Anthony Davis is back from his finger injury, playing basketball games for the New Orleans Pelicans despite the fact that he is no longer part of the franchise’s future. This is a weird situation for all involved, and it is particularly nonsensical from the Pelicans’ perspective. Anyway, the point here is that he is healthy, as are Caris LeVert, Kevin Love and Danilo Gallinari, who all returned to the court recently.
Notes on a couple of other injuries: Clint Capela wants to play right after the All-Star break and Kyrie Irving is considered day-to-day with a strained right knee.
We have every single NBA injury chronicled here and updated often to let you know who is in or out each night and beyond. But this page will look at the most important injuries in the NBA and how they are affecting teams and players moving forward.
NBA’s biggest injuries
Feb. 11 update: The Celtics star injured his right knee in the second quarter of their catastrophic 123-112 loss against the Clippers on Saturday. Boston led by 20 when Irving left the game. This meltdown led to forward Marcus Morris blasting the team in the locker room, announcing that it was just a knee strain and Irving will be listed as day-to-day. He will miss their game against the Sixers on Tuesday, however., even in wins. They got some good news the next day, though,
Capela said Sunday that he hopes to get back in the lineup immediately after the All-Star break, which would give the Rockets 25 games to try to find the rhythm they had last year before the playoffs begin. They have gone 8-5 without Capela, and rank 22nd in defensive rating since he went down. They have been making do with Kenneth Faried, P.J. Tucker and Nene playing center, but if they’re going anywhere in the postseason, they need Capela’s vertical spacing and rim protection.
Wall’sis so upsetting that I don’t want to say much about it. It’ll be about a year before he can play again, and this changed the direction of the franchise — owner Ted Leonsis went back on his word and dumped Otto Porter on trade deadline day. By the time Wall returns, the roster could look completely different. One positive to come out of this, though: He’s going to .
Harris is officially listed as day-to-day, but Denver coach Michael Malone said Sunday that he likely won’t be back until after the All-Star break. Harris hasn’t played since Jan. 30, and he missed time earlier this season with a hamstring injury, too. In general, the Nuggets have been extremely resilient this season, and they have lots of depth in the backcourt, but they’ve lost three games in a row now, including a nightmarish night in Detroit last Monday.
The newest Buck said he could come back as soon as Monday’s game in Chicago, but he’s listed as out. Assuming that doesn’t change, he will either make his Milwaukee debut on Wednesday in Indiana or after the All-Star break against Boston. Mirotic hasn’t played since Jan. 23, and there will be a fair amount of attention on him when he is back on the court. Bucks general manager Jon Horst was widely praised for acquiring Mirotic at the deadline, as he seems like a perfect fit in their system, even if he turns out to just be a rental.
Thomas played some 5-on-5 on Sunday, but he will not be activated for Denver’s game against Miami on Monday. He could come back on Wednesday against Sacramento, otherwise he will return after the All-Star break. I have no idea how the Nuggets will integrate him into the rotation given how deep the roster is and, specifically, how many good guards they employ, but I sincerely hope that Thomas is actually healthy this time and has an opportunity to get in a rhythm before the playoffs start.
Fultz got the fresh start he wanted with a trade to Orlando, and team president Jeff Weltman did not say whether or not the guard will play this season. The Magic front office gave up Jonathon Simmons, a first-round pick and a second-round pick in order to take a chance on him, and they will pay him $9.7 million next season and, if they pick up his fourth-year option, $12.3 million the season after that. If he can get healthy and regain the shooting ability he showed in college, all of that will be a small price to pay, but those are massive ifs.
White has missed the Spurs’ last four games, all losses, and they particularly miss him on defense. San Antonio’s defensive rating with White on the bench this season is 112.3 points per 100 possessions, which is about the same as Washingon’s; with him on the court, it is 105.8 points per 100 possessions, which is about the same as Boston’s. He is expected to be out until after the All-Star break.
Toronto announced Monday that VanVleet will be out for three weeks with a thumb injury. The team called it “partial ligament injury,” and he will wear a splint while sidelined. This is a little worrying for the Raptors because they were just getting healthy and they haven’t forgotten how much they missed VanVleet when he was out of the lineup and then playing at less than full strength in last year’s playoffs. The good news, though, is that Jeremy Lin is reportedly on his way to Toronto, and this should give him an opportunity to get comfortable in his new situation.
Feb. 3 update: Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said that the Porzingis-Doncic duo reminds him of Dirk Nowtizki and Steve Nash, “only these guys are taller.” As exciting as this sounds, and as enthused as the Mavericks must be, we all have to be patient. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the plan is to “hold him and get him ready” for the 2019-20 season, which is a bit surprising considering they have no real incentive to tank. (Dallas’ first-round pick is owed to Atlanta as long as it doesn’t fall in the top five, and it is difficult to imagine the team falling so far in the standings that the pick lands that high.) There’s nothing wrong with being cautious with a 23-year-old coming off a serious injury, though, and this kind of statement will shut down speculation for the time being. If the Mavs’ training staff determines he’s ready to play sometime in March or early April, they could give their fans a pleasant surprise.
