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