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Week 12 Fantasy Basketball Injury & COVID-19 Report: Jimmy Butler & Damian Lillard Remain Sidelined

Will Desvallees Jan 5th 11:40 PM EST.

There are some pieces of very good news for the NBA in Week 12. First, the rate of new COVID-19 cases among NBA rosters seems to be slowing down. In comparison to last week, only a handful of teams have five or more players on their active roster sidelined by Health and Safety protocols. Second, Klay Thompson will finally be returning to the NBA. He is expected to see approximately 20 minutes on Sunday. This week, Injuries to some of the NBA’s best are (for the first time in about a month), the feature of our weekly fantasy basketball injury report. Damian Lillard (abdomen) and Jimmy Butler (ankle) will likely miss the rest of Week 12. 

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Injury News & Updates

PF Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons (Torn Ligaments, Right Thumb)

Grant tore multiple ligaments in his right thumb and underwent reconstructive surgery on his UCL ligament on Dec. 16. He is expected to be out for at least another month to six weeks. The Pistons are a tough team to decipher. Besides Cade Cunningham’s consistent production on the floor, any member of the Pistons has a chance to erupt. Until Isaiah Stewart returns to Detroit’s rotation (which should. be soon), look for Josh Jackson and Saddiq Bey to see an uptick in minutes and production. Bey specifically has been impressive as of late. Trey Lyles has also seen his share of minutes increase over the last few games. Though he is averaging 18 MPG this season, he’s played at least 24 minutes in each contest since Dec. 23. He’s also scored in double-figures in his last four consecutive games, hauling in at least five rebounds in those contests.

SF Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers (Torn Ligament, Right Elbow)

Paul George tore a ligament in his right elbow on Christmas day. It was reported today that George would be re-evaluated in another three to four weeks. This means that PG13 will be out for a total of at least six weeks and not the optimistic three-to-four-week timetable set on Dec. 25. In other words, he missed the last two weeks, and will likely miss another four weeks from yesterday’s date (Jan. 5). The Clippers are also currently without Luke Kennard (COVID-19) and Nicolas Batum (ankle). This has largely allowed Terance Mann to see an increased role over the last few weeks. For the rest of Week 12 and likely Week 13, Mann should see an uptick of approximately five minutes per game for the next few weeks. Likewise, Marcus Morris Sr. will likely see more time on the floor to fill in for the lack of depth among available Clippers wings.

PG Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Abdomen) 

Lillard has struggled with lingering complications to his abdomen throughout the season. Although he played a handful of games in December, Lillard seems to have aggravated the injury, which set him back earlier on in the season. The Portland Trail Blazers reported that Lillard would be out for the rest of the week. He will thus miss a minimum of two more games after missing Wednesday night’s contest. In his absence, Anfernee Simons has stepped up in a big way. He had a career night on Monday, recording 43 points. Dennis Smith Jr. has also seen time on the floor but has been nowhere near as efficient as Simons, who will run the point for the Blazers while Dame Time remains sidelined. 

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SG/SF Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat (Right Ankle) 

Jimmy Butler tweaked his right ankle in Monday’s contest against the Miami Heat. He was ruled out Wednesday night due to the injury he sustained, though Eric Spoelstra downplayed the severity of the injury. While this tweaked ankle shouldn’t keep Butler out too long, it presents the Miami Heat with yet another challenge for what has been endless setbacks to the team’s roster since mid-November. This season, Butler has injured his lower back and ankles. Butler has participated in 23 of Miami’s 38 total games this season. He’s thus missed approximately 40% of the regular season due to a variety of lingering injuries. The vast majority of the games he’s missed this season were related to a bruised tailbone which kept him sidelined for most of December. He returned on Dec. 26 and has played five complete games. He is shooting an outstanding 50.0 % from the field this season, averaging 23.2 PPG, 5.9 REBs, 5.4 AST, and a whopping 2.0 steals per contest.

