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NBA injury report: Return timeline, updates, impact for LeBron James, Malcolm Brogdon, Josh Richardson, other injured stars

NBA injury report: Return timeline, updates, impact for LeBron James, Malcolm Brogdon, Josh Richardson, other injured stars

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The biggest injury news in the NBA concerns two players who are not on this list because they do not appear to be long- or even medium-term concerns: Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and guard Marcus Smart had to leave their game against the Orlando Magic early on Sunday. Tatum has a shin contusion, and has been ruled out for the Celtics’ regular-season finale against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. Smart has an oblique contusion, and will also sit in Washington. Boston does not appear to be taking any chances in that meaningless game: Aron Baynes, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Kyrie Irving have also been ruled out, and Daniel Theis is listed as questionable.

More NBA news

According to NBC Sports’ Kyle Draper, Smart hasn’t had an MRI yet but Boston hopes to have him available for the start of its series against the Indiana Pacers this weekend. There has been no such reporting on Tatum’s status.

Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the Milwaukee Bucks’ game against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday with a sore calf, but doesn’t seem worried about his ankle anymore and scored 30 points in 25 minutes against Atlanta on Sunday. Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum made his long-awaited return from his left knee injury on Sunday, too.

We have every single NBA injury chronicled here and updated often to let you know who is in or out each night and beyond. But this page will look at the most important injuries in the NBA and how they are affecting teams and players moving forward.

NBA’s biggest injuries

April 8 update: The Lakers are playing out the string without their superstar (and several members of their young core), which has been great news for guys like Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The Lakers have surprising wins against the playoff-bound Jazz and Clippers in recent days, with Caldwell-Pope scoring 32 against Utah and Caruso dropping 32 against the Clippers. JaVale McGee has been putting up big numbers lately, too. As for LeBron, well, he told Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck that his groin injury on Christmas Day disrupted his “month-by-month” leadership plan. I would love to know more about this plan.

“I’ll come back and be full speed,” Brogdon told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Matt Velasquez recently, adding that this injury is “not even half as bad” as the one that messed up his second season in the league. These are encouraging words, as Brogdon was not himself when he returned to the lineup last season and, before tearing his plantar fascia, he was playing the best basketball of his life. The big question, then, is when he will be ready. Brogdon does not have an official timeline, but it was reported to be a six-to-eight-week deal in mid-March. If he’s in the lineup without much rust at the beginning of the second round, Milwaukee should be happy. In the meantime, coach Mike Budenholzer seems to have settled on Sterling Brown as his replacement in the starting lineup.

Despite recently saying he planned to come back before the end of the regular season and consider offseason surgery, Crabbe had a right knee scope last Thursday. The Nets have not officially announced that he is out for the season, but that is the logical inference to make. The shooting guard has had a rough go of it healthwise this season, and it is possible that he has played his last game for Brooklyn. He will surely pick up his $18.5 million player option, but, if the Nets are willing to attach an asset to shed his contract, they will have much more financial flexibility as they try to continue the good vibes this summer. They clinched a playoff spot on Sunday with a victory in Indiana.

Richardson strained his hip last week against Boston, and, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the injury came with a two-week recovery timeline. This is rather inconvenient, as the Heat have now lost four games in a row, including a two-point loss in Minnesota and an overtime loss in Miami since Richardson went down. Miami’s playoff hopes are hanging by a thread, as are his hopes of playing another game before October.

Billy Donovan was careful not to definitively rule out Roberson returning in the playoffs, but he said last Thursday that because the forward is not “in practices and being able to do the stuff that we’re doing every day, it’s obviously moving in that direction,” per The Oklahoman. This is a sad story. He was a Defensive Player of the Year candidate at the time of the injury last January, then needed a second surgery to reduce inflammation in his knee last May, and has since had two setbacks trying to come back. It is tricky to evaluate how much the Thunder have missed him, but they would surely love to be able to put him on elite offensive players in the playoffs. Oklahoma City had the league’s top-ranked defense without him for a significant chunk of the season. Since the All-Star break, however, it has been 11th in defensive rating.

