Week 7 Fantasy Basketball Injury Report: Ja Morant Headlines Sidelined Stars
The NBA family got hit hard over the last few weeks, and injuries are affecting some of the league's biggest stars. Ja Morant sustained a sprained knee, and thankfully avoided any structural damage or torn ligaments. Morant will miss multiple weeks. Likewise, Bam Adebayo, who tore a thumb ligament, and Damian Lillard, who is working through a complex abdominal injury, will also miss the next few weeks. Joe Harris underwent reconstructive surgery to his ankle, which will keep him out for at least six weeks, while Micheal Porter Jr. is set to undergo back surgery and has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Elsewhere, LeBron James entered Health and Safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19 early this week. This comes after James just returned from an abdominal injury that kept him sidelined for multiple weeks. James has played 11 games for the Lakers this season and will miss another handful of games over the next few weeks. Here is your fantasy basketball injury report in Week 7 of the fantasy basketball season.
Week 7 Fantasy Basketball Injuries
SF Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets (Left Ankle Surgery)
Harris successfully underwent surgery on his injured left ankle. This means that he will be out until at least mid-January or February. DeAndre’ Bembry, Lamarcus Aldridge, and Bruce Brown will see an increased role for the Nets in Harris' absence.
SG Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks (Sprained Right Ankle)
Bogdanovic sustained a right ankle sprain and is expected to miss at least two weeks before returning to action. Cam Reddish is currently day-to-day because of a wrist injury, meaning that the Hawks will have to dig deeper into their rotation to replace these scorers Danilo Gallinari will likely see an uptick in minutes over the Hawks’ next few games.
SF/PF Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets (Back Surgery, Out for Season)
MPJ has been ruled out for the season after a decision was made to move forward with back surgery. Porter Jr.’s back was the reason he did not play his rookie season. Now, MPJ will be missing his fourth year in the league and hopes to be healthy by the start of next season. Aaron Gordon and Will Barton will see more scoring opportunities and an uptick in minutes with MPJ out.
SG Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (Hamstring)
Booker hurt his hamstring in Tuesday night's game against the Warriors. While he did not return to play in the second half, Booker was on the bench with the rest of the team for the game’s duration. This means that he was not seriously injured. He should be back by next week.
SF/PF Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings (Sprained Foot)
Harrison Barnes was ruled out ahead of Tuesday night’s game against the Lakers after being listed as doubtful. He was then ruled out of last night's game against the Clippers. Barnes is questionable to return Saturday when the Kings will try to win their second game in a row against Ty Lue’s squad. He should be considered DTD and will return either at the end of this week or at the beginning of Week 8.
PG Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Lower Abdominal Tendinopathy)
Lillard strained his abdomen last week and is expected to be inactive for at least the next 10 days and up to two weeks. The offense will run through C.J. McCollum as Afernee Simmons takes Lillard's role in the starting lineup. With Lillard sidelined, McCollum should have no problem dropping 25+ points per game over the next two weeks.
PG Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies (Sprained Knee)
Ja Morant sprained his knee but fortunately did not sustain any ligament tears or suffer structural damage. He is expected to be out for at least two weeks. Had he torn a ligament in the knee, he could have been out for months or even perhaps the rest of the season. Fortunately for the Grizzlies and for Morant, he should recover and be back on the court before or around Christmas. During his absence, Tyus Jones will have an increased role in the Grizzlies' rotation.
C Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat (Torn UCL, Right Thumb)
Bam tore a major ligament in his right thumb. He will likely undergo surgery with a recovery period expected to be anywhere between four to six weeks. Throughout Adebayo’s absence, it is likely that backup big man, Dewayne Dedmon, will see a significant uptick in minutes.
SG/SF Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat (Tailbone)
According to recent reports, Butler will miss at least the rest of this week, including back-to-back games this weekend against the Pacers and Bucks. Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry will lead the offense with Butler sidelined and Duncan Robinson will likely play 30 MPG over Miami's next few contests. Eric Spoelstra will have to put together a rotation without his two best players: both Butler and Adebayo are inactive at the moment. The Heat will be without its biggest stars for the next few games. In addition, Markieff Morris (neck) is questionable for this weekend while Victor Oldaipo (quadriceps) remains out indefinitely. While Butler is expected to return next week, Miami will need to make up for these huge losses to their active roster by giving increased minutes to bench players. In addition to Duncan Robinson, Miami seems to be turning to PG Gabe Vincent for answers. Vincent has played a minimum of 28 minutes in each of his last three games and has scored at least 11 points in his last four. On the season, he is scoring 6.2 points on 43.3% shooting from the field in 15.8 MPG. Over the last few games, he’s demonstrated his ability to preserve the same level of efficiency, though he is playing approximately double the minutes he’s had this season.
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Updates On Players Returning From Season-Ending injuries in 2020-2021:
SG/SF Klay Thompson & C James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors
Klay Thompson could be returning to NBA action a week or two before the New Year. The Warriors are confident he will be returning earlier than what was initially expected. Tuesday, the Warriors cleared Thompson for "100%" participation at full-contact practices. Both Thompson and James Wiseman were sent to practice with the Warriors' G-League team: The Santa Cruz Warriors. Golden State plays eight games between tomorrow and Dec. 17. They hope Thompson and Wiseman benefit from this retreat. The Warriors are hoping that sending Thompson and the second-year center to the G-League will allow both players returning from severe season-ending ACL tears to get ready without any distractions and potentially return strong before Christmas. In essence, the work Klay Thompson is doing with James Wiseman in Santa Cruz was designed for both players to be best prepared for their return to NBA action. With Golden State the second seed in the West only behind the 17-win Phoenix Suns, the Warriors can be cautious with Thompson and Wiseman. Stephen Curry's heroics has been the main reason the Warriors have begun the season so dominant. The return of Thompson and Wiseman will likely cut into Curry's elite production, though he will remain one of fantasy basketball's most valuable players.
Thompson could play his first NBA game since Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals within the next two weeks, which is incredible news for him, his fans, the Warriors, and fantasy basketball owners who've been waiting patiently for his comeback. Likewise, Wiseman is expected to return around the same time as Thompson and kick off his sophomore season in the league. The hope is that their respective returns to the Warriors' rotation will help Golden State lock down a top seed in the Western Conference and make a postseason run. Jordan Poole and Kevon Looney will see a decrease in minutes and production once Thomas and Wiseman return to the lineup.
C Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards
The Wizards' big man could be returning as early as next week according to recent reports. It was reported earlier this season that Bryant was well ahead of schedule and was expected to return before the new year. Recent updates suggest he could be activated by mid-December.
Health & Safety Protocols (COVID-19 / Other Illness)
SF/PF LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers (COVID-19)
LeBron tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday and will be out for at least the next 10 days. Talen Horton-Tucker will benefit the most from LeBron's absence.
SF R.J. Barrett, New York Knicks (Illness)
R.J. Barrett was listed as questionable ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Nets. He started in the contest but exited the game in the first half and was ruled out for the rest of the game. The nature of his illness and how many games he could miss remains unclear. He is probably day-to-day.
SF/PF Nicolas Batum, Los Angeles Clippers (COVID-19)
Batum tested positive for COVID-19 and entered health and safety protocols on Nov. 21. He could return later this week and is currently considered DTD.
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