Fantasy Basketball

2015-16 Fantasy Basketball: Week 1 Injury Report — The Stinking Rose

The day you’ve all be waiting for is finally here! From newbies to degenerates, every fantasy basketball fan is pumped for the NBA to tip off tonight.

A new season means five-and-a-half months of fantasy fun. Yet, to have fun, you’ll also have to endure some sorrow — a lot of which comes in the form of injuries.

Players get hurt. It’s inevitable. Whether you’re as out-of-shape as Glen “Big Baby” Davis or as jacked as Karl Malone, no one’s body is immune to injuries (except maybe A.C. Green). As fantasy basketball owners, it’s important to know who is hurt and when they’re expected to return to the court. The worst thing you can do is have a player in your lineup who isn’t playing, or have a player wasting away on your bench when his return is nowhere on the horizon. Every. Game. Matters.

Each week, my thoughts and opinions will be seeping into your temporal lobe. I’m not a doctor, but I am a certified personal trainer, fitness instructor and sports nutrition specialist. This makes me very knowledgeable in anatomy and sports injuries, and I’ll be using my experience to guide you through the season.

I know you guys can’t wait to start setting your lineups, so let’s get to it. Since we’ve had a few months off, there may be some players listed here that you already know about, but I’m going to cover them just the same.

Tyreke Evans, Pelicans

Evans has a history of knee issues, so it was a concern when he complained of soreness earlier in the preseason. It turns out that he needed surgery to fix the issue. Doctors have set his timetable at 6-8 weeks, which means he could be back in late December if he returns at the late end of that prognosis.

If you have an IR spot, he’s a must-stash player, but owners in 10-team leagues may have to consider dropping him if you need the roster space after a couple of weeks. He’s a hold for now in 12-team leagues and up.

Nate Robinson was signed to help fill the void (Norris Cole is also out), but he’s not a recommended player in shallower leagues. Outside of his one 18-point performance, Lil’ Him averaged a meager 5.7 points on 27 percent shooting over his other three preseason games.

Derrick Rose, Bulls

When isn’t Derrick Rose hurt? This would actually make a great game show. “Regis, my final answer is 2011.” That would be the correct answer, and that’s a really long time. Since the 2010-11 season, Rose has missed 212 of a possible 312 games, including the entire, well-documented 2012-13 campaign.

It didn’t take long for Rose to sustain another injury this summer either. He suffered a fractured orbital bone on September 29 and would undergo surgery two days later. Essentially, he broke the bone around his eye after being elbowed in the face by a teammate during practice.

The good news for Rose is that he returned in time to play 10 minutes during the Bulls’ final preseason game. The bad news is that this is yet another speed bump in a now infamous trail of blood and guts that’s tainted his once promising career.

As always, owners should proceed with caution. Rostering Aaron Brooks is not a bad idea. If he’s taken, E’Twaun Moore is worth an add in deeper leagues. We have not heard the last of Derrick Rose and his injuries.

Quick Hits From the Training Room

Jusuf Nurkic, Nuggets: Coach Mike Malone said he hopes to have Nurkic back “sometime in November”. The 21-year-old Bosnian center is recovering from surgery to fix his left patella tendon, which is not the easiest of recoveries. I’m betting his “November” return will be closer to Thanksgiving than Veterans Day. In the meantime, Joffrey Lauvergne and Nikola Jokic will hold down the fort, and both are worth rostering in 12-team leagues.

Al-Farouq Aminu, Trail Blazers: Aminu signed a four-year, $30 million deal with Portland this summer and is a big part of their plans, but that may have to wait a couple of games. Aminu sat out the team’s final three preseason games with a hamstring injury. He’s yet to practice since then as well, and will need to get in at least one full practice before being cleared for game duty. The Blazers open their season on Wednesday, but don’t play again till Friday, so they may opt to hold him out of their opener. This would allow him to get an additional three days of healing. If he does sit out, Maurice Harkless and Allen Crabbe will share his minutes.

Elfrid Payton, Magic: The Magic’s talented young point guard has been plagued by a hamstring injury all preseason, forcing him to miss five of the team’s eight contests. He did, however, practice in full on Monday and should be ready to suit up for Wednesday’s division game against the Wizards. Hamstring injuries have the tendency to flare up, so keep an eye on his mobility throughout the game. If he were to miss any time during the season, C.J. Watson and Shabazz Napier would pick up the slack.

Mitch McGary, Thunder: The second-year pro suffered a concussion late last week but will reportedly play Wednesday versus the Spurs. While concussions are a serious issue, this doesn’t affect our fantasy teams much, as he’s fourth on OKC’s front-court depth chart.

Arron Afflalo, Knicks: The Knicks shooting guard should miss at least a few games with a strained hamstring, and that absence could stretch even further. The team wants to make sure Afflalo is 100 percent before putting him in to action. His fantasy appeal is already the lowest it’s been in his career, so owners can feel free to drop him for a hot free agent. Langston Galloway, Jerian Grant and even Cleanthony Early should see a rise in minutes. Grant is the only appealing one for fantasy purposes though.

Dwight Howard, Rockets: D12’s back injury has become a major problem this summer. He was plagued by injuries much of last season, so he’s starting 2015-16 off on the wrong foot. We have to hope this doesn’t become a nagging issue, as he’s someone owners likely already gambled on in drafts. He’s suspended for the first game of the season anyway, so he does have a couple more days to get things right.

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