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Fantasy Basketball Injuries to Monitor (21-22)

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Sep 8, 2021

As you approach fantasy basketball drafts, it’s important to be mindful of injuries and player availability as the season opens. Listed below are the most notable such injuries to monitor for the 2021-22 campaign.

Top-150 Player Rankings with Notes >>

Kawhi Leonard (SF – LAC)
Leonard underwent successful surgery on a torn ACL in July and likely won’t be available until at least the All-Star Break in February. That leaves roughly a month and a half of fantasy basketball if we’re being optimistic about this timeline. He’s worth stashing if you have a free IR spot, but otherwise, I’m not touching him in drafts.

Jonathan Isaac (SF/PF – ORL)
Isaac missed all of last season while recovering from a torn ACL and meniscus, and he’s played just 34 games over the last two seasons. His upside as an elite defender makes him an interesting late-round selection, though there are plenty of risks involved with spending a pick on him.

Thomas Bryant (C – WAS)
Bryant underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee back in February. His timetable for return has him back in action around December 1, though that is not firm. Bryant has shown plenty of upside in recent seasons, averaging 13.8 points, 6.7 boards, 1.5 combined blocks/steals, and 0.9 triples, while shooting 61.5% from the floor over the 56 games played across the last two seasons. If you’ve got room at the end of your bench or an extra IR spot and can stomach the uncertainty that comes with drafting him, he’s worth a look in the 12th round or later.

Pascal Siakam (PF – TOR)
Spicy P took small steps back in scoring, threes, and rebounds last season, though he improved in steals, assists, FG% and FT%. His outlook is trending up with the departure of Kyle Lowry, though Siakam had surgery on his shoulder in June, meaning he likely won’t be available to start the season. Just how much time he’ll miss isn’t entirely clear, but it could be as little as a couple of weeks. As long as his play isn’t affected by the injury, he’s poised to post top-50 value once again.

De’Andre Hunter (SF – ATL)
Hunter appeared in just 23 games last season but showed plenty of promise as a shooter, scorer, and rebounder. After June surgery to repair his torn meniscus, he should be good to go for training camp. As long as he can stay healthy, Hunter has the skillset to push for top-100 numbers.

 

Victor Oladipo (SG – MIA)
Dipo looked as good as ever last season on a per-game basis, and his all-around skillset helped him finish inside the top-90 fantasy players in that regard. Disappointingly, he appeared in only 33 games last season and has played in only 88 over the last three seasons. The quad injury that ailed him last season will likely keep him out through the first month or two of the season, making him a risky pick in fantasy drafts, considering his bench role for the new-look Heat.

Mitchell Robinson (C – NYK)
Blockinson appeared in just 31 games last season and underwent right foot surgery in March. In his shortened season, he averaged a career-high 8.1 boards to go with 8.3 points and 1.5 swats while shooting 65.3% from the floor. He should be ready to go to start the season, and according to him, he’ll be in better shape than he was a season ago:

Jamal Murray (PG – DEN)
We know what Murray can do when healthy, but after tearing his ACL in April, it’s unclear when or if we’ll see him this season. Based on current Yahoo ADP, Murray is flying off the board in the sixth round. That’s a problem for someone else in your league to manage. He’s not someone to spend a premium pick on in fantasy drafts.

Klay Thompson (SG/SF – GSW)
Thompson hasn’t played since 2018-19 due to a torn ACL and torn Achilles. He’s targeting a return on Christmas, but it’s unclear how much he’ll play when he returns and how much rust he’ll have to knock off. He’s worth a late-round gamble if you have a vacant IR spot.

T.J. Warren (SF – IND)
Warren appeared in just four games last season due to a left foot injury that required surgery. Based on the date of the injury and the original timeline, he was expected to be ready for the start of this season, but according to the latest from Marc J. Spears, Warren is out indefinitely. He flashed his upside as a premier scorer in the Orlando Bubble and though fantasy managers must be eager to see him back on the court, there’s no way he can be selected inside the top-150 given his uncertain availability headed into the season.

