There are a number of superstars and key fantasy players who are dealing with injuries that may - or may not - linger into the 2021-22 NBA season.
How will those injuries affect their start to the season, and, in turn, their fantasy basketball draft value? When is the right time to take players dealing with injuries?
We have you covered with updates and advice on how to handle these players below.
Fantasy Basketball: Injury updates that will impact your draft
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
Brown missed the 2021 NBA Playoffs due to season-ending wrist surgery, bringing a close to the first of many All-Star seasons to come. The 24-year-old is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, but he did tell The Undefeated that while his wrist is healing, "some days it's better than others." You should still draft Brown as you normally would, without any hesitation.
Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards
Bryant only played 10 games in 2020 before a torn ACL ended his season. The 24-year-old was poised for a breakout season, averaging 15.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 64.8 percent from the field before suffering the injury. The latest update provided by Wizards' general manager Tommy Shepard stated that he "can't necessarily see" Bryant playing in their first game of the season, so he should miss some time.
Bryant was a favourite among fantasy sleepers heading into drafts last year, but the Wizards have added to the frontcourt since then, with the emergence of Daniel Gafford along with the acquisition of Montrezl Harrell. Draft Bryant at your own risk, knowing the uncertainty of his standing in Washington's depth chart.
Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets
Hayward missed the final two months of the season and Charlotte's Play-In Game with a foot injury that derailed what had been a strong first campaign with the Hornets. The injury isn't supposed to play a role heading into this season, with the latest report from The Athletic stating Hayward is expected to be "a full go" for training camp.
Select Hayward where you normally would in your draft, keeping in mind that injuries have played a big role in his last four seasons.
Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic
Injury: ACL and meniscus
Isaac missed all of the 2020-21 season after suffering a torn ACL and meniscus in the 2020 NBA bubble. The 23-year-old emerged as a fantasy star by way of racking up defensive counting stats, averaging 2.3 blocks and 1.6 steals per game in 2019-20. The latest states that Isaac has resumed on-court work, but will not do full-court work during training camp and is still without a timetable for return. Even still, don't be afraid to take him after the first few tiers of stars go off the board, as he should be a valuable fantasy player once he returns to action.
Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers
Leonard went down with a partially torn ACL in the 2021 NBA Playoffs and never returned to the court, later receiving surgery this offseason. There have not been any concrete reports giving an update on the situation, but the belief is that Leonard will miss the majority - if not all - of the 2021-22 season. Because of that "if," Leonard may be worth a draft-and-stash in the late rounds of your draft once the talent pool dwindles down.
Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets
Murray missed the remainder of the season and playoffs after suffering a torn ACL in April. The Nuggets' star guard has appeared to recover fairly quickly, already resuming some light on-court work while also flashing that his bounce is back. He remains without an official timetable for his return, but it does seem as though the 24-year-old will be back at some point during the 2021-22 season. Once it gets to the middle rounds of your draft, he is worth a draft-and-stash.
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
Siakam received offseason shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum and the original report stated the Raptors' star forward will have a five-month recovery period. With the surgery coming in June, Siakam should be expected to return to the floor sometime in November, meaning he should only miss the first few weeks of the season. He has been cleared for all on-court work aside from physical contact, so the All-Star forward is making progress.
While he will likely slide in your fantasy draft, don't let him fall too far. He is still worth an early-round draft pick since he won't miss much time.
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Thompson will reportedly target a Christmas Day return from a two-year absence due to an ACL injury followed by an Achilles injury. He has been cleared to participate in "controlled drills" during camp, but he will not take part in full practices or live action just yet. The five-time All-Star and three-time NBA champion will need to shake off the rust after two seasons on the sidelines, but he'll still be a contributor well worth an early-to-mid-round draft pick in your fantasy league. Although he'll miss the first few months of the season, take Thompson before he slides too far, because he should hit his stride right as fantasy playoffs roll around later in the year.
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
Turner missed the end of the season and Play-In Tournament with a badly sprained big toe, but the Pacers' big man is reportedly "doing great" in his rehab process. He has been cleared for all basketball activities and is expected to be healthy for the start of training camp. Select Turner - the 2021 blocks champion with an astounding average of 3.4 per game - without any hesitation in your fantasy drafts.
TJ Warren, Indiana Pacers
Warren didn't have the opportunity to try and build on an impressive run in the 2020 NBA Bubble because of season-ending foot surgery four games into the year. The Pacers' scoring forward provided us with his own injury update a few weeks back, tweeting, "I played basketball today. I had fun," meaning he has resumed basketball activities in some capacity. However, Indiana more recently stated his foot "is healing during the rehabilitation process; but not at the pace previously anticipated. He remains out indefinitely, and further updates will be provided as warranted."
Warren should remain the go-to scoring option for Indiana this season, but it appears he will miss more time than expected. Draft him with caution, slightly later than you may have originally anticipated.
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