April 4 update: Booker has been on an absolute tear in recent weeks, and he scored at least 48 points in each of the final three games of March. His season, however, is coming to a premature close — he sprained his left ankle against the Jazz on Wednesday. With the Suns having one of the worst records in the NBA, the decision to shut down Booker is a no-brainer.

March 30 update: Holiday had season-ending surgery on Tuesday “to repair a core muscle injury,” the Pelicans announced, and now it’s worth wondering whether he has played his final game for the team. His great individual season was wasted, and, when New Orleans trades Anthony Davis, it will have to seriously consider how Holiday, who turns 29 in June, fits into its future. Two months ago, Holiday said that Davis was “90 percent of the reason that I stayed” when he could have left in free agency.

Nurkic had a career year, but it ended in ugly, cruel fashion on Monday. In the second overtime against Brooklyn — a game in which he had 34 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, four blocks and two steals — he sustained compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula. He had surgery right away and, while there is no official timetable for his return, it is clear that he will miss at least a significant portion of next season. This is crushing for the Blazers, who will have to rely on Zach Collins, Enes Kanter and Meyers Leonard in his place and are still missing guard CJ McCollum.

The second-year big man had a strange moment against Toronto on Tuesday, having to leave the game because of an accelerated heart rate and fatigue. The next day, the Bulls shut him down for the rest of the season, classifying it as a precautionary measure as they do more tests to figure out the root cause of the episode. Markkanen told reporters it wasn’t scary and isn’t worried about it, but Chicago is not going to take any risks.

On Saturday, LaVine will miss his fifth straight game due to a thigh injury. Given where the Bulls are in the standings, this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the guard was scoring with absurd efficiency since the All-Star break, averaging 26.7 points on 48.7 percent shooting and making 46.4 percent of his 3s on 5.8 attempts per game.

Porter, out for Saturday’s game against the Raptors, extends his streak of absences to six games because of a shoulder injury. On Wednesday, he seemed surprised that reporters asked if he was done for the season, unaware that the team has a history of shutting players down with minor injuries this time of year. He has still not been ruled out for the year, but it is unclear when he will return for the Bulls.

The Lakers guard had been playing through pain for some time, and it’s sort of crazy that it took this long for the issue to be addressed in a serious way — on Thursday, he had what the Lakers called an “ultrasonic debridement procedure” on his right patellar tendon, which will sideline him for 12 weeks. From the Los Angeles Times: “The procedure Hart underwent involves a small surgical instrument being inserted into the knee, with the help of an ultrasound machine. It then delivers ultrasonic waves that help remove tissue that is causing problems in the knee’s healing process.” Hart’s efficiency dipped after December, but at his best this season he looked like a helpful role player whose skills could fit in just about anywhere.

It is fair to assume that Exum will miss the rest of the season, as the guard had surgery to repair a partially torn right patellar tendon on Wednesday. Still just 23, Exum has suffered an alarming amount of injuries since being drafted No. 5 overall in 2014 and playing in all 82 games as a rookie. He appeared in 42 games this season, the first of a three-year, $33 million deal. If the season ended now, the Jazz would play the Rockets in the playoffs again, and, if that matchup comes to pass, they would surely love to have Exum available to pester James Harden. Alas.

The 38-year-old hasn’t played since March 10, and a left ankle injury is expected to sideline him until late April, per ESPN. With only three appearances since signing in Milwaukee, it is unclear if coach Mike Budenholzer will feel comfortable using him in the playoffs. Even if he had remained healthy, his place in the rotation would have been an open question, as Brook Lopez figures to get the lion’s share of the center minutes and D.J. Wilson is the far more mobile backup big man.

Bucks just keep getting hurt. On Tuesday, the team announced that DiVincenzo would get a “biologic injection” to address the bilateral heel bursitis that has affected him during his rookie season. Milwaukee ruled the guard out for the rest of the season as he recovers.

Gibson is doubtful for Saturday’s game, and if he sits out, it will be his fifth straight absence as he deals with a calf injury. Without him, Gorgui Dieng has been reinserted into the Wolves’ regular rotation.

