The injury reports around the NBA have been getting out of control and things only got worse on Thursday, as Nikola Jokic and John Collins both left their games with nasty looking injuries. Hassan Whiteside is also looking at some time on the shelf and Myles Turner popped back up on the injury report, so I’ll break down the fantasy implications for each player in this Dose. If you have any additional questions, you can find me on Twitter here!
Myles Turner (knee) questionable for Friday
Turner missed seven games this season with a concussion and also played through a minor ankle issue recently, but he was back on the injury report on Thursday with right knee soreness. Turner did have some concerns about his knees at Texas, but this is the first time that it’s been an issue in three seasons of NBA basketball. Coach Nate McMillan or Turner didn’t speak with the media on Thursday, so we’re completely in the dark regarding the severity. For now, we’ll have to wait until Friday’s morning shootaround until we get a real update.
If this turns out to be nothing, Turner’s fantasy arrow will be pointing straight up after a slow start to the season. He’s still getting the job done on defense and is leading the NBA with 2.53 blocks per game and has the best block rate at 7.1 percent, and while his rebounding could be better, his rebounding percentage is on pace to be a career-high.
His offense is another story, though. Turner has been settling for too many jumpers, as nearly 55% of his shots are beyond 16 feet. It’s very possible that his lack of aggression around the basket has something to do with his concussion, as the effects of that injury lingered long after he returned. Once his shot selection improves, Turner will offer legitimate first-round upside and his fantasy owners should be very excited about his outlook. Let’s just hope we get good news regarding his knee on Friday morning.
If he does miss time, look for Domantas Sabonis to be the primary beneficiary. In the seven games that Turner missed early this season, Sabonis was a stud with 12.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.2 dimes. Coach Nate McMillan has also kept his word about using him next to Turner for stretches, so he's worth owning no matter what.
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Hassan Whiteside (knee) out at least 1-2 weeks
Whiteside recently described his knee injury as a “serious” issue, so it’s no surprise that the Heat are going to shut him down for a bit until he gets back (or close) to 100 percent. "It's really bothering me," Whiteside said. "We're going to figure it out. We're going to figure it out when we get back to Miami and figure out what's wrong.” The Heat are calling the injury a left knee bone bruise for now, but it sounds like they may run some additional tests to be safe. He is going to begin rehab immediately, so I guess you could view that as a sign that the Heat aren’t too concerned.
Still, this injury has been lingering since opening night, so I wouldn’t count on him beating his timetable. With Whiteside out, two players stand out to me as solid pickups and that’s Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo (James Johnson should already be owned everywhere).
Bam just recently entered the rotation and really impressed in his last two games, averaging 14.0 points. 5.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.5 blocks in 24.5 minutes per game. He did play 31 minutes vs. the Knicks, but the lopsided score was a factor and I’m expecting him to hang around 24-26 minutes with Olynyk closer to 30 (Olynyk will play some PF to go with his center minutes). Still, that’s a decent workload and I think Bam can realistically post around 10 points and six boards with a trickle of steals and blocks while Whiteside is out.
Olynyk is the better pickup in my opinion and offers more upside as evidenced by his big game vs. New York with Whiteside on the shelf. He put up 18 points, five boards, two assists, one block and three triples in 25 minutes, and he would’ve played more if he didn’t have five fouls. I really like both players as streaming options on Friday vs. Charlotte and Sunday vs. Golden State, but I do need to warn you that the Heat only have two games on the schedule next week before a 4-game Week 9.
Nikola Jokic rolls ankle on Thursday
The Joker sprained his left ankle on Thursday and it didn’t look good at all (see for yourself here). He did stay around to hit his free throws, but limped straight back to the locker room after that never to return. He underwent X-rays, and while we don’t know the results, they were likely negative considering the Nuggets did call the injury a “sprain.” The Nuggets are likely going to have him undergo an MRI, but coach Mike Malone didn’t sound too concerned post game and said he hoped he would be available on Saturday vs. the Lakers. To summarize, they don’t know the severity yet and we may not get an update until Friday evening.
If Jokic does miss time, pretty much every rotation player will get a bump such as Gary Harris, Jamal Murray and Will Barton, but Kenneth Faried and Mason Plumlee will likely see the biggest jump in minutes.
Faried had a 14-point, 13-rebound double-double and has played really well over the past two weeks, so he’s my preferred pickup if you have a roster spot. He would likely see minutes at both the four and five if Jokic misses time, so he could easily eclipse 30 minutes. I’m more cautious about adding Mason Plumlee because he’s been limited by a core strain for about two weeks, so I’m not sure if he can handle a big workload. On a side note, Wilson Chandler can also be seen as a potential winner if he can shake his back issue.
Update: After posting this, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the X-rays on Jokic’s ankle were negative and that the Nuggets have "cautious optimism” that it’s just a sprain. I still don’t think he’ll play this weekend, but we’ll know for sure once he’s evaluated again on Friday (likely an MRI).
John Collins leaves game with shoulder injury
Collins has been one of the top rookies in real life and in fantasy, so it would be a huge buzzkill if he has to miss time. Collins ran into a screen with four minutes left in the fourth quarter and was in obvious pain, and it looked like his left arm was just dangling after the collision. Hopefully it’s just a stinger, but he left the arena with his arm in a sling. The Hawks didn’t provide an update after the game and coach Mike Budenholzer said the team is still evaluating him, so his owners will have to hold their breath for a while.
With Dewayne Dedmon (leg) already out for 3-6 weeks, a potential Collins absence would leave the Hawks incredibly thin up front. Maybe the Hawks sign someone, but if not, Ersan Ilyasova comes to mind as the short-term winner. He’s been borderline awful prior to Thursday, but he stepped up vs. the Cavaliers with a season-high 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting, three rebounds, four steals, one block and four 3-pointers in 30 minutes. Luke Babbitt could also be asked to play a larger role and was worked back slowly on Thursday after a three-game absence, but he’s basically just a one-trick pony for his 3-pointers. To be clear, I’m not excited about either Ilyasova or Babbitt.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to start taking Wes Johnson seriously. Sure, Danilo Gallinari (glute) will likely be back at some point in December, but he will play mostly at the four with Blake Griffin (knee) out. Johnson has been stepping up for a depleted Clippers’ team and had another sneaky good game on Thursday with 11 points, three boards, two blocks and two steals. He did miss all five of his 3-pointers, but he logged 33 minutes which was the third most on the team. Johnson is widely considered a bust and has never lived up to his potential, but better late than never I guess. Over his last seven games, Johnson is posting 12.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.7 blocks, 1.5 steals and 2.1 triples. Those defensive stats are gold in category fantasy leagues.
Alec Burks stepped up in place of Rodney Hood (ankle) again on Thursday, as he went off for a season-high 28 points with seven rebounds, five assists, three steals, one block and four 3-pointers in 29 minutes. Hood has always had issues with durability and it sounds like he could miss more time considering he was ruled out so early. Burks had a 14- and a 15-point game in the past week and has played 20+ minutes in four straight games, so he’s officially on the radar as a short-term pickup.
Kevin Durant (ankle), Stephen Curry (hand), Andre Iguodala (knee) and David West (knee) were upgraded to probable for Friday's game against the Magic and they all practiced, but Klay Thompson (ankle) remains questionable and did not practice. Durant said his ankle feels "great," but Curry's injury is expected to "linger" for a little while. Coach Steve Kerr did say he might rest some players during the back-to-back set on Sunday and Monday, so pretty much all these guys are candidates to miss a game. I talked about Jordan Bell as a sneaky pickup in today's Roundtable column with the Warriors being so cautious with their studs, so give that a look here (link).