Covington was having a Defensive Player of the Year-caliber season before this dang bone bruise, and the Wolves have gone 8-7 without him. Rookie Josh Okogie continues to start in his absence, but the most interesting development in Minnesota recently is the solid production of veteran forward Luol Deng, who has been reinserted into the rotation by new coach Ryan Saunders. That likely wouldn’t have happened if Covington was healthy. As far as a potential return goes, the Wolves have been light on details, but he took some standstill jumpers after practice on Friday, so that’s something, I guess.
The Celtics beat the Thunder on Sunday, but, because they can’t have nice things this season, also lost a key rotation player. Baynes sat out against OKC and said that he’ll be out a few weeks because of a left foot contusion. He had been playing through pain, but said this was no longer an option because, after an MRI, it was determined that he would be at risk for a stress fracture. Baynes averages a modest 5.7 points and 4.3 rebounds, but Boston has a plus-10.5 net rating with him on the court this season, a reflection of the fact he’s one of the league’s most reliable reserves. Baynes has had a rough go of it this year — he also missed 16 games with a hand injury — but, in the big picture, the Celtics just need him to be healthy come playoff time. You can look forward to a lot of Daniel Theis while he’s sidelined, and maybe a bit of the Time Lord, too. Robert Williams III missed the Thunder game with a sore back, but it’s not considered a serious issue.
Chandler had been playing quite well before straining his right quad in the second half of the Sixers’ huge win against the Warriors on Thursday, but now he’ll be out two-to-three weeks. He will be re-evaluated after the All-Star break, and until then their depth will be tested even more than normal. Mike Muscala started in Chandler’s place on Saturday in a loss to Sacramento, but man, this team could sure use another versatile forward. I am curious to see if Philadelphia, an obvious buyer at the trade deadline, will manage to acquire someone who ends up stealing Chandler’s starting spot.
Melton sprained his right ankle in a loss to the Blazers on Jan. 24, and fellow rookie Elie Okobo has taken his place in the starting lineup. The Suns expect him to miss about three weeks, which means he won’t be back in action until after the All-Star break. Phoenix has lost 10 straight games, but Melton made the team a bit more interesting with his perimeter defense.
The guard has been out of the lineup since spraining his ankle on Jan. 5 in Detroit, which means he has watched the vast majority of Utah’s turnaround from the sideline. Without Exum, most of the playmaking responsibility has fallen to Ricky Rubio and the rejuvenated Donovan Mitchell, but Utah has been linked to Mike Conley in advance of the trade deadline. I am sure that just about every Jazz fan has wondered how the Grizzlies value Exum.
Jan. 26 update: Ugggggggh. What is there to say here? Oladipo suffered an awful, season-ending injury, and the Pacers obviously won’t be the same without him. Of course, they should remain a hard-playing, tough, cohesive team, but the idea of them potentially upsetting one of the East’s elite teams just doesn’t seem realistic anymore. If there was ever a time for Tyreke Evans to recapture the consistent production he had last season in Memphis, though, it is now.
The Sixth Man of the Year candidate scored 29 points in Brooklyn’s 114-110 victory against Orlando on Wednesday, and then he found out he’d have to sit for a while. He will have surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right thumb on Monday, which comes with a rehabilitation timetable of three-to-six weeks. This is a major setback for a team that has been rolling, and it means there will be more pressure on D’Angelo Russell to continue his hot shooting. The Nets have already proven to be a resilient bunch, though, with the way they handled Caris LeVert’s injury and an eight-game losing streak that featured numerous late-game collapses. Brooklyn is 19-5 since that streak.
Ball played some of the best all-around basketball of his young career in the weeks preceding his injury, which must make this all the more frustrating. He is expected to miss three-to-five weeks, but hey, it could have been worse — Ball told reporters that he initially thought he’d broken his ankle. It is kind of amazing that the Lakers will have played 57 games by the All-Star break, with their two point guards — Ball and Rajon Rondo — healthy at the same time for 14 of them.
As if the Bulls’ season needed to get more depressing. Carter had surgery on his injured thumb last week, which means he will be out for 8-12 weeks. In all likelihood, this means his (mostly great) rookie season is over. Carter’s averages of 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 25.2 minutes don’t quite capture how promising he has looked — the guy is 19 years old and plays with the maturity of a seasoned veteran. Chicago is a total mess, and the team is a significantly less interesting total mess without Carter on the court.
