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Fantasy Basketball Injury Round-Up Week 2

Week 2 came with many-a-injuries to high-level fantasy players. Here’s a roundup of how long of an absence to expect with recommendations of what to do meanwhile and teammates to potentially pick up. For longer-term injuries for players like Khris Middleton, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Bogdan Bogdanovic, see the week 1 round-up.

Fantasy Basketball Injury Round-Up

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

Projected Return Date: Day-to-day

Zion Williamson left the game on Sunday after taking a hard fall and has so far missed a single game. While an injury-prone player, Williamson isn’t expected to miss a significant number of games with this one. Meanwhile, his minutes will be split between Naji Marshall and Larry Nance Jr., with neither getting a boost into fantasy relevance for most leagues.

Recommendation: If you can afford the risk, Williamson might be a buy-low target.

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

Projected Return Date: Early-mid November

Lillard’s calf strain will be reevaluated in 1-2 weeks. While that doesn’t mean he will return in 1-2 weeks, Lillard indicated to the media that he would be playing were we in the playoffs so the injury doesn’t seem to be too serious. Justice Winslow seems to be the favorite for the starting job while Lillard is gone, with Nassir Little and Shaedon Sharpe also as options. Suffice to say, none of them will come close to Lillard’s production. Instead look for Jusuf Nurkic, Anfernee Simons, and Jeramy Grant to get all-around boosts to their stat lines.

Recommendation: Surely, the owner in your league isn’t willing to part with Lillard. But if the injury drags on… maybe?

Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers

Projected Return Date: Early November

What was always the most likely scenario is becoming reality – Kawhi Leonard is missing games due to stiffness in his surgically-repaired right knee. In the two games he’s played so far, Leonard has averaged 21 minutes of playing time with a stat line to rank him outside the top 100 in 9-category leagues on a per-game basis. With superstar teammate Paul George also injury-prone, look for Reggie Jackson, Norman Powell, and Terance Mann to pick up the minutes on the wing. Marcus Morris is currently the team’s second-highest scorer with a borderline top-50 fantasy game.

Recommendation: Selling low is such bad advice that I’m not going to give it. But there is no indication that this will get better any time soon and the reality is that Leonard is borderline unusable in many fantasy formats.

Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers

Projected Return Date: October 30

Garland got an eyeful of finger in the season opener and has been out of action since. It looks like he’ll miss one more and will return on Sunday against the Knicks. With Garland returning, expect Donovan Mitchell’s 7.3 assists per game to lower to a number more in line with his career averages. Isaac Okoro and Dean Wade also had an extended run with neither really making a significant fantasy impact and are less likely to make one with Garland back.

Recommendation: No reason to change any expectations for Garland for his season re-start.

Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans

Projected Return Date: November 4 at the earliest

Ingram will miss at least the next three games with a concussion. Trey Murphy has been a revelation as the Ingram and Williamson replacement with a top-30 per-game average performance. That’s unlikely to be sustainable for the whole season but even with Ingram and Williamson back, Murphy should see a fantasy-relevant role on the team going forward.

Recommendation: Get Trey Murphy.

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