Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic suffer injuries
Wednesday was a rough night for injuries and short-term pickups in fantasy basketball. Dallas and New Orleans lost their best scorers during the same game, and Phoenix saw their newest acquisition’s home debut nixed after he slipped while going through his pregame routine. While there are a few names of note from the seven-game slate, this column is going to focus more on the key injuries and whether or not there’s anyone of value worth adding.
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Kevin Durant sprains ankle during pregame warmups
Wednesday was supposed to be the night Durant made his home debut, but those plans went out the window shortly after his individual warmup. KD slipped and sprained his left ankle, with an initial report stating that team officials are concerned that he may have suffered a Grade 2 sprain. That level of injury would sideline Durant for four-to-six weeks, making it possible he misses the remainder of the regular season (and some of the postseason with a six-week timeline). More will be learned about the severity of Durant’s injury on Thursday.
With KD being a late scratch, Torrey Craig (6% rostered) returned to the starting lineup. Neither he nor Josh Okogie (25%) offered much in the Suns’ win over Oklahoma City, as they combined for eight points, eight rebounds, five assists, three blocks, and two 3-pointers. Someone who did step up was Terrence Ross (2%), who chipped in with 24 points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals, and six 3-pointers in 23 minutes off the bench. Ross is providing 9th-round value over the last two weeks, but he’s appeared in five of a possible seven games since signing with the Suns, hitting double figures twice. While Ross is capable of the occasional big night, streaming a player who would actually start if Durant were sidelined would be a better route to take, even if Okogie and Craig haven’t offered much value lately.
Luka Dončić aggravates strained left thigh
Doncic had to exit Wednesday’s loss to the Pelicans during the third quarter as the pain in his thigh, which he initially injured a week or so ago, became too much to bear. Following the game, Doncic said that he’ll undergo an MRI on Thursday in order to get a better idea of the severity of the injury. Any time on the sideline for Doncic would open the door for Josh Green (7% rostered, already starting) to regain fantasy relevance. Still, he hasn’t been all that productive recently (outside the top 300 in 9-cat over the last two weeks).
Rookie Jaden Hardy subbed in for Doncic during the third quarter and finished with a line of 11 points, two assists, and two 3-pointers in 17 minutes. He’s rostered in 1% of Yahoo leagues, and with good reason, as he hasn’t been in the rotation consistently. Justin Holiday (2%) has 3-and-D ability, but he went 0-of-5 from the field Wednesday night. Outside of Tim Hardaway Jr. (52%), there really isn’t a player worth adding should Doncic miss additional time. Dallas finishes its Week 20 slate with a road game against Memphis on Saturday.
Brandon Ingram doesn’t return for the second half
Ingram sprained his right ankle during the second quarter of this game, exiting with 1:22 remaining in the period and not returning. Naji Marshall (5%) replaced him in the lineup to begin the second half, and he’s been productive when given the opportunity to start this season. In 19 starts, Marshall is averaging 15.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.4 3-pointers in 33.5 minutes, shooting 46.5% from the field and 73.7% from the foul line. Marshall finished Wednesday’s win with nine points, six rebounds, six assists, and one 3-pointer in 25 minutes.
New Orleans doesn’t play again until Saturday, but that matchup with Oklahoma City is the front end of a back-to-back (Portland on Sunday). So even if Ingram is cleared to play Saturday, one has to wonder if he’d play the second game as well. Josh Richardson (23%) scored six points with a full line in 23 minutes Wednesday, and he could also be in play if Ingram remains sidelined.
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Patrick Williams (27%)
Chicago routed the Nuggets in Denver, and Williams was one of the top performers. He played 30 minutes off the bench, finishing with 18 points, four rebounds, one steal, and one 3-pointer while shooting 8-of-9 from the field and 1-of-1 from the foul line. He’s providing 10th-round value in 9-cat formats over the last three weeks, playing over 26 minutes per game. Williams’ inconsistency makes him a tough player to trust in fantasy, but there are clearly some loyal holdouts given the rostered percentage. That said, the schedule doesn’t work in his favor, as the Bulls play one more game in Week 20 and three in Week 21.
Terance Mann (11%)
In an interesting shift to his rotation, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue didn’t use Russell Westbrook at all in the fourth quarter of the team’s win over the Raptors. But Mann was on the court, and he finished his night with a line of 14 points, four rebounds, four assists, and one steal in 29 minutes. The Clippers have struggled with turnovers, and they had another 17 on Wednesday, and this may have influenced Lue’s thinking down the stretch. Mann averaged 1.2 turnovers per game over the last five and had just one in Wednesday’s win. Westbrook, on the other hand, averaged 3.8 per game during that stretch (three vs. Toronto). This could be a case where Mann gets to close games while Westbrook starts, and this would give him a shot at fantasy relevance.