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Injury Impact

Western Conference Injuries

by Mike Gallagher

We're at the home stretch of fantasy leagues, and of course the injury report has grown as teams prepare for the lottery or get their team rested for a playoff run. Fantasy owners are going to need luck on their side to get a championship, and some back-to-back sets could limit the game counts for key players.

With that, let's take a look at each Western Conference team today based on the order of the standings and the Eastern Conference teams on Thursday. The B2Bs for each team are also mentioned and some other injury notes for each team with subsequent adds.

 

Golden State Warriors (B2B: Apr. 4-5, Apr. 9-10)

The Warriors are fairly healthy right now with the exception of Damian Jones. Coach Steve Kerr and the players have said that they want the No. 1 seed. On the other hand, Kerr said he is going to rest DeMarcus Cousins in the two back-to-back sets remaining. Since the break, Cousins has been pretty effective in the lineup, averaging 17.8 points, 8.9 boards, 3.5 boards, 1.8 blocks, 1.2 steals and 0.7 treys on a 53/22/79 shooting line.

The Warriors still have three games this week, four next week and two in the final half week, so Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are in good spots up until the last half week. Root for the Nuggets.

 

Denver Nuggets (B2B: Mar. 28-29, Apr. 2-3, Apr. 9-10)

Perhaps no team cares more about homecourt than the Nuggets. They’re an NBA-best 30-6 at home compared to just 19-17 on the road. The Nuggets are also finally healthy with the exception of Michael Porter Jr. The three remaining back-to-back sets could be something to watch, but of course their main guys are unlikely to be rested as they fight for the top seed.

 

Houston Rockets (B2B: Apr. 2-3)

The Rockets had some injury news this week with Gerald Green (groin) set to miss the next 7-10 days. Plus, Eric Gordon is a little banged up with a probable tag today due to a sprained ankle. Considering his injury history, the Rockets will likely be careful with him. This is good news for Danuel House. Kenneth Faried (knee) is also out, so that’ll put Nene behind Clint Capela. The Rockets have three games remaining this week, four next week and one in the final half week. James Harden is playing through issues to his neck and wrist, but his quest for MVP could keep him in the lineup. Chris Paul should be good for most games, but he may have to sit out in the back-to-back next week, which would drop him to three games.

 

Portland Trail Blazers (B2B Mar. 29-30, Apr. 9-10)

Monday night was a tough day for the Blazers with Jusuf Nurkic suffering a compound fracture to his tibia and fibula. He had been outstanding this season and was playing his best ball since the break. Hopefully, he can get on track to return at some point next season. Enes Kanter is going to be the main man in the middle with what could be minutes in the 27-32 range. He obviously needs to be added in all fantasy leagues. His numbers with Damian Lillard are still pretty strong, putting up per-36 stats of 18.7 points, 13.9 boards, 2.0 dimes, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks in a 127-minute sample. Meyers Leonard should move into the backup center role with a little more of Zach Collins, too.

The Blazers are still without C.J. McCollum (knee), and he is going to miss at least three more games. Hopefully, he can make it back for the playoffs and unfortunately his fantasy owners have to drop him unless they have an open IR spot. Seth Curry has been the clear beneficiary, averaging 18.7 points per game over the last three. Rodney Hood is also an option and his minutes could slightly be extended with the Nurkic news. Coach Terry Stotts had been using some small-ball four combos with Evan Turner and Hood out there at the forward spots. Curry should be owned in standard leagues while Hood could be worth a look, too.

 

Utah Jazz (B2B: Apr. 9-10)

The Jazz are playing some great ball right now with their league-best +19.1 net rating over the last eight games -- Bucks a distant second at +9.9. The Jazz are also fairly healthy with just Dante Exum on the sidelines. They do only have two more games this week before a four-game week starting on Apr. 1.

 

LA Clippers (B2B: Mar. 30-31)

Landry Shamet (ankle) suffered an impingement in the third quarter on Sunday and wasn’t able to return. He did go through some on-court drills at shootaround today and was moving around pretty well (video here). Coach Doc Rivers said that he thinks Shamet will sit out on Tuesday, so he will likely be a game-time call. If he’s out, there could be a few more minutes for Garrett Temple, Wilson Chandler and possibly Sindarius Thornwell. Rivers has talked about how he wanted to try out some newer lineups with more size, so this could give him an opportunity to do so.

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San Antonio Spurs (B2B: Apr. 2-3)

Besides the Dejounte Murray (ACL) injury that has kept him out all year, the Spurs are healthy right now. Their remaining back-to-back set is home against the Hawks and at Denver, so it wouldn’t be a total shock to see coach Gregg Popovich rest his guys in altitude. They have three more games this week and four next week.

 

Oklahoma City Thunder (B2B: Apr. 9-10)

OKC is still waiting on Andre Roberson (knee), but besides that they’re healthy. They get the Rockets for their last home game on Apr. 9, but it’s probably safe to assume they’ll sit guys in Milwaukee on Apr. 10 to end the season. Although, the race in the Western Conference is tight with four teams within one game of each other. That’s good news for Paul George, Russell Westbrook, Jerami Grant and Steven Adams.

