Week 21 NBA Injury Report: Playoff Pains

There’s nothing worse than having a guy like Kobe Bryant or Carmelo Anthony carry you through the season only to disappear to the sidelines come playoff time. Luckily, with plenty of injuries to go around, you can still pick up plenty of solid replacements to get you through your week until your stars return, let’s take a look at who’s aching this week.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant reacts after being called for a double dribble against the New Orleans Hornets during the second quarter at the New Orleans Arena Crystal LoGiudice USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant (ankle): Kobe was out Sunday and Monday after attempting to play through his badly sprained ankle Friday. He will have plenty of time to recover with the Lakers off until Friday’s game against the Wizards but check his status before starting him. Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks should get some extra opportunities if Kobe is still not ready to go.

Carmelo Anthony (knee): Anthony had to have fluid drained from his hamstring to quell his knee stiffness and hopes to play Wednesday against the Magic. The news from Knicks camp seems promising but check his status before starting him.

Tyson Chandler (knee/neck): Chandler has missed three straight games with a knee injury but is now dealing with a stiff neck. He is set to undergo an MRI on his neck Tuesday so be sure to check his status. Kurt Thomas and Kenyon Martin should see extra time if he remains out but aren’t real fantasy options.

Kevin Garnett (thigh): KG has missed two straight with a thigh injury but might have played Monday if he wasn’t sick. He will likely return Wednesday against the Hornets but make sure to check his status before starting him. Brandon Bass and Jeff Green would see extra minutes if he’s absent again.

Taj Gibson (knee): Gibson is expected to return Thursday against the Blazers after missing ten games with a sprained MCL. He is typically a very low-end option but the Bulls are playing with a seven man rotation (and occasionally putting in Nazr Mohammed) so Gibson could see some real minutes in the frontcourt when he returns.

Kirk Hinrich (foot): It wouldn’t be an injury report without Kirk Hinrich but for once it’s good news. Hinrich practiced Monday and hopes to play Thursday against the Blazers. As with Gibson, Hinrich could see more opportunities than usual with Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton still out but is a low-end option at best.

Dion Waiters (knee): Waiters has had a lot of injury problems in his rookie campaign and had to leave Monday’s game against the Pacers with a sore knee. It’s something he’s played with for some time and will get it reevaluated on Tuesday so check his status after that.

Shawn Marion (calf): Marion has missed five straight with a strained calf and there’s no word on when he will return so Jae Crowder figures to start again Wednesday against the Nets.

Brandon Knight (ankle): Knight practiced Monday after missing three straight with a sprained ankle and could be ready to go for the Pistons’ next game which isn’t until Friday at Miami.

Jose Calderon (illness): Calderon left Monday’s game against the Nets with flu like symptoms and is listed as day-to-day. He should be ready to go by Friday when the Pistons take on the Heat.

Andre Drummond (back): Drummond practiced Monday but doesn’t appear to be ready to return this week. At this point in the fantasy season you can probably forget about him since he won’t be playing full minutes even when he does return.

Eric Bledsoe (elbow): Bledsoe has missed three straight with an elbow injury and there’s been no word on his return. With Chauncey Billups and Jamal Crawford ahead of him on the depth chart he is not worth playing when healthy anyway.

Pau Gasol (foot): After looking like he was ready to return, Gasol suffered a setback in practice and will undergo an ultrasound on his foot on Tuesday. Doesn’t look good but check back to see if Gasol’s foot is having a girl or a boy.

Ersan Ilyasova (hip/back): Ilyasova missed practice on Monday with back and hip issues and is highly questionable to play Tuesday against the Blazers. Ekpe Udoh and Samuel Dalembert would likely see more minutes if Ilyasova sits.

Tyreke Evans (foot): Evans didn’t practice Monday due to a sore foot and is questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Clippers. Marcus Thornton will likely fill in if Evans can’t go.

DeMarcus Cousins (quadriceps): Cousins has missed two straight with a quad injury but practiced Monday and has a good chance to play Tuesday against the Clips. Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes figure to get more time if he remains out.

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