Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2013 Fantasy Basketball Draft Prep: Injury roundup

Fantasy Writer
  •  

Last season was kind of a disaster in the NBA from an injury standpoint. By my count, no less then six players worthy of being drafted in the first two rounds suffered injuries that either cost them significant time last season, or threw their status for this year up into the air.

For some -- ahem, Andrew Bynum -- this injuries didn't come as a total shock, given their track record. And, while we didn't expect him to miss the whole season, Derrick Rose's recovery from knee surgery was always going to cost him a significant chunk of the season, at least, and Fantasy owners were able to plan accordingly. Other players, however, took Fantasy owners completely by surprise with injuries that cost them big chunks of last season and might even threaten them this year.

I have picked out the 10 biggest injury concerns heading into the season, to try to help you figure out the best way to go about targeting these players on Draft Day.

The lost seasons

Andrew Bynum, C, Cavaliers: Well, we got one healthy season out of Bynum. The irony for the oft-injured seven-footer is that his healthiest season in more than half a decade came during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, when injury concerns dogged nearly everyone in a compressed schedule.

Unfortunately, Bynum was never able to take the court last season while dealing with issues in both of his knees. And, quite frankly, we're not sure when he's going to take the court this season. While people covering the Cavaliers have maintained that he is working out hard at the team's facility, there is no timeline for him to begin basketball activities.

Questions about his work ethic have dogged Bynum for years, and his seemingly lackadaisical approach to rehabbing last season didn't help. Bynum's upside is enormous (career 16.3 points, 10.9 rebounds per-36-minute averages in his career), but he also hasn't played more than 65 games since 2006-07. If I grabbed a couple of strong centers early in that draft, I might consider taking a shot on Bynum this season, but almost certainly not before the 10th round.

Danny Granger, F, Pacers: Granger didn't just lose 77 games due to a knee injury last season; he might have lost both his starting job and his role as the Pacers' star. The emergence of Paul George has left Granger's role on the team in doubt, especially since Lance Stephenson stepped right in at shooting guard in the starting lineup, allowing George to occupy Granger's small forward spot.

Head coach Frank Vogel was decidedly noncommittal when discussing the possible makeup of his starting lineup at media day, but we can already assume Granger's days as the team's first (and sometimes only) offensive option are over. This is a deep team with a bunch of competent offensive options, and it was already starting to impact Granger's play pre-injury; in 2011-12, Granger averaged 18.7 points per game, his lowest total since 2006-07.

By all indications, Granger's knee is not going to be an issue at the start of the season. I still wouldn't look at Granger as anything more than a third forward beginning in the second half of the draft.

Kevin Love, F, Timberwolves: Love's insistence on unorthodox pushup methods limited him to just 18 games last season, and he was clearly never fully healthy when he played. Of course, it says a lot about his impressive abilities that 18.3 points and 14.0 rebounds per game in just 34.3 minutes is what he does when he's not at full health. And while those 18 games were nice for Fantasy owners, this was a guy who was going as high as No. 3 overall last season, so this was obviously a disastrous season.

Love suffered two broken hands during the season, and also had surgery to remove scar tissue in his left knee towards the end of the season. He should be fully healthy by the start of the season, but Love is now officially tagged with the "injury-prone" label. He is still well worth targeting in the first round -- you're not getting 25 points, 15 rebounds and two 3-pointers per game from anyone else -- but Love has not missed fewer than nine games since his 2008-09 rookie campaign, so plan accordingly.

Derrick Rose, G, Bulls: Ah, Derrick Rose. The source of much consternation from Fantasy owners -- not to mention criticism from every sideline M.D. who thinks it's OK to tell other people when and how to feel healthy -- is finally ready to play. Right?

Right. Though there was some talk about minutes restrictions at media day, there is no indication that Rose isn't going to start the season, nearly a year and a half removed from tearing his ACL. Media day did provide us with the hilarious assertion from Gar Forman that coach Tom Thibodeau is "very good at pacing a team." I'm pretty sure Luol Deng had already logged 750 minutes for the season by the time I wrote this.

It goes against Thibodeau's nature to limit any player's minutes, but that sounds like the plan, at least at first. Once Rose shoes he is back at something close to MVP form, however, expect the reins to be taken off. Rose will likely go in the second round of most drafts, which could end up being an absolute steal, even at the deep point guard position.

