Fantasy Basketball Draft Prep: Injuries to Know (2022)
We are less than three weeks away from the start of the NBA season, which means it’s coming up on the time to draft your fantasy basketball team.
Before you do, though, you should catch up on the injuries that are plaguing fantasy-relevant players.
If you’ve been focused on the Aaron Judge home run chase or wondering when the Las Vegas Raiders would win a game, I’ve got you covered on any injuries that you should know about ahead of your draft.
Injury: Knee Surgery
What it means: The knee injuries continue for Williams, as he’s expected to miss 8-12 weeks, which is a far cry from the original 4-6 weeks. Time Lord is hard to draft for redraft leagues, as the knee injuries have been a constant for him. He’ll provide the elite blocks and rebounding numbers once he is healthy and returns, but until then, Al Horford – who is playing in back-to-backs this year, per him – gets a nice boost in value.
Injury: Foot surgery
What it means: Triple-J is on a 4-6 month timeline for his injury, and it’s been a mixed bag for how far along he is. It’s the Grizzlies, so we may not know he’s healthy until he is listed as a starter for that night’s game. January seems like a likely timeline for Jackson to return, and until the defensive stalwart returns, Brandon Clarke will see an uptick in minutes and usage for the Grizz.
What it means: Bogdanovic is still recovering from a fractured kneecap, which has him missing the start of training camp. He’s listed as day-to-day for now, without a clear diagnosis for the start of the regular season. Bogdanovic should see an increased role in Atlanta this year with Danilo Gallinari in Boston (also out with an ACL tear). The sharpshooter could come at a discount and would be a nice late-round pick in the draft. De’Andre Hunter should see an uptick if Bogdanovic misses any time.
Injury: Knee surgery
What it means: Another month, another knee surgery for Ball. It’s a shame, really, and it was bleak for some time without any real update. But the latest surgery seems to be the most encouraging, as we have a timeline of “several months.” He’s not worth drafting this year unless you have unlimited IR spots. He’s worth trading for if you can get a good discount in dynasty leagues. With him on the shelf, look for Alex Caruso and Ayo Donsunmu to get the bulk of the time at point guard when Zach LaVine isn’t running the offense.
Injury: Lisfranc injury
What it means: Brutal, brutal news for Holmgren and OKC. It seemed like maybe this would be the year they’d try, but not so much anymore. Holmgren will miss the whole season, which puts him off the redraft radar. But he’s still 1.1 in dynasty drafts – 1.2 if you prefer Paolo Banchero, and that’s fine – and the Lisfranc injury, with his frame, should allow him to recover fully.
Injury: Knee contusion
What it means: It’s not an injury report without Hayward on it. The injury isn’t serious, and he’s listed as day-to-day. He won’t see time in the preseason, but Steve Clifford sounds encouraged about where Hayward is entering the season. With Miles Bridges being a terrible human being, the Hornets will count on Hayward more this season as a secondary scoring option behind LaMelo Ball. Clifford did not that he wants Hayward to get the rest when he needs it, so be prepared for the Hornets to rest him on back-and-backs to start the season.
Injury: ACL surgery
What it means: We’ll get our first look at Murray in more than a year when he takes the court in Denver’s preseason game on Oct. 7. Murray is a nice mid-round value right now, which totally ignores the gains that we saw from him in 2020-2021. Murray should be a secondary scoring option to Nikola Jokic in Denver, and expect his minutes to be limited early in the season as he works his way back. Bones Hyland, who Denver wants to stagger with Murray in certain lineups, should see an uptick in usage early in the year.
Injury: ACL surgery
What it means: We’ll touch on the deep leagues here, too, as Rubio is hoping to return from his ACL surgery in December but said “who knows” when talking to Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal. Rubio was valuable for the Cavs and fantasy managers last season as a bench guard for the Cavs, and he can fill the same void this year when Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell need their rest.
Injury: Left ankle
What it means: The injury to Tate doesn’t seem serious, though he missed the Rockets’ preseason game against the Spurs. It seems cautionary, so you can still get him in deeper leagues. There are a lot of bodies vying for minutes in Houston, though, so a setback won’t help Tate.
Injury: Ankle injury
What it means: Smith tweaked his ankle before training camp, but he’s trending toward 100 percent, per Scott Agness of FieldhouseFiles.com. Smith was named the starting power forward in the offseason, and Rick Carlisle doubled down on that. Oshae Brissett and Isaiah Jackson will be the benefactors if he reaggravates it. Look for Smith to give you great rebounding numbers and blocks with the chance to take a step forward with his offense.
What it means: Am I the only one getting nervous about Middleton? We still don’t have a definitive word if he will be ready for the start of the season, as the team is saying it’s “too early to tell.” Middleton is a safe third-round pick, but I’d be OK waiting until the fourth round to take him if this lingers for a few more days. If he were to miss time, Pat Connaughton should pick up the extra usage in the Milwaukee offense.
Injury: ACL surgery
What it means: The longtime Jazz mainstay is now in Milwaukee, but he won’t see the court until the new year. The team is hoping for January, but February seems more realistic. Even then, he’ll be brought along slowly as the Bucks really want him for the playoffs for a spark off the bench. He’s not worth drafting and stashing unless you’re in the deepest of deep leagues.
Injury: MCL sprain
What it means: Yes, it’s a real injury and not a made-up one when the Thunder decide to tank at the end of the season. SGA is questionable for the start of the regular season with the MCL sprain, but there hasn’t been any word on his progression. You can safely bump him down a notch for the time being, as the Thunder won’t want to hurry him in what is another lost year due to Holmgren’s injury. In his absence, Tre Mann, who put together a nice stretch to end the 2022 season, and rookie Jaylen (not Jaylin) Williams should see an uptick in usage. Aaron Wiggins could, too, but it’ll mainly be the Josh Giddey show with SGA on the shelf.
Injury: Fractured toe
What it means: He just can’t catch a break. He seemed to be on his way back from the ACL injury and looked poised for a potential breakout season (he was hitting a groove before he tore the ligament). But the latest setback will put him on the shelf for an undisclosed amount of time. We do know that it won’t require surgery, however. Cole Anthony should slide back into the starting lineup as he looks to shake off the second-half struggles that he has last season. Third-year guard R.J. Hampton should get an extended look, too, to see what his future in Orlando holds.
What it means: Isaac won’t participate in practice or training camp for the Magic, and there’s no word on when – or if – he will suit up for the Magic this year. The team sounds optimistic that he could return in the near future, but it’s hard to count on Isaac, who last played a game on Aug. 2, 2020. He has all the upside in the world – especially defensively – but when/if he does return, he’ll be faced with trying to take minutes away from Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero. He’s a find end-of-draft flier in deeper leagues.
What it means: Last year was bad for Suggs – there’s no sugarcoating it. But that helps him come at a discount in redraft and dynasty leagues this year. He’s dealing with an ankle injury, but it doesn’t seem too severe. He’s been cleared for shooting and running but not contact or five-on-five drills, per Theo Lawson of The Spokesman-Review. Suggs is a find late-round pick to help with assists and steals with the upside to help you in points and FT%. If he’s forced to miss time, Terrence Ross could be a short-term add depending on the health of Gary Harris (knee), who has a questionable timeline himself.