It feels like each time I have to submit the weekly injury report, someone big gets a last minute injury. The first week it was Victor Oladipo and his facial fracture. Last week, it was Russell Westbrook. Let’s hope that this week no one gets hurt after I hit submit.
Speaking of Russell Westbrook, he will be out 4+ weeks after surgery to repair his broken right hand. This is a huge blow to the Thunder who are already hurting with injuries. They are so desperate for a living, breathing player that they signed Ish Smith as part of their hardship exception. He is definitely not the Ish and should not be anywhere close to fantasy rosters.
Fortunately for the Thunder, and fantasy owners, Reggie Jackson is back from his ankle injury. He already has 36 points and 19 assists in just two games back. Jackson should continue to be a fantasy beast, but expect his field goal percentage to dip with the added pressure as the lead scorer.
Since Jackson is definitely already owned, Perry Jones is the next best Thunder option to pick up. Averaging 15 points and 4 rebounds, Jones should continue to see playing time, while knocking down threes. He’s day-to-day with a bruised knee, but shouldn’t be out for long.
Another intriguing option is Sebastain Telfair. He’s averaging 9 ppg, 5 apg, and 3 rpg in about 30 minutes of run. He was ejected in Tuesday’s game for committing a Flagrant-2 foul on Tyler Hansbrough, but will not be suspended by the NBA further.
Forwards Andre Roberson and Lance Thomas will get some run as Durant’s replacement, but don’t contribute much more than a few points and rebounds. Think of Roberson as a poor man’s Thabo Sefolosha: better real life player than fantasy.
Perry Jones, Anthony Morrow, and Jeremy Lamb will be back shortly, which will only complicate playing time. In the short-term, Jones and Telfair should provide useful fantasy numbers and are worth a look.
The Indiana Pacers can’t catch a break either. George Hill was only supposed to be out a few weeks, but now Frank Vogel says Hill is still “a long ways away” from returning. During ESPN’s Wednesday night broadcast of the Pacers and Wizards game, it was reported that Hill will be out until December.
With Hill out and Rodney Stuckey still not 100%, Donald Sloan has shown that he’s a great short term add. He exploded for 31 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds against the Wizards on Wednesday. As long as Hill is banged up, Sloan will start at point guard, with Rodney Stuckey and CJ Watson coming off the bench. However, as good as Sloan was on Wednesday, don’t expect that line every night. He scored a total of 31 points in the three games prior to Wednesday.
Power forward David West has yet to play a game this season due to a hurt ankle. He’s already been ruled out for this weekend and will be reevaluated on Monday. Luis Scola has been starting in West’s place, but has underperformed and isn’t worth much attention, except in leagues that count crazy hairstyles.
Speaking of crazy hairstyles, Chris Copeland has been solid filling in for Paul George and David West. He has terrible shot selection, as evidenced by his 39% field goal shooting, but is hitting 41% from downtown with 8+ attempts a game. It may not be pretty, but his counting stats (17.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.4 apg) are enough for a waiver wire claim.
Copeland’s field goal attempts will definitely go down once West is back, but expect his percentage to increase. West will draw more attention into the paint, creating more wide-open looks for Copeland.
Moving west (see what I did there?), the Golden State Warriors have been cautious with David Lee’s hamstring. Lee saw his first game action coming off the bench on Wednesday. Unfortunately for owners, he re-aggravated his hamstring and is out indefinitely. He was scheduled for an MRI, but the results haven’t come back yet. Lee is out for the Warriors’ two game road trip this weekend and probably will need more time off after that. Expect the Warriors to be even more cautious with Lee’s hamstring this go around.
In the meantime, Draymond Green will continue to start in Lee’s place. He’s a versatile forward who can shoot threes, while also grabbing steals and blocks on the defensive end. Green exploded for 24 pts, 4 3PM, 8 rebs, 5 asts, 1 stl and 1 blk in Wednesday’s win. Don’t expect that stat line every night, but the potential for filling up the box score is definitely there.
Michael Carter-Williams finally practiced on Thursday. He’s hopeful to return for the 76ers road game against the Mavericks on Thursday, November 13. Coach Brett Brown has hinted that MCW will be eased back into the lineup before taking on his usual 30+ minutes a night.
Until MCW is ready to go, expect Tony Wroten to continue to handle starting point guard duties. Wroten has been inefficient so far (30% 3PT, 58 % FT, 4.5 TOs), but his counting numbers are fantastic (20.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 7.0 apg, 3.4 spg). Even when MCW comes back, Wroten should start alongside Williams
While MCW is out, Hollis Thompson has been starting at shooting guard, but is off to an inconsistent start, shooting only 38% from the field. He’s still a young player and has room to develop, but won’t produce much more than a few 3s, points, and boards.
Coming off the bench for the 76ers are Alexey Shved and K.J. McDaniels. Shved provides some scoring and assists (9.6 ppg and 3.8 apg so far), but will need to improve on his shooting accuracy before he sees more playing time.
The second pick of the second round in the 2014 draft, K.J. McDaniels gives you out of position stats. As a 6’6” shooting guard, he led the ACC with 2.8 bpg last year. In the last three games, he has 7 blocks. Still raw on the offensive side, he’ll contribute some points and threes as well. Too bad highlight reel dunks don’t count towards anything in fantasy. McDaniels put Moe Harkless on a poster, with an emphatic alley-oop against the Magic.
There’s obvious potential for Thompson, Shved, and McDaniels to have productive games, but it will be difficult to guess which one will explode on any given night. There are just not enough minutes to go around for everyone.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is expected to return to the court on Friday. He sat out the last two games for a chest bruise. After being the #2 pick in 2012, MKG has underperformed, but he was off to a fine start this season (28 pts, 20 reb, 3 blocks in two games) before leaving prematurely with the chest bruise in his third game. Now rested, he should reclaim his starting spot from Gerald Henderson on Friday night.