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The Doctor’s Room: NBA Injuries and their Fantasy Impact

The Doctor’s Room will examine between four and six NBA injuries to prominent players on a weekly basis, detailing their specific ailments, prognosis, and expected return dates.

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NBA Injuries Update

Thomas Bryant

Ailment: Stress reaction on his right foot

Diagnosed: December 3

Expected return: late December

Fantasy benefactors: Davis Bertans, Ian Mahinmi

Thomas Bryant was given a three-week timetable on December 3, and since stress reactions are tricky injuries, expect the Wizards to take their time and bring him along slowly. Chris Miller reported on December 20 that he is out of the walking boot, an obvious step in the right direction. Washington is very thin in its frontcourt, with Moe Wagner, Rui Hachimura and Bryant all out. The latter was having a nice season, with 13.9 PPG, 0.6 3 PM, 8.5 REB, 2.7 AST, and 1.0 BLK.


Zion Williamson

Ailment: Torn lateral meniscus, right knee

Diagnosed: October 21 (6-8 weeks)

Expected return: Early-to-mid January

Fantasy benefactors: Jaxson Hayes, Kenrich Williams

The eight weeks were up on December 16, so as expected, the New Orleans Pelicans didn’t risk having him out there too early. The team’s EVP David Griffin stated that he has progressed to full weight-bearing activities on his right knee, but he’s still “a ways away” from returning. January is looking more and more likely, and don’t be surprised if it takes until the middle of the month. After all, knee injuries are delicate.


Luka Doncic

Ailment: Right ankle sprain

Diagnosed: December 15

Expected return: Late-December

Fantasy benefactors: Seth Curry, Jalen Brunson, Delon Wright

Head coach Rick Carlisle said that Doncic is responding well to treatment and is already out of his walking boot. He’s out for the rest of the week but is traveling with the team. Tim McMahon reported on December 15 that his return was expected “within the next couple of weeks,” and he will likely come back within that range when all is said and done. In fact, December 26 is looking very possible. Dallas needs him and his gaudy numbers: 29.3 PPG, 3.03 PM, 9.6 REB, 8.9 AST, and 1.2 STL.


Marcus Smart

Ailment: Left eye infection / right eye infection

Diagnosed: December 9

Expected return: Late-December

Fantasy benefactors: Brad Wanamaker, Grant Williams

Smart has been out since December 9 with a left eye infection, which would imply a quick return. However, the infection spread to his right eye, and his return is taking longer than anticipated. Although the Celtics’ medical staff said that Smart’s infection is “one of the worst they have ever seen,” eye injuries don’t sound like long-term issues. The guard was averaging 11.8 PPG, 2.1 3 PM, 3.4 REB, 4.6 AST, 1.3 STL and 0.5 BLK on the season.


Kyrie Irving

Ailment: Right shoulder impingement

Diagnosed: November 13, played through injury; out since November 15

Expected return: week-to-week

Fantasy benefactors: Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, Theo Pinson (he might get a longer look after the David Nwaba Achilles injury.)

Irving has been out since November 15 thanks to his troublesome right shoulder. While LeVert is about to return, Irving is further away. It doesn’t help that the Nets are so secretive about the exact details of the ailment, either. With Spencer Dinwiddie dealing and Caris LeVert expected to come back soon, the Nets will surely bring Irving along slowly to make sure his shoulder responds well to contact. The point guard was one of the league’s top player prior to getting hurt, averaging 28.5 PPG, 2.8 3PM, 5.4 REB, 7.2 AST and 1.1 STL.


Short-term Injuries

Caris LeVert

Ailment: Ligament damage in his right thumb

Diagnosed: November 14 (4-6 weeks)

Expected return: Any day now

Fantasy benefactors: Joe Harris, Theo Pinson, Taurean Prince

We are over the five-week mark, and LeVert is indeed making progress. Doctors cleared him for on-court work last week and he is on the verge of returning. The swingman is looking at 50-50 odds of playing in the Nets’ next game. He was averaging 16.8 PPG, 1.4 3PM, 5.0 REB, 4.0 AST, and 0.7 STL at the moment of getting hurt. With injuries affecting Kyrie Irving and now David Nwaba, the Nets badly need him.


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