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Injury Report

by Ryan Knaus
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

DNPs are death for a player's fantasy value, and a deep familiarity with the NBA injury report can be an invaluable resource on draft day. This column serves up a comprehensive list of injured players, with context for their injury and (when available) a timetable for their return. The majority are expected to be healthy prior to training camp, but there is uncertainty surrounding Ryan Anderson, Michael Carter-Williams, Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee, Nate Robinson, Andrew Bogut, Shaun Livingston and Gerald Wallace, as well as lesser-known guys like Quincy Pondexter, Nemanja Nedovic, Festus Ezeli and Spencer Dinwiddie.

 

Players expected to miss at least a portion of the season, if not all, include Paul George, Joel Embiid, Patty Mills, Martell Webster, Rashard Lewis, Carlos Delfino, Brendan Haywood and Pierre Jackson.

 

I’ve assigned an ‘Injury Risk’ to each player listed, on a scale of 1-to-10, which refers to the risk for their season outlook if you drafted them today. I tried to factor in injury history, current health and timetable, age, and whether their injury/surgery might affect their production once they return. It’s just a simple way to re-affirm what I’ve said in each player’s write-up, so don’t read too much into it.

 

Atlanta Hawks

 

Al Horford (pectoral surgery) went under the knife in late December and was limited to non-contact work in June, but he's expected to be fully recovered for training camp. Horford has elite fantasy potential, and for what it's worth he played 74 games in 2012-13 after returning from his first pectoral surgery. Injury Risk: 3

 

Boston Celtics

 

Gerald Wallace has surgeries in March to repair his torn left meniscus and remove bone spurs from his ankle. He was expected to recover in 3-4 months, but thus far we haven't seen him on the court. He should be ready for training camp, but the veteran's injury risk goes without saying. Injury Risk: 6

 

Kelly Olynyk suffered a minor wrist injury this summer. He's been spotted with a wrap on his wrist but he downplayed the severity and is expected to be 100 percent recovered prior to training camp. Injury Risk: 1

 

Vitor Faverani had left knee surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in March, which he blamed on over-exertion from a desire to prove himself as a rookie in the NBA. He's expected to be healthy during training camp, where he'll battle Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk for minutes in Boston's center rotation. Injury Risk: 3

 

Brooklyn Nets

 

Deron Williams had surgery on both of his ankles in May. He had a bone chip removed from his right ankle and bone spurs removed from his left ankle, but has since recovered and was given full medical clearance in early August. He averaged only 32.2 minutes in 64 appearances last season, with statistical dips in points (14.3), 3-pointers (1.5), rebounds (2.6) and assists (6.1). His ankle woes are a considerable risk for fantasy owners, eliminating him from the top tier of PGs. Injury Risk: 5

 

Brook Lopez had reconstructive right foot surgery in January, during which his arch was lowered and bones were shifted to redistribute his weight. That major procedure was followed by left ankle surgery in March. He has since been fully cleared to play without restrictions, and he's even slimmed down to 275 lbs., but it wouldn't be surprising to see coach Lionel Hollins monitor Lopez's minutes closely to start the season. After playing 82 games in each of his first three NBA seasons, Lopez has averaged 45 DNPs since the 2011-12 season. Injury Risk: 8

 

Charlotte Hornets

 

Al Jefferson was plagued by plantar fasciitis during the Bobcats' first-round playoff loss to Miami. He skipped an invitation to play with Team USA so that his foot could fully recover, but he's been pain-free since June and is expected to be fine for training camp. He only missed four games last season and was a great second-round fantasy value. Injury Risk: 2

 

Gerald Henderson had scar tissue surgically removed from his right wrist in late May, a relatively minor procedure which shouldn't affect him during training camp. With Lance Stephenson starting at SG, Henderson is left to fight Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for the Hornets' starting SF job. Injury Risk: 1

 

Jeff Taylor ruptured his Achilles in December, but he's been a constant presence at Hornets' workouts this summer and was even seen throwing down some impressive slam dunks. He's bulked up to better defend the league's premier SFs, but faces stiff competition for minutes from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Gerald Henderson. Injury Risk: 4

 

Chicago Bulls

 

Derrick Rose tore the medial meniscus in his right knee in late November, leading to another knee surgery that sidelined him until he resumed playing 5-on-5 in June. He joined Team USA for the FIBA World Cup but sat out a few practices as a precaution, due to soreness in his knees, and Kyrie Irving quickly usurped the starting PG job. He has vowed to play smarter and avoid unnecessary contact to limit the "wear and tear" on his body, and unfortunately the former MVP remains a glaring injury risk for fantasy owners. Injury Risk: 6