Midseason injuries

Rajon Rondo, G, Celtics: At this point, nobody seems to know when to expect Rondo back in the fold. He suffered a torn ACL in late January, and is almost certainly not going to be back in time for the start of the season. Beyond that, there hasn't been any indication as to when he could return.

General manager Danny Ainge has maintained that the team will be careful with Rondo's recovery, and that makes sense, since the Celtics are entering an (unacknowledged) rebuilding year. That works for them, but it could end up costing us one of the 10 best guards in Fantasy for half the season, if not more. The prospect of getting Rondo for 45-50 games is still enticing enough to make him worth a look in the middle rounds, though his numbers will likely be somewhat disappointing based on the lack of talent around him.

Anderson Varejao, C, Cavaliers: The Cavaliers are pinning a lot of their hopes on a return to prominence on the fragile bodies of Varejao and Bynum, making their season a true boom-or-bust proposition. For Varejao's part, his injury-prone nature has been tough to pin down, as he seems to suffer a new injury each season.

Varejao was limited to just 25 games last season due to a leg injury and then a blood clot in his lung, just another in a long line of freak injuries for the big man. The question is, since none of the injuries he has dealt with have been of a recurring nature, is it just bad luck, or is Varejao actually prone to injuries?

Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, that is an unanswerable question. What we do know right now is Varejao has been cleared to play, and will be a key fixture for the Cavaliers for as long as he can stand it. This guy is a double-double threat on a nightly basis, but the Cavaliers are suddenly very, very deep in the frontcourt, so don't expect much more than 30 minutes per game. I would target Varejao as a No. 2 center, though one with tremendous upside.

Lou Williams, G, Hawks: Williams suffered a torn ACL in January, and has not yet been cleared to return to training camp. He is probably in a similar place as Rondo in his recovery, though he will likely be more aggressive with the Hawks likely fighting for a playoff spot this season. Williams fit in really well with the Hawks last season, and is one of their only options at the shooting guard spot right now. He averaged 14.1 points and 3.6 assists per game in 39 appearances, and will likely fill a similar role whenever he is healthy enough to return.

Williams is by no means a high-end Fantasy option, especially on a Hawks team that doesn't need to rely on his scoring. Given his injury concerns, feel free to target him late in drafts, as a possible starting guard in December.

Late season, still recovering

Kobe Bryant, G, Lakers Throughout the offseason, Kobe talked to whichever LA-area media member he could find about the "unprecedented" speed with which he was recovering from his rupture Achilles. Now, with training camps set to open and about a month to go int he season, Bryant hasn't even been cleared to carry his full body weight while running on a treadmill. So, while it hasn't been confirmed, it appears very unlikely Bryant will be ready by the start of the season.

And, of course Bryant is unlikely to be ready for opening night. The guy tore his Achilles six months ago, and that is a notoriously difficult injury to come back quickly from. This isn't a criticism of Bryant, it's just acknowledging that he suffered a major injury and isn't recovering as quickly as his most optimistic hopes.

While I refuse to totally count Bryant out for the start of the season, Fantasy owners shouldn't expect it. Still, even if we assume he misses the first month of the season, Bryant isn't going to last beyond the third round in most Fantasy drafts.

Russell Westbrook, G, Thunder: I initially wrote this last Saturday, when all indications were that Westbrook would be healthy shortly after opening night, at worst. A few days later and Westbrook's whole outlook has changed, as he is set to miss at least the first month of the season while recovering from a cleanup procedure in his knee.

Now that we know Westbrook isn't going to be back for the start of the season, his Fantasy value can take a more concrete shape. And, frankly, this doesn't change it a ton. Oh sure, Westbrook is no longer a top-5 Fantasy option -- until he comes back.

There might be an adjustment period when Westbrook is able to take the floor, but the potential for huge numbers is too high to think this drops him too far on your draft boards. Even if Westbrook misses the first 15-20 games of the season, he's no worse than a third-round value, given how he should carry you once he returns.

Danilo Galinari, F, Nuggets: Gallinari's torn ACL cost him the final month of the season, not to mention the Nuggets' disappointing playoff slide, ending his season on a sour note. Fortunately, nearly everything we have heard since has been overwhelmingly positive, especially the recent news that Gallinari expects to be back by the end of November.

Even accounting for an adjustment period, that leaves Gallinari in line for 60-plus games, which should be a great sign for his Fantasy value. Gallinari finished second on the team with 16.2 points per game a year ago, and the Nuggets' tumultuous offseason saw them get rid of two wing options without finding many suitable replacements.

