Week 6 rounding up injuries in fantasy basketball
Welcome to another roundup of the most impactful injury news from fantasy basketball from the past week. As usual, the news will be paired with actionable fantasy tips that will hopefully help land one of your league mates. This week’s edition will include updates on NBA stars Joel Embiid, Damian Lillard and Paul George, among others. For tips on Kawhi Leonard, you can read the Week 5 preview.
Fantasy Basketball Rounding Up Injuries
Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers
Estimated return date: Day after day
George left last Saturday’s game with knee pain and has since been diagnosed with a hamstring strain. The Clippers have not given an official time frame. The injury itself, historically, can mean a period of rest from days to months. Although there are no indications that the injury is too serious, an extended break for George would not be a surprise either. While George (and Kawhi Leonard) are out, check out the Clippers’ secondary: Morris, Jackson, Powell and Mann. Terance Mann, in particular, seems to have settled into George’s role quite nicely.
Recommendation: Terance Mann is the man for now.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Estimated return date: December
Embiid was diagnosed with a midfoot sprain in his left foot. The injury, on average, meant about a month’s absence from basketball. Fortunately, this has not coincided with Embiid’s injury history. With half the Sixers roster seemingly injured, look to the reserves to pad the stat sheet. Shake Milton and De’Anthony Melton led the team in scoring in their last game. Tyrese Maxey and James Harden are not expected to play anytime soon.
Recommendation: Take De’Anthony Melton if available. Then try Shake Milton. Then Paul Reed, Montrezl Harrell and Georges Niang.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Estimated return date: Early to mid December
Lillard was diagnosed with a first-degree strain of the soleus muscle of his right calf. He will be re-evaluated in one to two weeks. Considering the player’s age and injury history, I would expect him to be absent at the longer end of the projection. While Lillard is gone, Anfernee Simmons will take over the reigns of the Blazers’ offense. Shaedon Sharpe could be relevant in deeper leagues, but it’s just as likely that Lillard’s minutes could be split evenly between Sharpe, Justise Winslow and Nassir Little, so none of them are relevant in most fantasy leagues.
Recommendation: Keep an eye on the situation.
Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic
Estimated return date: November 25
The #1 overall draft pick, Banchero, looks to finally be returning to the Magic after missing the last 7 games with a sprained ankle. Before the injury, he ranked around the top 60 in 8-cat leagues and the top 100 in 9-cat leagues. Banchero may need a game or two to return to form, but is expected to take over as the Magic’s No. 1 option. That would mean getting minutes and/or using more players on the roster offensively – Franz Wagner, Bol Bol, Chuma Okeke and Jalen Suggs.
Recommendation: Okeke should be relegation safe in most leagues.
Robert Williams III, Boston Celtics
Estimated return date: Before Christmas
Rumors out of Beantown indicate that Williams is expected to return to NBA action by Christmas. He is currently recovering from knee surgery. The impact he could have upon his return cannot be underestimated. In the 2021-22 season, I had him as the 12th best player in 9-cat leagues due to great blocks, field goals and rebounds. It would take some time to get going again, but if all goes well Williams will make it through the fantasy playoffs.
Recommendation: Williams is certainly not on waivers in your league. It might be instructive to look to cash in on Al Horford on the trade market.
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