 

Joakim Noah had arthroscopic left knee surgery in May, with an expected recovery time of 8-12 weeks. He didn't have any structural damage and confirmed in late July that he feels "great." The injury should be a non-factor once training camp opens, but Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau may need to scale back Noah's 35.3 minutes per game as a precaution -- with Taj Gibson and Pau Gasol in the frontcourt, it shouldn't be too hard. Injury Risk: 2

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

 

Brendan Haywood's 2013-14 season was over before it began, as he required surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. The 34-year-old isn't expected to be healthy in time for training camp, and Cleveland is already seeking a more reliable backup for Anderson Varejao. Even if he does stay healthy, Haywood has no fantasy appeal. Injury Risk: 9

 

Dallas Mavericks

 

Rashard Lewis signed a one-year deal with the Mavericks this summer, but it was quickly voided after a physical revealed the need for right knee surgery. The Mavs may still be interested in signing him once he's recovered, but they already picked up Al-Farouq Aminu so it's hard to envision Lewis making a significant impact. Injury Risk: 8

 

Gal Mekel had surgery in January to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee. He returned to play for the Mavs' Summer League team, then suited up for Montenegro in the EuroBasket qualifying tournament (during which he notched a triple-double). He's healthy, but then again so are Jameer Nelson and Raymond Felton. Injury Risk: 1

 

Denver Nuggets

 

Danilo Gallinari had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee back in April of 2013. That was followed by surgery to repair a partially torn left ACL in June, but he required yet another surgery to reconstruct the same ACL in January. He began moving without restrictions in May of 2014 and said that participating in the Nuggets' training camp is "realistic." Denver will take every precaution with their prized forward, who is owed $22.4 million over the next two seasons, and fantasy owners should expect slow but steady progress given that he won't have played a game in about 18 months. Injury Risk: 7

 

Nate Robinson tore his ACL in January but he's already back on the court, and posted a video of himself dunking in mid-August. That's an encouraging sign for his opening-night availability, though fantasy owners should ignore him in a competitive backcourt that also features Ty Lawson, Randy Foye and Arron Afflalo. Injury Risk: 6

 

Ty Lawson finished the 2013-14 season with six DNPs after spraining his left ankle in early April. He wasn't unable to run in mid-June, which suggests that it was more than a simple sprain, but X-rays and MRIs have ruled out any structural damage. He's been patiently resting while lifting weights and training as much as possible, and all signs point to Lawson being ready for training camp. Injury Risk: 3

 

JaVale McGee played only five games last season before fracturing his left tibia and handing the Nuggets' starting C job to Timofey Mozgov. Nuggets GM Tim Connelly said in late May that McGee was expected to return to the court "any day" but there haven't been any reports of him practicing, let alone playing 5-on-5. Coach Brian Shaw has already stated that McGee will be battling Timofey Mozgov for the starting center job, and there are too many red flags here for McGee to be more than a late-round flier -- during his best season, in 2011-11, he was still only a mid-round value in eight- and nine-cat leagues. Injury Risk: 5

 

J.J. Hickson had ACL surgery in May and his status for training camp remains uncertain. "I’m looking to be ready for training camp," he said in late May. "If not, definitely before the season starts." There are no guarantees that he'll be healthy enough to play on opening night, which adds another layer of uncertainty for fantasy owners -- it doesn't help that he's already stuck in a backup role behind Kenneth Faried. Injury Risk: 7

 

 

Detroit Pistons

 

Will Bynum's season ended with seven DNPs due to a sore left foot. There haven't been any updates on his status this summer, so presumably he's fine. Injury Risk: 1

 

Pistons rookie Spencer Dinwiddie had left ACL surgery in January, marking a disappointing end to his season with Colorado. The injury caused him to slide to No. 38 in the draft, where the Pistons happily scooped him up. Stan Van Gundy described him as "a rare 6'6" guy who is a true point guard," but Detroit isn't in any rush to deploy him in their deep backcourt rotation. Injury Risk: 6

 

 

Golden State Warriors

 

Nemanja Nedovic injured his right toe in early August but an MRI cleared him of any fractures or structural damage. He wasn't able to play for Serbia in the FIBA World Cup and his status for training camp is unclear. At most he'll earn backup SG minutes behind Klay Thompson, but even that's not a given with veteran Brandon Rush on the roster. Injury Risk: 3

 