If Gallinari is at full health by, say, late December, Fantasy owners will be thrilled to have him around. Even assuming he is essentially useless for two months, Gallinari has enough upside for the final four months of the season to be worth targeting in the middle rounds, assuming he avoids a setback.

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Timberwolves' Andrew Wiggins out Tuesday, likely out Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:57 am ET) Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins didn't play Tuesday and will likely miss Wednesday's game as well after taking a hard fall Sunday, the Star Tribune reports. The issue appears to be minor in nature, and the rookie is day-to-day moving forward.

Jazz C Enes Kanter explodes for 27 points in preseason win Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:05 am ET) Jazz center Enes Kanter scored a team-high 27 points on 12-of-17 shooting, including 2-for-2 shooting from downtown, while recording seven rebounds, three assists and one block in his team's 105-91 preseason win over the Thunder Tuesday.

Kanter played 29 minutes en route to his best performance of the preseason, as all five starters logged at least 28 minutes of action in the win. Kanter has a chance to build upon his career-best performance last season, in which he averaged 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The Jazz open the regular season at home against the Rockets on Oct. 29.


Heat SG Dwyane Wade scores 26 points in preseason win Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade scored 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting while adding six assists, two rebounds and one block in 29 minutes of action during Tuesday's 90-85 preseason win over the Rockets.

Wade is in line to be the team's top scoring option on a nightly basis in the Heat's post-LeBron era, as long as he can stay healthy. Before dropping 26 Friday, his highest scoring mark in six preseason games had been 16 points. Wade and the Heat open the regular season at home against the Wizards on Oct. 29.


Pacers G George Hill exits game with knee contusion
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) Pacers guard George Hill left Tuesday's preseason game against the Timberwolves with a left knee contusion and will not return. Hill is likely day-to-day with the bruise, though he might take it easy over the next week in hopes of being 100 percent for the regular-season opener.

Kerr: 'Highly doubtful' Warriors' Shaun Livingston plays in opener
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that it's "highly doubtful" guard Shaun Livingston (toe) plays in the season opener next Wednesday, Yahoo! Sports reports.

Livingston had offseason toe surgery and was reported to be targeting a return by the regular-season opener, but it appears he won't reach that goal. He averaged 8.3 points per game on 48.3 percent shooting for Brooklyn last season.


Report: Magic, Nikola Vucevic agree to four-year extension
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) The Magic and center Nikola Vucevic have agreed to a four-year, $53-million extension, Yahoo! Sports reports.

Vucevic posted a career-best 14.2 points per game last season while appearing in 57 games. He has shot 50.4 percent from the field in three seasons as a professional, the last two with Orlando.


Brooks: Thunder G Reggie Jackson expected to play in opener
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) Thunder coach Scotty Brooks expects guard Reggie Jackson (wrist) to be ready for the regular-season opener, The Oklahoman reports. Jackson "didn't feel comfortable" after his Monday workout as he continues to recover from a wrist injury suffered earlier in the month.

MRI confirms sprained thumb for Bulls SG Jimmy Butler
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) An MRI has confirmed that Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler is dealing with a sprained thumb, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Butler is going to sit out practice this week as well as the team's preseason finale Friday before being re-evaluated this weekend. The Bulls open the season Oct. 29 on the road against the Knicks.


Lakers PG Jeremy Lin to return to action Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) Lakers point guard Jeremy Lin will return to preseason action Tuesday, he announced.

"[A]nkles are finally feeling better ... excited to get back on the court tonight!" Lin said Tuesday.

Lin has been dealing with an ankle sprain but appears to be on track to be ready for the regular season.


Williams: Jimmer Fredette to play scoring role off Pelicans bench
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/21/2014) Pelicans coach Monty Williams indicated that he plans to have guard Jimmer Fredette in a scoring role during the regular season, The Times Picayune reports.

"You are trying to take advantage of Jimmer’s ability to score," Williams said. "When he plays point, they pressure him full court, so you’re getting into your offense later than you want to."

Fredette has played on and off the ball during the preseason, filling the same role as guard Austin Rivers. Tyreke Evans should be the ball handler while on the court with either Fredette or Rivers, but when Evans hits the bench, Rivers will take the point over Fredette, who should be free to focus on scoring.


 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings