Ibaka underwent surgery this week to help address discomfort in his knee. Apparently, Ibaka had been experiencing soreness since February. Despite setting up a management plan to help alleviate the pain, the Thunder ultimately decided that surgery was the best option.
Ibaka is expected to be out between four and six weeks. If all goes well in his recovery, Ibaka should be able to return for the Thunder’s first round series, should they hold off the Pelicans for the eighth playoff spot.
As a result of the timeline, Ibaka’s regular season is over. He’s safe to drop in redraft leagues. Ibaka’s MRI prior to the surgery revealed no structural or long-term issues so Ibaka is a great keeper for next season.
With Ibaka out, Steven Adams will move into the starting lineup alongside Enes Kanter. Adams is the rawer of the two big men on offense, but could approach a double-double a night. In the last three games without Ibaka, he’s averaged 14.3 ppg and 10.7 rpg. He’s fouled out two of those games, but if he can manage the fouls, Adams should be a great pickup for playoff teams in need of a big man.
Between Adams and Kanter, I’d prefer to own Kanter. However, he’s owned in 73% of leagues (compared to 29% for Adams) so he’s probably already taken in your league. Kanter’s been great since being traded to the Thunder, but especially in the last five games, averaging 20 ppg and 12.2 rpg. Neither Adams nor Kanter block shots the same way that Ibaka does, but will be great big men to use for the playoff run.
Meanwhile, Kevin Durant tried to practice on Thursday, but was held out because of soreness in his surgically repaired foot. He was expected to be back this weekend or early next week, but it looks like this might be a setback. The Thunder will remain cautious about his injury and owners will just have to be patient.
[UPDATE] After a press conference held by Sam Presti, Durant will be out indefinitely with lingering issues with his foot. “If that takes the rest of the regular season, if that takes the rest of the playoffs, that’s what it takes.” This is JB chiming in – Wow, I think he’s droppable. May be on can’t cut lists, but I imagine sites will remove that momentarily.
Just like the Thunder, the Pelicans have had their fair share of injuries too. Anthony Davis rolled his ankle during shoot around on Thursday and sat out the game as a result. Then Omer Asik exited the game early with a calf strain. The Pelicans play again on Friday night, but no update on either player has been given. Consider both players questionable to play until further notice.
Klay Thompson will be out 7-10 days, after spraining his ankle in Monday’s game. The Warriors don’t believe the injury is too serious, but are being cautious for their playoff run.
Steve Kerr said that Justin Holiday would enter the starting lineup for Thompson. He put up a stinker in the Warriors victory over the Hawks, posting 5 points and 5 assists in 25 minutes. Holiday is a good shooter who can light it up on a given night, but will remain inconsistent in his second season. Shaun Livingston, Harrison Barnes, and Andre Iguodala should also see more playing time, while Thompson’s ankle heals.
Kyle Korver broke his nose in Sunday’s game against the Lakers. He underwent a small procedure on Monday and has been ruled out for the Hawk’s remaining road trip, which puts him back on Sunday at the earliest. When he does return, he will be wearing a mask to protect his face. As long as Korver feels comfortable enough to play with the mask, he should be fine going forward. The bigger concern is how much the Hawks will rest their starters down the stretch. The Hawks are a win or Wizards’ loss away from clinching the division and pretty much have the #1 seed locked up in the east.
Should Korver sit for his nose or just rest, Kent Bazemore will be moved into the starting lineup. Bazemore started Sunday’s game for DeMarre Carroll (rest) and played 38 minutes, posting 13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks. Bazemore can do a little of everything, but really helps with the defensive stats for a shooting guard. Wednesday’s game was a blow out, but Bazemore has been averaging 10 ppg, 4.75 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.75 spg, and 0.75 bpg over the last 4 games.
Out since February 22 with knee discomfort, Nick Young learned that he has a small fracture in his left kneecap. The injury is expected to heal on its own, but it’s unclear if Young will play again this season. With the Lakers’ season over, it makes more sense for the team to shut him down. His ownership has dipped down to 35% and owners should grab someone else on the waiver wire who is actually healthy. Wayne Ellington and Wesley Johnson will see lots of offensive opportunities for the Lakers and are available on most waiver wires.
Here are some quick updates on other injuries:
Brandon Knight sat out his fourth straight game on Thursday, but no word on when he’ll return from his sprained ankle.
Lastly, it looks unlikely that Greg Monroe will return to the Pistons this weekend. He has a knee strain and has sat the last two games.