The Cavaliers are not going to win many games, but they would at least be more competitive if they had more proven NBA players in the lineup. Thompson is unquestionably one of those, but he will be out for about two more weeks, the team announced on Friday. It is a dark time in Cleveland.
Warren’s transformation into a 3-point shooter has been a wonderful, unexpected surprise this season, but Phoenix is still adrift and he still doesn’t make plays for others or defend at a level that inspires confidence. He’s out two-to-three weeks with a bone bruise in his ankle, and Josh Jackson is starting in his place for now, with Kelly Oubre playing a featured role on the second unit. If the Suns intend to keep Oubre around, I wouldn’t be surprised if we started hearing Warren’s name come up in trade chatter.
Jan. 18 update: Rick Carlisle called the 34-year-old’s season-ending injury “gut-wrenching,” and this is especially true because, despite his age, Barea had continued to run the pick-and-roll on the second unit this season the same way Mavericks fans have come to expect. Dallas is fortunate enough to have plenty of guard depth — even without Dennis Smith Jr., whose status with the team appears uncertain, rookies Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson are more than capable of running the show — but this is still a real bummer. Barea means a lot to Dallas, and, before tearing his Achilles tendon, he said he wants to play at least two more seasons.
Jan 11 update: Brooks’ season is over after just 18 games — he ruptured a ligament in his right big toe last Saturday in San Antonio, and had to have season-ending surgery. This is obviously a disappointing development for a player who had an encouraging rookie season and just hasn’t been able to stay on the floor this year.
Dec. 29 update: Mbah a Moute’s sore left knee was not seen as a big deal when it started bothering him two months ago, but it wound up derailing his season. He tweeted on Monday that he will be back “soon,” but the Clippers have yet to officially update his status. When he does return, they will be an even more versatile team than they already are, but coach Doc Rivers will have an even tougher time trying to balance their rotation.
Dragic had Heat are 22nd in net rating, but have outscored opponents by 3.5 points per 100 possessions with Dragic on the court. The good news, however, is that they have won their last three games without him. Their defense is good enough for them to turn this season around.after only appearing in two games in the last month. This will keep him out an additional two months, which is rough news but at least gets rid of the ambiguity about when he might come back and save the day. On the season, the
Reporters watched Roberson’s post-practice work on Nov. 29 and came away impressed, and Thunder coach Billy Donovan said he has “been on a really good track,” per The Oklahoman‘s Erik Horne. A day later, the team announced he’d suffered a setback in his recovery, as an MRI revealed an avulsion fracture, and he would be re-evaluated in six weeks. Oklahoma City deserves all sorts of credit for having the best defense in the whole league without Roberson, who is a Defensive Player of the Year-caliber stopper when healthy.
Jones had surgery on Wednesday, and he might be out for the remainder of the season. The Warriors announced he will “begin the rehab process” six weeks after the surgery. Jones had started in 22 of his 24 games this season, but only averaged 17.4 minutes — Golden State takes a platoon approach to the center position. If he’s done for the year, Golden State will rely on Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell in addition to the still-sidelined Cousins as its traditional 5s. Of course, its best look in the playoffs will probably remain Green playing “center” with Kevin Durant next to him in the frontcourt.
Nov. 29 update: Howard now needs back surgery on two discs, per Stadium’s Shams Charania, and the optimistic timeline is set at eight weeks. It is tempting to say that the Wizards, an awful defensive and rebounding team, could use Howard in the lineup. This, however, ignores that they have actually been worse on both ends with Howard on the court this season. If he ever eventually helps Washington, it will be because he addresses the injuries that have bothered him all season — rather than accompany the team to New Orleans on Wednesday, he went to Los Angeles to see a nerve specialist to try to do just that.
The mysterious Porter continues to be out indefinitely despite saying he was pain-free in the summer. The 20-year-old was only available to the Nuggets because he had two back surgeries, so he should be seen as a long-term, low-risk, high-upside play. There is no meaningful analysis to be done here, but Denver would love to look brilliant for taking him at No. 14 in the draft if/when he is healthy down the road.
This sucks so much for both him and the Spurs — Murray is the their best defender, and they have been 23rd in defensive rating. He was supposed to take the leap this season, but that went out the window when he crumpled to the floor in a preseason game. On offense, San Antonio has relied on DeMar DeRozan’s playmaking even more than it planned to, and Bryn Forbes has stepped into a starting role at point guard. We will soon find out if Lonnie Walker can earn a role in the rotation, too.
The Bulls have been hit with a whole bunch of injuries early in the season, from Markkanen’s elbow to Bobby Portis‘ knee and Kris Dunn’s knee. Valentine is on this list because he is done for the year after undergoing what the team called an “ankle stabilization procedure” on Tuesday — his injury was initially described as a moderate ankle sprain in September.
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