This has to be one of the worst weeks for injuries in recent memory, right? We’ve already seen fantasy stars like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving and Josh Richardson go down just to name a few, but now we have to add Myles Turner, Gary Harris and Kris Dunn to the list. I’ll break down the fantasy implications of these injuries and more below, and be sure to follow me on Twitter for fantasy advice and stats!
Myles Turner goes down
Turner initially sprained his left ankle towards the end of the second quarter and went back to the locker room. He didn’t start the second half, but checked back into the game a few minutes into the third quarter. He attempted just two shots on the night and wasn’t moving around very well, and things took a turn for the worse when he re-aggravated the injury late in the fourth quarter and was quickly ruled out.
The official diagnosis was a high-ankle sprain which is just brutal news for the Pacers and for Turner’s fantasy owners because he was in the midst of his best stretch of the season, averaging 21.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 0.8 steals and 2.3 triples in his previous four games. It’s at least encouraging that Turner tried to play through the injury at first, but based on the diagnosis and coach Nate McMillan’s post-game comments, I’d expect him to miss at least one game on Saturday. “There was a lot of swelling at halftime. Tried to go. Came out third quarter and was able to play,” McMillan said. “Re-aggravated it and couldn’t return.”
For most owners, we’re in the middle of the fantasy playoffs and I’m usually cool with dropping a stud if it’s completely necessary, but I would at least wait until we get an update on Friday afternoon — it’ll be interesting to see if the swelling calms down or not. The Pacers are already missing Domantas Sabonis with an ankle injury of his own, meaning the Pacers will have to dust Big Al Jefferson off. The veteran big man turned back the clock on Thursday, scoring a season-high 20 points with 12 rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and no turnovers in 25 minutes. Sure he’s lost a step and he can probably only handle a workload in the mid-20s, but I could see myself streaming Big Al on Saturday vs. the Wizards and maybe beyond that depending on how long Turner and Sabonis are out. The Pacers also play four times next week, so keep that in mind.
We’ll also see more small ball and it’s probably safe to give Indiana’s top five or six rotation players a bump as well.
Welcome to my “never again” list, Kyrie Irving
Celtics GM Danny Ainge recently went on the radio and had some interesting things to say about Kyrie Irving’s knee and hinted that he may need surgery down the road. “He has some surgery that may need to happen,” Ainge said. “But maybe not this summer. Maybe the following summer or maybe the summer after that. I think that he could probably do it any time he wanted, but I’m not sure that it’s needed at this moment.” To be clear, this would basically be a follow-up procedure for the one he had back in 2015, but it’s worrying for current and future fantasy owners, especially since this is something Ainge admitted that Irving would need to “manage” for the rest of his career.
“We knew coming into this year that he probably wasn’t going to be an 82-game guy,” Ainge added. “He was going to be a 72-, 75-game guy in order to keep him fresh for the playoffs.” Every Kyrie owner is probably seething that Ainge or the Celtics didn’t mention this prior to the season, and it’s safe to assume that it’s going to be this way in future seasons as well. With that in mind, I don’t think I’d be comfortable taking him in the second round of fantasy drafts going forward with so many guaranteed DNPs.
Gary Harris leaves game late
Gary Harris had a scary fall late in Thursday’s win over the Pistons, as his right leg landed awkwardly after a dunk attempt. He tried to stand up, but only lasted for a few seconds before he sat back down with a trainer looking at him. Harris eventually walked off under his own power, but the Nuggets quickly ruled him out with “right knee soreness.”
X-rays were negative and Harris was in “good spirits” in the locker room where he was spotted walking under his own power again without a brace. When asked where exactly he was hurting, coach Mike Malone said “somewhere in the middle [of his knee and ankle], if that makes sense.” The Nuggets will continue to evaluate him and he’s definitely not in the clear yet as he’s slated for an MRI on Friday. For now, consider him questionable at best for Saturday’s game vs. the Grizzlies, as Harris was non-committal when asked if he would play. “It’ll be alright. I’m about to get it evaluated, so we’ll see. It’s a little sore right now, but we’ll see,” he said. Jamal Murray and Will Barton both get a boost if Harris sits, but it’s not like you can pick those guys up off the wire.