The Knicks announced Friday that the 20-year-old Ntilikina, who has only played in two games in the last two months, will miss the rest of the season. He reaggravated his strained groin muscle in his brief appearance against the Clippers last Sunday, per the team. It has been widely speculated that the Knicks do not feel attached to the last pick of the Phil Jackson era and will try to trade him in the offseason. When coach David Fizdale was directly asked whether or not Ntilikina was part of their plans, he said, “Yeah. He’s on our roster, isn’t he?”

March 22 update: I guess Milwaukee was due for some bad injury luck, but this is rough. Mirotic has a sprained and (slightly) fractured left thumb, and, according to The Athletic, will be out for two to four weeks. Fortunately, the Bucks were playing the best basketball in the league before Mirotic’s arrival, and, even if he misses a full four weeks, he will be back in the first round. On this particular team, Mirotic is a luxury, not a core component, so the trade the front office made to acquire him will be worth it as long as he is healthy and helpful later in the postseason. Without him, there will be more minutes for Ilyasova, D.J. Wilson and perhaps even Pau Gasol, although the 38-year-old has been inactive because of an ankle injury in recent games.

On March 4, Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders told reporters that Covington would make his long-awaited return “hopefully this week.” That did not happen, and, on Thursday, the team announced that the forward — and the next two names on this list — will miss the remainder of the season. Per the press release: “Covington had made improvements in his recovery and had progressed to on-court activities, in preparation to rejoin the team. However, he recently suffered a setback which will require further treatment before returning to the court.” At this point, with Minnesota out of the playoff race, this isn’t all that surprising, but it’s definitely not what anyone expected when he got hurt months ago. In the 22 games Covington played for the Wolves, they went 12-10 and had a plus-3.0 net rating with him on the court.

Teague initially hurt his left foot in December, and he has been out for Minnesota’s last five games because he reaggravated it. The team announced that his foot will be evaluated again in three weeks, which is when the season ends. Tyus Jones has been starting at point guard in Teague’s place, and, in 13 games as a starter this season, Jones has averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 assists and 1.9 steals in 33.5 minutes.

Rose had an MRI on Tuesday, per the Wolves, and it revealed a chip fracture and a loose body in his elbow. Like Teague, he hasn’t played since March 10 and is done for the season. The 30-year-old will be a free agent this summer, and it’ll be interesting to see how prospective suitors will weigh his shocking first-half-of-the-season production against the fact that he has shot 12.5 percent from 3-point range in the 19 games he’s played since January.

The upcoming restricted free agent will have “minor” surgery on his left thumb and miss the rest of the season, according to Woj, but otherwise things have been going quite well for him. Oubre has averaged 20.2 points, 5.7 rebounds in 28.0 minutes since the All-Star break, starting for a Suns team that is young but has an intriguing collection of young talent. Oubre himself is still just 23, and if he didn’t remain in Phoenix, it would be a surprise.

Before the Mavericks’ game in Sacramento on Thursday, Rick Carlisle told reporters they will shut Hardaway down for the season because of a stress reaction in his left tibia. Hardaway has played 19 games since Dallas acquired him from New York, averaging 15.5 points in 29.3 minutes with a true shooting percentage of just 51.4 percent. Justin Jackson replaced him in the starting lineup against the Kings.

Last Wednesday in Atlanta, Miles scored 33 points on 11-for-16 shooting, including 8-for-12 from deep, his best individual performance in some time. In the Grizzlies’ next game, against the Wizards, Miles had to leave the court after 10 minutes because of a sore left foot. An MRI revealed a stress reaction, so, sadly, his season is over.

In same game against Washington, Bradley suffered a right shin contusion. The team announced that he would be re-evaluated in a week, and did not rule him out for the season. The Grizzlies’ playoff dreams were dashed long ago, but, as the Memphis Commercial Appeal pointed out, these injuries are hitting them at a significant time if you are invested in what happens with their first-round pick, which is top-eight protected. Memphis is seventh in the tank standings; if the front office wants the pick to convey so that it can get on with the difficult business of rebuilding, then it needs some wins. If it would rather increase its odds of getting a core player near the top of this year’s draft, then it might as well lose.

Vonleh left New York’s game in San Antonio last week with a right ankle injury, and he has missed three games since. He is listed as questionable for the Knicks’ game against Denver on Friday. In his absence, David Fizdale decided to go small. Mario Hezonja stepped into the starting lineup and blocked LeBron James’ potential game-winner at Madison Square Garden last weekend, with rookie Kevin Knox shifting to power forward.

After months of rehab in Los Angeles, Fultz is now in Orlando, but he is not practicing with the Magic. He did watch them practice on Tuesday, though, and said that it felt “unbelievable” to be around the team, per The Athletic. About his injury, Fultz said this: “I’m definitely getting better each and every day. That’s what a lot of people didn’t know about TOS: It’s very tricky, and the pain is different for different people. But that’s what I’m working on now in rehab: just getting better each and every day. And the progression that I’m making is very good.” There is no expectation that he will play down the stretch.

March 15 update: Porzingis is not expected to play this season, but he’s back on the court. During Wednesday’s practice, he played five-on-five for the first time since tearing his ACL, and then told reporters that, while he feels “healthy” and “great” and is “antsy” to play, he and the Mavs are “going to take our time,” per Tim Cato of The Athletic. He also said he started playing video games because he was bored and desperately missed “competition, talking some smack, and being out there and kicking some ass.” His status is a bit confusing, but, as much as he’s talked about wanting to return, it doesn’t seem like there’s much motivation for this to happen this season. Dallas increases its odds of keeping its pick every time it loses and, according to The Athletic, Porzingis’ camp is the side that determined he’d sit out all year.

As you can see in this video from NBA TV, Oladipo is walking and shooting set shots again, and that represents real progress as he rehabilitates a ruptured quad tendon. While he’s been out, the Pacers have been much steadier than expected — they still have a half-game lead on Philadelphia for the third spot in the East, and they have gone 12-10 since his injury. Two impressive stats: Indiana has a plus-3.5 net rating with Oladipo off the court this season, and its bench has the league’s best aggregate net rating, per NBA.com. This is the basis for Nate McMillan’s Coach of the Year candidacy, and it is a complete reversal of last season, when the Pacers tended to fall apart without their star. The two craziest parts of this story are that they have done this despite losing their first four games since the injury, and they have done this despite Tyreke Evans‘ wildly inefficient season.

Warren has missed the Suns‘ last 20 games, and Suns coach Igor Kokoskov said Monday that he didn’t know whether it was time to rule him out for the season. Kokoskov has said that Warren’s ankle injury is a “chronic thing” and an issue of pain tolerance. If there is a bright side to his extended absence, it is that it has opened up playing time for Phoenix’s small army of young forwards: Kelly Oubre, Josh Jackson, Mikal Bridges and Dragan Bender. Kokoskov has had Bender, who was in and out of the rotation earlier this season, in the starting lineup for the past couple of weeks, including the Suns’ upset victories over Golden State and Milwaukee.

March 9 update: It’s not official, but the Lakers expect to rule Ball out for the rest of the season on Saturday, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, who tweeted that, as of the other night, he wasn’t running or jumping yet. This is not great news if you’d like to see Los Angeles at least play respectable basketball in its final 17 games, as his absence has made the team much less competent defensively and less likely to generate transition opportunities. Ball is still a divisive young player, but, particularly given how poorly the Lakers have played with Rajon Rondo on the court, it is screamingly obvious that they’ve missed him. Anyone who cares about this team has wondered what their record might be if he had stayed healthy.

This one is official: Ingram is out for the season with a Deep Venous Thrombosis — a blood clot — in his arm. Even though the Lakers know that they’re not going to make the playoffs, this is rough news. Ingram had been playing some of the best basketball of his career before his shoulder started bothering him, and it would have been ideal to let him use this last part of the season to work on expanding his game. The big question here is what that solid stretch will mean in the big picture — has he raised his trade value around the league or changed how Los Angeles’ sees him fitting next to LeBron James?