 

Sacramento Kings (B2B: Mar. 30-31, Apr. 4-5)

The Kings are the lone Western Conference team that isn’t in the playoffs and has yet to be eliminated. They’re almost a lock to finish No. 9 in the Western Conference, but their pick is going to convey to the Celtics. Harry Giles (thigh) is going to miss his third game in a row tonight, which should keep Nemanja Bjelica in the first unit as a fantasy option. Marvin Bagley is rolling, as well.

 

Minnesota Timberwolves (B2B: Mar. 29-30, Apr. 9-10)

The Wolves are one of the more banged-up teams in the NBA with Jeff Teague (foot), Derrick Rose (elbow) and Robert Covington (knee) out for the season. Luol Deng (Achilles) is also likely done for the year, and Taj Gibson will likely miss his third game tonight with a doubtful tag. The Wolves have been playing Gorgui Dieng right behind Karl-Anthony Towns at the five with Keita Bates-Diop behind Dario Saric at the four. Coach Ryan Saunders has talked about playing the young guys more, so KBD could play a little more. Plus, Tyus Jones looks to be over his soreness and is getting huge minutes. KAT has some knee soreness, but it hasn’t affected him on the stat sheet.

 

Los Angeles Lakers (B2B: Mar. 26-27, Apr. 4-5)

The Lakers were knocked out of the playoffs on Friday night, but it didn’t affect their rotation on Sunday against the Kings. Earlier this month, coach Luke Walton hinted that he was going to play his younger guys after the Lakers are eliminated, but that has yet to happen. LeBron James (groin) is probable for today, but there’s a good chance he won’t play in Utah on Wednesday night. For what it’s worth, all four of the back-to-back games left are on national TV. Reggie Bullock (foot) is not going to play today while Mike Muscala (ankle) is questionable. It’ll be a tough spot to trust the Lakers in this B2B until we get a clear beat on what’s up with their rotation.

 

New Orleans Pelicans (B2B: None)

Jrue Holiday (abdomen) had surgery to repair a core muscle injury and he is out for the season.  He’ll be able to return to basketball activities in six weeks, so it shouldn’t affect his offseason schedule too much. Although, the Pelicans likely won’t be very good next year, so it may be tough to target Jrue in the second round next season. Anthony Davis (back) has been downgraded to doubtful with his lower back spasms. He might be droppable in fantasy leagues. With him out, it should be a mixture of Cheick Diallo, Jahlil Okafor and Christian Wood to fill his minutes. Frank Jackson and Kenrich Williams should see some big minutes while it looks like Stanley Johnson should get minutes off the bench.

 

Memphis Grizzlies (B2B: Mar. 30-31, Apr. 9-10)

The Grizzlies are in one of the more interesting spots in the standings. They have a top-eight protected pick that could go to the Celtics, and they currently are sitting in the eighth spot, tied with the Wizards. They also have a home-home set coming up on Apr. 5 and 7 against the Mavs, who sit in the No. 6 lottery position. They also have a list of players who are unlikely to play again this year: Jaren Jackson Jr. (quad), C.J. Miles (foot), Kyle Anderson (shoulder) and Dillon Brooks (toe). Avery Bradley (wrist) and Joakim Noah (knee) may also be shut down while Mike Conley (thigh) sat out on Monday for a minor injury, and was rested on Friday. Delon Wright is locked in after his 13-dime Monday and should be relied upon in all leagues. The Grizzlies figure to give Bruno Caboclo some extra run after his career-high 24 points on Monday. If the Grizzlies do keep Conley out, that would set up Tyler Dorsey, and he’ll get at least one game with the upcoming B2B. Jonas Valanciunas continues to crush.

 

Dallas Mavericks (B2B:  Mar. 31-Apr. 1)

Like the Grizzlies, the Mavs have a top-five protected pick that could go to the Hawks from the Luka Doncic and Trae Young deal. Luka is questionable for today and could miss part of the upcoming back-to-back this week. The Mavs have lost Tim Hardaway Jr. (leg) for the year, which has put Maxi Kleber in a better spot. Jalen Brunson also has shown he should be worth owning and Justin Jackson could get more run in the first unit, but he doesn’t do much besides score. Trey Burke has also been in the rotation. The Mavs did say over the summer they wanted to convey the pick, but they likely didn’t think they’d struggle this much this year.

 

Phoenix Suns (B2B: None)

The new NBA lottery system may have helped keep some of the Suns in their lineup. That’s been great news for Devin Booker in fantasy with his 59-point game on Monday, and he should be out there going forward. The Suns have a 4.5-game cushion to keep their top lottery odds for 14%, so they don't need to tank to secure their chances. The Suns are not going get Kelly Oubre (thumb) back, and it’s possible we don’t see Josh Jackson (ankle) or Tyler Johnson (knee) for a bit. They’re both doing on-court stuff, but we’re kind of in the dark on a return date. Besides Mikal Bridges, it’s tough to trust other Suns forwards while De’Anthony Melton, Jimmer Fredette and Elie Okobo have been hit or miss.

 

Mike Gallagher
Mike Gallagher has covered fantasy hoops for eight years and this season is his second with Rotoworld. You can find him on Twitter talking about a player's shots at the rim.