However, if you’re in a very deep league, Malik Beasley is someone to keep in mind. He has stepped up when his name has been called this season and has per-36 minute averages of 11.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.6 triples.
Kris Dunn injures his toe
Bulls starting point guard Kris Dunn sprained the big toe on his right foot on Thursday and wasn’t able to return. X-rays came back negative and the Bulls are calling him day-to-day, but just like Chicago did with Lauri Markkanen, I could see them taking a cautious approach here and hold him out for a game or two. That’s just speculation though and I’d advise you to wait until we get an update before making a roster move. If Dunn misses time, Cameron Payne has actually been sneaky good and could be worth a flier. He’s averaging 9.8 points, 3.0 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.6 triples in 20.6 minutes over his last five, and he could be a nice add along with Denzel Valentine (15-5-4 with five triples and one steal) if we get bad news on Dunn.
Waiver Wire Watch
Josh Jackson (42% owned)- The rookie has now played in two straight games after missing a single contest with a minor knee issue and is approaching must-own status again. He’s averaging 18.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.0 triples in that brief span, showcasing the upside that we saw for most of February. The Suns only have three games next week, but do play four in the following week which is the fantasy championships for most owners.
Jae Crowder (59% owned)- I was surprised to find him on the wire in one of my leagues today, but chances are you’re probably too late. Crowder is starting to look like the guy we saw back in Boston and had a strong game on Thursday, scoring 15 points with eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two triples. He has posted some duds in recent weeks, but he’s been solid for the most part over his last five games, averaging 14.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.8 triples. Those are mid-round numbers and he’s doing it despite playing less than 30 minutes a night.
Reggie Bullock (33%)- After missing one game with a minor case of back spasms, Bullock returned on Thursday and didn’t skip a beat, scoring 17 points with four assists and three triples in 35 minutes. He’s the most reliable wing in Detroit right now and it’s not particularly close, as he was averaging 17.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.8 triples in March prior to Thursday.
Kyle Korver (19%)- Need 3-pointers? Look no further. Korver is still getting a lot of run for a depleted Cavaliers team and he continues to produce. Sure he’s a one-trick pony, but he’s really good at it with at least three triples in four out of his last six games.
Jeff Green (6%)- The Cavaliers are down to just a couple big men including Green, and it sounds like there’s a chance they may continue to be cautious with Larry Nance’s hamstring. Green posted 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and one triple in 34 minutes on Thursday, and that comes on the heels of an 11-point game with four rebounds, one assist, three steals three blocks and a triple. Kevin Love could be back as soon as Mar. 23, leaving Green about a week to produce low-end fantasy value.
Michael Beasley (34% owned)- He had a monster 24-point game vs. the 76ers and is arguably the best pickup of the day. Beasley hit 10-of-13 shots and stuffed the stat sheet with 13 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, one block and one triple in 33 minutes. Lance Thomas (personal) wasn’t with the team, but this was Beasley’s third strong game in a row with 30+ minutes in all three. The Knicks also play four times next week, so you can’t argue with that.
Kyle O’Quinn (17% owned)- The Knicks are ignoring rookie Luke Kornet again after his career day, but KOQ’s owners don’t mind. He played 24 minutes in an even timeshare with Enes Kanter on Thursday, notching 15 points, 10 rebounds, one assist, three steals and one block. He’s always been a solid per-minute guy and is averaging 9.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.2 steals over his last five.
Isaiah Taylor (1%)- If you need a point guard in a deep league, Taylor is a name to keep in mind. Dennis Schroder is a rest candidate down the stretch so that the Hawks can improve their draft position, but even with Schroder active, Taylor has been productive in his last three games, averaging 10.0 points and 6.3 assists. If his workload creeps up into the mid-20s or higher, he’d be very intriguing.
Danny Green (21%)- Green blocked a career-high six shots on Thursday with five points, seven rebounds, two assists and one 3-pointer in 30 minutes, but we all know the drill here. He’s a great source of money stats (steals, blocks and 3s) when he’s hot, but brings very little to the table other than that and can disappear without a moment’s notice. Add him at your own risk.