Feb. 28 update: Jackson has had a phenomenal rookie season, but it might be over. While the Grizzlies have not ruled him out for the season, J.B. Bickerstaff said Wednesday that he “wouldn’t expect to see him anytime soon” and “he’s not even at a place where he’s on the court at all right now,” adding that “we’ve talked about it and we’ll be patient.” Memphis looks totally different than it did at the beginning of the season, with Jonas Valanciunas starting at center, Joakim Noah backing him up and both Bruno Caboclo and Ivan Rabb getting starts at power forward recently. Fun fact:

The Wizards are still mum on a timtable for Howard, who started light workouts a week ago and hasn’t played since Nov. 18. Recovery from spinal surgery does not tend to be fast, so it would be best to keep your expectations low for the 33-year-old. Thomas Bryant has started at center for most of his absence, but coach Scott Brooks recently decided to bring him off the bench and start Bobby Portis at the 5 spot. Washington is having a forgettable season and likely wishes it signed somebody else instead of Howard last summer, but at 25-36 it is somehow only three games out of the playoffs in the East.

Feb. 10 update: Wall’s latest injury is so upsetting that I don’t want to say much about it. It’ll be about a year before he can play again, and this changed the direction of the franchise — owner Ted Leonsis went back on his word and dumped Otto Porter on trade deadline day. By the time Wall returns, the roster could look completely different. One positive to come out of this, though: He’s going to get his degree from Kentucky.

Jan. 26 update: As if the Bulls‘ season needed to get more depressing. Carter had surgery on his injured thumb last week, which means he will be out for 8-12 weeks. In all likelihood, this means his (mostly great) rookie season is over. Carter’s averages of 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 25.2 minutes don’t quite capture how promising he has looked — the guy is 19 years old and plays with the maturity of a seasoned veteran. Chicago is a total mess, and the team is a significantly less interesting total mess without Carter on the court.

Jan. 18 update: Rick Carlisle called the 34-year-old’s season-ending injury “gut-wrenching,” and this is especially true because, despite his age, Barea had continued to run the pick-and-roll on the second unit this season the same way Mavericks fans have come to expect. Dallas is fortunate enough to have plenty of guard depth — even without Dennis Smith Jr., whose status with the team appears uncertain, rookies Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson are more than capable of running the show — but this is still a real bummer. Barea means a lot to Dallas, and, before tearing his Achilles tendon, he said he wants to play at least two more seasons.

Jan. 11 update: Brooks’ season is over after just 18 games — he ruptured a ligament in his right big toe last Saturday in San Antonio, and had to have season-ending surgery. This is obviously a disappointing development for a player who had an encouraging rookie season and just hasn’t been able to stay on the floor this year.

Dec. 29 update: Jones had surgery on Wednesday, and he might be out for the remainder of the season. The Warriors announced he will “begin the rehab process” six weeks after the surgery. Jones had started in 22 of his 24 games this season, but only averaged 17.4 minutes — Golden State takes a platoon approach to the center position. If he’s done for the year, Golden State will rely on Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell in addition to the still-sidelined Cousins as its traditional 5s. Of course, its best look in the playoffs will probably remain Green playing “center” with Kevin Durant next to him in the frontcourt.

Nov. 29 update: The mysterious Porter continues to be out indefinitely despite saying he was pain-free in the summer. The 20-year-old was only available to the Nuggets because he had two back surgeries, so he should be seen as a long-term, low-risk, high-upside play. There is no meaningful analysis to be done here, but Denver would love to look brilliant for taking him at No. 14 in the draft if/when he is healthy down the road.

This sucks so much for both him and the Spurs — Murray is the their best defender, and they have been 23rd in defensive rating. He was supposed to take the leap this season, but that went out the window when he crumpled to the floor in a preseason game. On offense, San Antonio has relied on DeMar DeRozan’s playmaking even more than it planned to, and Bryn Forbes has stepped into a starting role at point guard. We will soon find out if Lonnie Walker can earn a role in the rotation, too.

The Bulls have been hit with a whole bunch of injuries early in the season, from Markkanen’s elbow to Bobby Portis‘ knee and Kris Dunn’s knee. Valentine is on this list because he is done for the year after undergoing what the team called an “ankle stabilization procedure” on Tuesday — his injury was initially described as a moderate ankle sprain in September.

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@NewAgeInsiders I miss the old school belts. They actually looked like champions…

@NewAgeInsiders I miss the old school belts. They actually looked like championships not giant logos. But that’s wh… https://t.co/HAzCbakLCg

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We buy used Harley’s Triumphs Honda Yamaha Kawasaki Suzuki Ducati Royal Enfield …

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