Butler’s talent or consistency has never been an issue. He’s shooting more efficiently from the field this year than any other season in his NBA career. Because Miami is still dealing with a few lingering cases of COVID-19 in addition to injuries sustained, it is difficult to determine who will step up. Jimmy Butler shouldn’t miss much time. With him out of the lineup, Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry become even more valuable options in Week 12. Elsewhere, it is Caleb Martin who has been impressive for the Heat this season. Though he is only averaging 21.9 MPG this season, he’s played at least 29 minutes in his last eight games. In December, Martin played eight games, averaging 13.3 points per contest on 56.5% from the field. He’s played at least 33 minutes in Miami’s first two games of 2022 and seems to have earned a steady uptick in minutes for the Heat likely for the rest of the season. 

SG/SF Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

He’s back, baby, and I couldn’t be more excited. You should be pumped too. Klay Thompson is scheduled to make his season debut and first NBA appearance since 2019 this Sunday. While his minutes will likely be restricted through at least Week 13, once Thompson is fully healthy, he will likely take Jordan Poole's spot in the starting lineup by Week 14. Poole has enjoyed an increased role this season largely due to Thompson’s absence. Once Thompson is playing 30+ MPG every night, Poole will likely be reduced to less than 30 MPG most nights for the rest of the season, unless Steve Kerr figures out a way to incorporate Thompson, Curry, and Poole into the starting five alongside Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. This is unlikely, however, which suggests that Poole’s role in the rotation will likely be modified to that of a sixth man. Poole is capable of catching fire coming off of the bench like Jordan Clarkson for the Utah Jazz and Carmelo Anthony for the Lakers.

Whether you are a Klay Thompson fan or not, it will be great to see him back in action this week.

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COVID-19-Stricken NBA Teams (5+ Cases)

Atlanta Hawks:

Indiana Pacers:

Memphis Grizzlies:

Washington Wizards:

In comparison to the long list of rosters in this section for the Week 11 Injury Report, this shows a significant improvement in terms of the virus' spread in the league. Hopefully, this section of the article will no longer be necessary by Week 13. 

Notable Players With COVID-19 & Expected Return Dates

PF Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas Mavericks

Entered Health and Safety Protocols Jan. 3; will remain out until at least Jan. 9. 

PF Jeff Green, Denver Nuggets

Entered Health and Safety Protocols Dec. 30; will remain out until at least Jan. 7. 

C Isaiah Stewart, Detroit Pistons

Cleared Health and Safety Protocols on Jan.4; remains DTD due to conditioning

C Ivica Zubac, Los Angeles Clippers

Entered Health and Safety Protocols Dec. 30; will remain out until at least Jan. 8. 

SG Luke Kennard, Los Angeles Clippers

Entered Health and Safety Protocols Jan. 1; will remain out until at least Jan. 8.

PG George Hill, Milwaukee Bucks

Entered Health and Safety Protocols Jan. 5, will be out until at least Jan. 10. 

SF Pat Connaughton, Milwaukee Bucks

Entered Health and Safety Protocols Jan. 4; will remain out until at least Jan. 10. 

SG Grayson Allen, Milwaukee Bucks

Entered Health and Safety Protocols Jan. 4; will remain out until at least Jan. 10. 

PG Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers

Entered Health and Safety Protocols Jan. 3; will remain out until at least Jan. 10. 

SF Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers

Entered Health and Safety Protocols Jan. 4; will remain out until at least Jan. 10. This is the second time this season that Thybulle has been placed in COVID-19 Protocols, although it is unclear whether or not Thybulle tested positive for the virus this second time around.*

PF Jae Crowder, Phoenix Suns

Cleared Health and Safety Protocols on Jan. 5; listed as DTD due to conditioning.

C JaVale McGee, Phoenix Suns

Cleared Health and Safety Protocols on Jan. 5; listed as DTD due to conditioning as well.

C Richaun Holmes, Sacramento Kings

Entered Health and Safety Protocols Jan. 1; will remain out until at least Jan. 7. 

SG Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz

Entered Health and Safety Protocols Jan. 4; will remain out until at least Jan. 10. 


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