Shaun Livingston had arthroscopic surgery on his right big toe in mid-August, sidelining him for a minimum of 6-8 weeks. That leaves him questionable for the start of Golden State's training camp, though it shouldn't affect him when he comes off the bench on opening night. Injury Risk: 3

 

Andre Iguodala was diagnosed with right knee tendinitis at the end of the season, but an MRI came back clean and he didn't require surgery. He skipped Team USA to let his knee fully recover and should be fine for training camp, where he'll try to out-compete Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes for the contested SF job. Injury Risk: 2

 

Andrew Bogut fractured a rib on his right side in mid-April, ending his season and causing him to miss the playoffs. The injury still bothered him in mid-June and it caused him to miss the FIBA World Cup, which leaves some doubt about his availability for training camp. He's expected to have a bigger role offensively under coach Steve Kerr, but as usual his fantasy value is tethered to his health. Injury Risk: 6

 

Festus Ezeli had surgery in June 2013 to repair the MCL and PCL in his right knee. He was cleared to play in June but wasn't able to suit up for the Warriors' Summer League team due to right shin inflammation. He's on pace to participate in training camp, and his availability is crucial for the Warriors, who have an injury-prone starter (Andrew Bogut) and minimal depth beyond Ezeli (Marreese Speights and Ognjen Kuzmic). Injury Risk: 6

 

Houston Rockets

 

No. 25 pick Clint Capela was knocked out of the EuroBasket tournament by an unspecified injury in early August. We'd likely have heard more details if it was serious, so he's tentatively expected to be ready for training camp. He's likely to spend most of the season with the Rio Grande Vipers, the Rockets' D-League affiliate. Injury Risk: 1

 

Indiana Pacers

 

Paul George is unlikely to play this season after fracturing his right tibia and fibula while playing with Team USA. He has "no date or time frame" for his recovery, and the only good news is that the injury didn't involve any "ligaments, tendons, joints or nerves." His absence thrusts Solomon Hill into a prominent role, possibly as a starter, with C.J. Miles, Chris Copeland and possibly Damjan Rudez also pitching in at SF. George's injury may have catalyzed the NBA's decision to clear more space around the basket stanchion, while reducing the number of photographers allowed on the baseline. Injury Risk: 10

 

L.A. Clippers

 

Blake Griffin withdrew from Team USA in July due to a back injury, but he stressed that it was a precautionary decision. "It's less than a hairline and my back is not fractured. Everything is still intact," Griffin said. "I can still come out here and I can do my workouts and I can do everything I used to do. I just shouldn't be playing and practicing every day this early." With that crisis averted, fantasy owners can look forward to drafting him with confidence in the second round. Injury Risk: 1

 

Carlos Delfino has had a pair of major foot surgeries during which a metal plate and screws were inserted, but according to Bucks writer Charles Garner the bone is "not healing properly." The Clippers are expected to waive Delfino before opening night, possibly via the stretch provision, and his 2014-15 season is already in jeopardy. Injury Risk: 10

 

L.A. Lakers

 

According to Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, Steve Nash has fully recovered from the nerve damage that ruined his 2013-14 season and caused him to contemplate retirement. The 40-year-old has yet to play 5-on-5, however, and he faces a fresh challenge for the starting PG job from Jeremy Lin. Even if Nash earns the starting gig and stays healthy, his minutes are likely to be reined in as a precaution. Injury Risk: 8

 

Kobe Bryant fractured the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee after playing only six games last season, but he's been training since April and declared himself "100 percent" recovered in May. His willingness and ability to play hurt are revered, but even the Black Mamba is an injury risk coming off two injury-ravaged seasons at age 36. (Full disclosure: Although my brain says to let another owner gamble on Kobe, I took him early in the third round of a 14-team, H2H nine-cat league just hours after writing this. I can intellectualize the risk all day, but watching him play for the past 18 years has made me inexplicably confident that he'll bounce back.) Injury Risk: 6

 

Memphis Grizzlies

 

Nick Calathes isn't injured but he will miss 13 games to start the season, the remainder of his 20-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. When he returns, he'll jostle with Beno Udrih for reserve minutes behind Mike Conley. Injury Risk: n/a

 

Quincy Pondexter's season ended with a fractured tarsal navicular bone in his right foot. There have been zero updates on his recovery and the Memphis media isn't particularly thorough during the offseason, so we'll just have to wait and see if he plays at training camp. Injury Risk: 4

 

Miami Heat

 

The Heat don't have any noteworthy injuries. Chris Anderson has fully recovered from a deep thigh bruise, Dwyane Wade's knees have chronic pain but there's no outstanding injury to be worried about, and Luol Deng's Achilles injury is in the rearview mirror after a summer of rest, rehabilitation and training.

