Back on March 2, XN Sports listed six important injury storylines, many of which have come to pass. Considering the many injury developments already miring the fantasy playoffs, we decided to update the important injury storylines owners should keep watch over.
Westbrook or Westbroke? – We might be in the minority here but we’re far more concerned with Westbrook’s injury history, and ability to remain healthy, than we are with Derrick Rose‘s glassware. Think about it: one has had one knee surgically repaired on three times, and it continues to be a matter of concern no matter how well he’s been playing. The other has injured both knees, and sure, has missed way more time on the court, but there’s no full evidence in Rose’s case that it wasn’t just two very unlucky incidents. In Westbrook’s case, the issue at hand is as clear and alarming as Scott Brook’s offensive schemes, and it only gets more troublesome with the playoffs at the doorstep. With the Rockets and the Grizzlies, two teams known for their physical point guards, awaiting the Thunder in the postseason, the threat of re-injury is concerning for the Westbrook camp. It has to be.
Playoff Rest Cursed – Building off the Westbrook predicament, is that he’s already a candidate for rest in back-to-backs. Him, along with a collection of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Manu Ginobili, Rajon Rondo, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, even Paul George (he’s looking winded, no?), could see a good deal of resting time down the stretch of these here playoffs. All of the above are good enough to hold onto, even with the prospect of time off looming, but it’s something to be aware of. With the most recent injury, Westbrook should lead the way with most games missed in the fantasy hoops postseason.
The Garbage Time Nurse – For a variety of teams, these last chunk of games are nothing more than time on the old timecard. Squads like the Bucks, Lakers, Magic, 76ers, Cavs and Pistons aren’t playing for glory, they’re playing for the reset button. Which means that any youthful player with a recent injury, or a spate of recent injuries, could see considerable rest down the stretch. Some candidates are Andre Drummond, Michael Carter-Williams, Kyrie Irving, Jordan Farmar, Eric Gordon, Nate Wolters, Alec Burks, Isaiah Thomas, Tony Wroten and Nerlens Noel. To help their tanking cause, reduce the risk of a graver injury, or just because their organizations have no clear-cut plans, any number of these guys could sit out the last few games of the season. Take note.
Big Man Woes – Lower extremity injuries on big men should be a major concern for fantasy owners. Look at Yao Ming‘s career. Though having one, as in Dwight Howard‘s case, doesn’t indicate that they’ll miss considerable time, it is something worth monitoring carefully.
An example is Nikola Pekovic. The man has missed considerable playing time this year, and the last three missed games indicate that he’s not entirely healthy. For a bruiser like Pekovic, who is built like a video game boss, the added strain of his game and build only make lower extremity injuries worse. Pekovic is certainly someone worth being worried about especially if his return doesn’t come soon.
Another is Marc Gasol. Gasol has being a resilient guy for his career, and certainly this year, but a string of lower extremity issues can sneak up on him in the long run. He’s dodged quite a few bullets now but no one is invincible.