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The Doctor’s Room: Load Management Trying to Derail Your Season

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. Here’s last week’s edition. This week, the focus will be on load management.

In this week’s edition, LeBron James is nursing a groin injury and Khris Middleton is battling a minor neck issue. Both stars figure to rest a lot in the next few weeks as their teams may implement load management given their huge leads in their respective conferences.

Jalen Brunson has a torn labrum and his season may be over, while Kemba Walker is nearing a return to the court.

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NBA Injuries Update – Load Management, Fantasy’s Worst Enemy

Khris Middleton

Ailment: Neck soreness

Diagnosed: February 28

Expected return: Day to day

Fantasy benefactors: Donte DiVincenzo, Pat Connaughton

Khris Middleton was added to the injury report on Friday (with the questionable label) with neck soreness, fresh off putting 62 points in the basket in his last two games. In a matter of a couple of hours, the Milwaukee Bucks ruled him out for the game. The ailment looks minor and he should be out there in the next game. The Bucks are 9 games ahead of the second place in the Eastern Conference and load management may be a common occurrence among the team’s stars in the upcoming weeks. Donte DiVincenzo should see a boost in value, with Pat Connaughton playing a bit more, as well. Middleton is having a very good season: 21.1 PPG, 2.4 3PM, 6.3 RPG, 4.2 APG and 1.0 SPG.


LeBron James

Ailment: Sore groin

Diagnosed: February 26

Expected return: Day to day

Fantasy benefactors: Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris

LeBron James, currently nursing a sore groin, missed Thursday’s game at Golden State and is questionable for today’s game, as well. The fact that he is still on the injury report tells us that he is actually hurt and we aren’t just talking about load management. However, make no mistake: if this were a crucial tilt, or if the Lakers were fighting for a playoff spot, Bron would likely play. Los Angeles is 5.5 games above the second-place Denver Nuggets in the West, though, so James could rest a lot in the upcoming weeks no matter his stance on the matter. If he doesn’t suit up, Kyle Kuzma’s stock will rise, and Markieff Morris would see more minutes. The team’s point guards would also handle the ball a lot more if LeBron, who is currently averaging 25.5 PPG, 2.2 3PM, 7.7 RPG, 10.6 APG and 1.2 SPG, doesn’t play.


Kemba Walker

Ailment: sore left knee

Diagnosed: Mid-February

Expected return: Next week

Fantasy benefactors: Marcus Smart, Brad Wanamaker, Grant Williams

According to coach Brad Stevens, Walker didn’t practice on Friday. He has been ruled out for today’s game and has already missed five contests. However, he is getting closer to coming back to the court. Stevens did say that the guard “will ramp up over the weekend with next week as target return.” He may have a shot at playing on Tuesday, but if he doesn’t, Marcus Smart, Brad Wanamaker, and Grant Williams will play more minutes. Kemba is averaging 21.8 PPG, 3.4 3PM, 4.1 RPG, 5.0 APG, and 1.0 SPG.


Jalen Brunson

Ailment: torn labrum in right shoulder

Diagnosed: February 28

Expected return: Week to week, possibly out for the season

Fantasy benefactors: Delon Wright, Seth Curry

Believe it or not, a team like the Dallas Mavericks can also apply the load management system. They are seventh in the West, but the ninth qualified team, the New Orleans Pelicans, are 9.5 games away. Still, that may apply later down the road with stars such as Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, as Jalen Brunson’s injury is, indeed, serious. The guard confirmed he has a torn labrum in his right shoulder and has no set timetable for his return. He may be out for the season, or he could tough it out and play through it, though that seems unlikely. Delon Wright and Seth Curry will be the beneficiaries of this development. Brunson is currently averaging 8.2 PPG, 0.8 3PM, 2.4 RPG, 3.3 APG and 0.4 SPG, but has excelled when given playing time.

Like our coverage on the latest NBA injuries? Then you’ll definitely want to check out our Seven-Day Player Rankings and  2019-20 Fantasy Basketball Schedule Grid.

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