James Wiseman (C – GSW)
Last year’s No. 2 overall pick logged just 21.8 minutes per game, but his per-36 averages were encouraging: 19.3 points, 9.7 boards, and 1.6 blocks. He’s got huge upside if he can see an uptick in playing time, but unfortunately, he’ll be coming back from a torn meniscus in his right knee that required surgery. He’s reportedly on track for training camp, but these injuries can be tricky, so fantasy managers should keep a close eye on his health. He remains a strong dynasty stash, but he’s not a guy to target until the later rounds of fantasy drafts, if at all.

Kyrie Irving (SG – BKN)
Since joining the Nets, Irving has appeared in just 74 games, though he’s been mighty impressive when on the court. Last season, he became one of only four players in NBA history (Larry Bird twice, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry) to shoot 50/40/90 while averaging at least 26 points per game. The ankle injury that forced him to miss the Nets’ final three playoff games against the Bucks (including the pivotal Game 7) appears to be on the mend, with Irving expected to be ready for the season opener.

Jaylen Brown (SF – BOS)
Brown took another step forward last season, averaging 24/6/3 while flashing his upside as an elite scorer. With Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier gone, Brown should see even more work on offense as he continues to develop his game. Barring any setbacks from a May wrist surgery, he should be all systems go for opening tip-off. According to  Shams Charania, the timeline for recovery is three months.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (PG/SG – OKC)
SGA appeared in just 35 games and finished last season in March due to a plantar fascia tear. With OKC’s season already in the toilet and the team in full-tank mode, it wasn’t surprising to see him held out in a precautionary move. The young guard took another leap forward in his third season, averaging career highs in points (23.7), assists (5.9) and threes (2.0) to go with 4.7 boards while shooting high percentages from the field and the charity stripe. He agreed to a five-year max extension in the offseason and is on track to be ready for the start of the season. His status is one to monitor, but he’s still locked in as an early-round selection in fantasy drafts.

Gordon Hayward (SF – CHA)
Hayward’s sprained right foot caused him to miss the final 25 games of the regular season, and health concerns still cloud his fantasy outlook. Since 2017-18, his games played are: 72, 52, and 44 respectively. When on the court, he came up big in his first season with the Hornets, averaging 19.6 points, 5.9 boards, 4.1 dimes, 1.9 triples, and 1.2 steals while shooting efficiently as usual. As long as he’s healthy, he has obvious potential to post top-40 per-game numbers. Reports indicate he’ll be ready to go for Charlotte’s opener, but keep an eye on him ahead of drafts.

Isaiah Stewart (C – DET)
Stewart injured his ankle while scrimmaging with Team USA in July, but he’s apparently ahead of schedule on his rehab and recovery.The All-Rookie selection averaged an impressive 13.3 points, 11.2 boards, and 2.1 blocks per-36-minutes in his inaugural campaign, and with Mason Plumlee off to Charlotte, Stewart should be in line for an expanded role in his second season.

Jalen Suggs (SG – ORL)
Suggs averaged 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.7 combined blocks/steals across 21.8 minutes in three Summer League appearances before a thumb sprain forced him out early. He should be all-systems-go for the opener, but keep an eye on the rookie. As long as he’s healthy, his athleticism and skillset make him an intriguing top-100 selection in fantasy drafts.

Myles Turner (C – IND)
Last year’s blocks leader (3.4 per game) missed the final 18 games of the regular season due to a toe injury, but he’s on track for the season opener.

Chris Paul (PG – PHO)
After leading the Suns to a Finals appearance (the first of his career), CP3 underwent surgery on the wrist that bothered him throughout the playoffs. There’s no serious concern about his availability.

Jalen Green (SG/SF – HOU)
Green has the potential to be the best pure scorer in this draft class, and after an injured hammy forced him out of Summer League play early, he looks ready to go for the start of the season. Keep an eye on him as we get closer to training camp.

Using Early Yahoo ADP & Rankings to Your Advantage >>

Zachary Hanshew is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

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