 

Milwaukee Bucks

 

Rookie F Damien Inglis broke his right foot during a pre-draft workout with the Thunder, but Bucks GM John Hammond expects him "to be ready to go when training camp opens." Inglis has a 7'3" wingspan and he'll initially focus on rebounding and defense. There's a good chance that he'll spend time in the D-League throughout the season. Injury Risk: 2

 

Ersan Ilyasova missed 27 games last season due to right ankle/foot problems which started when he badly twisted his ankle during training camp. He never got back on track and the injuries caused him to skip the FIBA World Cup this summer, but he should be ready for training camp. His name has repeatedly surfaced in trade rumors and a change of scenery might be the best thing for his career (and fantasy value). Injury Risk: 5

 

Minnesota Timberwolves

 

The Wolves have a bunch of guys with recent injury histories (Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic, Mo Williams, Chase Budinger, J.J. Barea and Ronny Turiaf come to mind) but at the moment they're all healthy.

 

New Orleans Pelicans

 

Ryan Anderson took a scary hit in early January, which eventually required spinal surgery and ended his season. The good news is that he's since recovered and expects to resume contact workouts in October. New Orleans will be duly cautious with him after such a serious injury, so there are no guarantees that he'll be in uniform on opening night. When he is healthy, he's expected to come off the bench as a sharp-shooting sixth-man behind Anthony Davis. Injury Risk: 5

 

Tyreke Evans had arthroscopic right knee surgery in mid-May, to clear out scar tissue, and he was given a 6-8 week timetable for his rehab. That leaves him with ample time to gear up for training camp, where he's expected to assume the Pelicans' starting SF job now that Al-Farouq Aminu is gone. Injury Risk: 2

 

Eric Gordon had minor arthroscopic knee surgery to clear out his left knee in April, but he's been back on the court since June and recently declared himself 100 percent healthy. If you're not skeptical, you haven't been paying attention to Gordon's career. He played 78 games as a rookie in 2008-09 but has averaged 32.2 DNPs in the five seasons since, including 18 DPNs last year. Injury Risk: 5

 

Jrue Holiday suffered a stress fracture in his right tibia last January, eventually requiring surgery a month later. He was expected to resume on-court activity in August and coach Monty Williams said that he's "on target" for training camp. Injury Risk: 3

 

New York Knicks

 

Andrea Bargnani's season ended in late January when he tore a ligament in his left elbow. He didn't require surgery but was still in pain in March, since which time we haven't had any substantial updates. He should be ready to go for training camp, but you never know with Bargnani. Injury Risk: 6

 

Jason Smith had surgery to remove loose cartilage in his right knee last January, a procedure which ended his 2013-14 season after just 31 games. The 28-year-old big man is a solid rebounder with an impressive mid-range jumper, but he's averaged 36 DNPs over the past three seasons and can't seem to stay healthy. Smith has an opportunity to claim minutes over guys like Samuel Dalembert, Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani, but he should be passed over on draft day. Injury Risk: 6

 

Oklahoma City Thunder

 

Serge Ibaka suffered a Grade 2 calf strain vs. the Spurs in the playoffs. The injury was initially expected to sideline him throughout the postseason, but he miraculously returned for Games 3, 4, 5 and 6, averaging 11.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in those contests. He joined the Spanish team for the FIBA World Cup despite saying in late July that he still wasn't 100 percent healthy. Unless he has a setback he'll be ready for training camp, and fantasy owners should note that he's missed only 12 regular-season games throughout his five-year NBA career. Injury Risk: 2

 

Perry Jones III had arthroscopic right knee surgery in mid-July, with an expected recovery time of 4-6 weeks. That's enough time for Jones to participate fully in training camp, as he tries to lock up the backup SF job behind minutes-played leader Kevin Durant. Injury Risk: 2

 

Nick Collison had arthroscopic left knee surgery in mid-June. He has the same 4-6 week timetable as teammate Perry Jones, meaning the 33-year-old should also be fully recovered in time for training camp. Collison has been a key piece of OKC's frontcourt for years, but his value doesn't translate to fantasy leagues -- he averaged 4.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in under 17 minutes per game last season. Injury Risk: 2

 

Orlando Magic

 

Nikola Vucevic's season ended in April due to Achilles soreness, but there haven't been any worrisome offseason reports and five months of rest should have him 100 percent healthy prior to training camp. Injury Risk: 1

