NBA Injury Update: Who's In, Who's Out

NBA Injury Update: Who's In, Who's Out

The COVID-related absences are on a much-needed downward trend lately, and the league is starting to feel normal again ahead of next month's trade deadline. In the midst of that, we've had some notable injury returns and absences over the past couple weeks, so let's recap what they mean for fantasy.

Returns

CJ McCollum, Trail Blazers

After 18 missed games due to a collapsed lung, McCollum returned Monday against the Magic. He looked solid in his first game back, playing 28 minutes and posting 16 points on 13 shots, two assists, one rebound, one steal and one block, though he had four turnovers.

He and Anfernee Simons should see the bulk of Portland's usage with Damian Lillard out for the foreseeable future, and it won't be surprising to eventually see McCollum's usage at an all-time high. With Lillard off the court, McCollum averages 24.1 points and 4.3 assists per 36 minutes with a 31.1 percent usage rate.

Bam Adebayo, Heat

Adebayo underwent thumb surgery Dec. 7 to address a torn ligament in his thumb, and he made his return Monday against the Raptors. He looked like he didn't miss a step, as he played 32 minutes in the close victory and posted 14 points on 12 shots, nine rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block.

Surprisingly, Adebayo's return completely bumped Omer Yurtseven from the rotation. Yurtseven had been thriving in his absence with Dewayne Dedmon also sidelined, and fantasy managers who scooped up the rookie were rewarded

The COVID-related absences are on a much-needed downward trend lately, and the league is starting to feel normal again ahead of next month's trade deadline. In the midst of that, we've had some notable injury returns and absences over the past couple weeks, so let's recap what they mean for fantasy.

Returns

CJ McCollum, Trail Blazers

After 18 missed games due to a collapsed lung, McCollum returned Monday against the Magic. He looked solid in his first game back, playing 28 minutes and posting 16 points on 13 shots, two assists, one rebound, one steal and one block, though he had four turnovers.

He and Anfernee Simons should see the bulk of Portland's usage with Damian Lillard out for the foreseeable future, and it won't be surprising to eventually see McCollum's usage at an all-time high. With Lillard off the court, McCollum averages 24.1 points and 4.3 assists per 36 minutes with a 31.1 percent usage rate.

Bam Adebayo, Heat

Adebayo underwent thumb surgery Dec. 7 to address a torn ligament in his thumb, and he made his return Monday against the Raptors. He looked like he didn't miss a step, as he played 32 minutes in the close victory and posted 14 points on 12 shots, nine rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block.

Surprisingly, Adebayo's return completely bumped Omer Yurtseven from the rotation. Yurtseven had been thriving in his absence with Dewayne Dedmon also sidelined, and fantasy managers who scooped up the rookie were rewarded with consistent double-doubles. However, it seems like coach Erik Spoelstra is committed to playing the veteran Dedmon as a backup to Adebayo, making Yurtseven a drop in practically every league.

Klay Thompson, Warriors

Thompson made his return from a two-year absence Jan. 9, and he's appeared in five games. He has yet to play more than 23 minutes in a matchup, and that should gradually be ramped up as the season goes along, though it would be surprising if he played in any back-to-backs.

Wednesday against the Pistons, Thompson had multiple season highs, reaching 21 points, four assists and two steals. Overall, since returning, he's averaging 15.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 21.2 minutes. He's actually taking a career-high 23.7 shots per 36 minutes, though shooting just 37.7 percent. That should encourage fantasy managers that took a gamble on Thompson this season. Once he starts playing more and shooting better, he should put up great numbers.

Thomas Bryant, Wizards

Bryant returned from a torn ACL and has appeared in three games. He was relatively ineffective during his first two contests but looked like his old self Monday against the 76ers. In 16 minutes, he posted 15 points on 11 shots, five rebounds, one assist and one block.

Fantasy managers still hanging onto Daniel Gafford need to strongly reconsider that position. Gafford is averaging just 11.7 minutes since Bryant's return. Bryant provides a floor-spacing option at the five that neither Gafford nor Montrezl Harrell does, and it seems like coach Wes Unseld Jr. prefers Harrell out of the two. At some point, Bryant could start, and Gafford could be out of the rotation or on the trading block.

Absences

Kevin Durant, Nets

Durant suffered a sprained MCL during Saturday's game against the Pelicans. While he avoided something truly serious, he's still expected to be sidelined at least a month. Brooklyn has also been dealing with other injuries recently, so it's tough to gauge exactly how the rotation will shake out in his absence. At the very least, we know James Harden will take on even more usage.

As far as the other options, with Durant off the floor, Patty Mills, DeAndre' Bembry and Cam Thomas have seen the most total minutes. However, Kessler Edwards has been starting lately, and he saw 38 minutes in Brooklyn's most recent game. In the past four games, he's averaged 11.0 points, 3.0 assists and 1.0 blocks in 32.3 minutes. We should learn more about who might benefit before this upcoming waiver period.

Cam Reddish, Knicks

Reddish was dealt to the Knicks on Thursday, but he's yet to debut. He's dealing with an ankle injury and will be out "for a while," which makes it difficult to know exactly when we should expect him to suit up. When he does, it seems possible he could see more usage than he did in Atlanta.

With the Hawks, Reddish was vying for minutes and usage with plenty of other wings, and he development wasn't a priority. That could change with the Knicks, who aren't getting reliable contributions from many of their guards and wings. His exact role isn't clear, but it seems possible that he could end up garnering starter's minutes. Even if he doesn't, increased usage could boost his fantasy value.

Zach LaVine, Bulls

LaVine left Friday's loss to the Warriors with a knee injury. While it initially seemed bad, he was cleared of any serious injury. He's not expected to miss a ton of time, but Chicago figures to be cautious with him. Wednesday will mark his third straight missed game.

On a positive note, the Bulls will be getting back Alex Caruso, which will help fill some of the minutes left by LaVine. Other than that, rookie Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White should continue seeing increased usage. White's production has more staying power, and he was playing great even before LaVine was sidelined. He's scored in double-digits across the past 12 games, with averages of 17.4 points, 3.5 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 31.1 minutes.

Draymond Green, Warriors

Green is dealing with a calf injury that has kept him out since Jan. 6 and is expected to sideline him through early February. Fantasy managers are enjoying a productive season from Green, so this extended absence hurts. He's averaging 7.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks.

Rookie Jonathan Kuminga has seen the biggest bump in production with Green shelved. Over his past five contests, he's averaged 16.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 24.6 minutes. It's extremely encouraging that he's finding so many shots within the team's offense, and it could bode well for him becoming a more relied-upon option once Green is back.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's NBA Assistant Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, DraftKings Live and other platforms. Vince Carter and Alex both first dunked during their respective sophomore years of high school.
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