 

Philadelphia 76ers

 

Pierre Jackson tore his right Achilles tendon in early July, which makes it unlikely that he'll play during the 2014-15 season. The Sixers still gave him a minimum-salary contract with $400k in guaranteed money, a classy move which aligns with their long-term rebuilding process. Injury Risk: 10

 

Michael Carter-Williams had right shoulder surgery in early May to repair a torn labrum, an injury which had bothered him for the previous two years. He has regained full extension in his shoulder and was shooting in July, but as of late August he wasn't cleared to play 5-on-5. He may be limited during the Sixers' training camp, but the odds are good that he'll be in the starting lineup on opening night. Injury Risk: 3

 

Joel Embiid had right foot surgery in June during which two screws were inserted in his navicular bone. His original 4-6 month timetable was changed to 5-8 months, according to GM Sam Hinkie, but the Sixers haven't officially ruled him out for the season. Given Philly's tanking mentality, and the extreme caution they took with Nerlens Noel last season, it would be very surprising to see Embiid make his NBA debut in 2014-15. Injury Risk: 9

 

Phoenix Suns

 

Isaiah Thomas had arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist in mid-August, but he's expected to be fully recovered for training camp. He began rehabbing less than two weeks after the surgery, and the Suns' southpaw vowed to use the opportunity to improve his right hand. Injury Risk: 2

 

Alex Len's rookie season was marred by left ankle surgery that limited him all year, but he was forced out of Summer League by a broken right pinky. He has a chance to overtake Miles Plumlee for the starting center job in Phoenix, but with so many injuries he hasn't had a chance to show what he can do in the NBA. Injury Risk: 4

 

Portland Trail Blazers

 

Thomas Robinson tore a ligament in his right thumb during Summer League, and had surgery a few days later. He was given a six-week timetable for his recovery, which suggests he'll be healthy a few weeks before training camp begins. Injury Risk: 2

 

Sacramento Kings

 

Carl Landry had surgery in March to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee. "I dedicated this summer to redefining my mind and my body and hopefully having one of the best years of my career," he said in June. He should be ready for training camp and it's nice to see him regaining his health and confidence, but even without the injury risk his game doesn't translate well to fantasy leagues. Injury Risk: 6

 

San Antonio Spurs

 

Patty Mills had surgery in July to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, a procedure which sidelined him for at least seven months. The Spurs gave him a three-year contract shortly after the injury was announced, and he should return to action in February or March. Injury Risk: 8

 

Manu Ginobili was diagnosed with a slight stress fracture in his right leg following the season, but he was expected to be fully recovered by early September. He is already pain-free but the injury caused the Spurs to bar him from joining Argentina for the FIBA World Cup. They're certain to coddle Ginobili throughout the season, as usual, in the hopes of keeping him healthy for another championship run. As fantasy owners know too well, Manu has missed an average of 23 games over the past three seasons. Injury Risk: 7

 

Toronto Raptors

 

Amir Johnson battled a variety of injuries in 2013-14 and finished the season with a right ankle injury, which fortunately didn't require surgery. A summer of rest and rehabilitation should have him 100 percent for training camp, where he'll try to hold off Patrick Patterson for the starting PF job. Injury Risk: 1

 

Utah Jazz

 

Enes Kanter had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right knee in June, with a "short and easy" recovery time of about two weeks. It was more of a maintenance procedure than anything, so the 22-year-old doesn't present much injury risk. He was "clearly miffed" at playing only 26.7 minutes per game last season, a number which should spike as a full-time starter under new coach Quin Snyder. Injury Risk: 1

 

Washington Wizards

 

Kevin Seraphin had minor arthroscopic knee surgery to clean out his right knee in July. He's fully expected to be ready for training camp, but the injury forced him to miss the FIBA World Cup. Washington gave him a $3.9 million qualifying offer this summer, which is a mild surprise given his struggles the past two years, but he's unlikely to earn more than spot minutes backing up Marcin Gortat. Injury Risk: 2

 

Martell Webster needed microdisectomy surgery in June to repair a herniated disc in his lower back. His 3-5 month timetable puts his training camp at risk, and his rehab may spill over into the regular season. Glen Rice Jr. and Otto Porter should find themselves playing extra minutes until Webster is healthy enough to rejoin coach Randy Wittman's rotation. Injury Risk: 8

Ryan Knaus

Despite residing in Portland, Maine, Ryan Knaus remains a heartbroken Sonics fan who longs for the days of Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel. He has written for NBC Sports Edge since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter.