Fantasy Basketball

2018-19 Fantasy Basketball Players Returning from Injury


With the 2018-19 NBA season quickly approaching, the time has come to remind fantasy owners of players who suffered injuries last season. It was a season where we saw numerous all-stars go down.

The full schedule of the NBA season is available to the public, so owners can grab a peek at how their potential draft picks are progressing with their offseason rehab.

Here’s a look at the All-Stars who will be returning from injuries last season.

2018-19 Fantasy Basketball Players Returning from Injury

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Kawhi Leonard, SF, Toronto Raptors

The former NBA Finals MVP’s time in San Antonio has come to a frustrating end. Leonard was sent to the Raptors in exchange for a package centered around 4-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan. Leonard only managed to play nine games last season while struggling with an injury to his right quadriceps, averaging 23.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 2.3 APG on 47% from the field.

In January, Leonard was ruled out indefinitely with what was identified as right quadriceps tendinopathy. This injury to the tendon that can range anywhere from a simple strain to a chronic disease. Although he was eventually cleared by the Spurs medical staff, Kawhi solicited a second opinion from his personal doctors, causing much turmoil within the organization.

Despite teammates reportedly asking him to play, Leonard did not see the court again after his injury diagnoses in January. This suggests that Leonard’s version of tendinopathy may be in the more chronic nature. Don’t be surprised if this injury lingers into next season and beyond. It will likely take a considerable healthy stretch of games before Leonard returns to MVP-caliber form. Fantasy owners should consider him a high risk, high reward selection.

Gordon Hayward, SF, Boston Celtics

As we all know, Hayward only played five minutes last season. He suffered a gruesome injury which involved a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle in his left leg. The 2017 all-star has made considerable progress since the incident, with videos surfacing earlier this year of Hayward performing basketball-related activities.

While Hayward’s initial injury may have been a grisly sight to viewers, bone injuries tend to be less problematic than an injury to muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Once the fractured bone heals completely, proper rehab and recovery time allows for full strength to return into the affected area.

A slow start wouldn’t be a surprise for Hayward. It has been a year since he has been on the court. However, reinjury doesn’t appear to be a large concern. Hayward is expected to be cleared for training camp and should be considered a medium risk for owners.

Kristaps Porzingis, PF, New York Knicks

The Knicks star played 48 games in 2017-2018, averaging a career-high 22.7 PPG. He also received his first selection to the All-Star Game.

In February, Porzingis suffered from an ACL tear in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The initial timetable for a return was 10 months. This will allow Porzingis to return in December of the upcoming season.

With the Knicks likely to struggle this year, the team may keep their franchise big man off the court for a longer to ensure a full recovery. If this is the case, don’t expect Porzingis to play until at least early 2019. This makes him a high-risk investment for fantasy owners.

DeMarcus Cousins, C, Golden State Warriors

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Cousins stunned the league after signing a mere one year, $5 million dollar contract with the Golden State Warriors. This comes a few months after he suffered a season-ending tear to the Achilles tendon. This injury has proven in the past to alter or end the careers of NBA players.

The move to Golden State allows for the All-Star to resettle into a winning environment where his workload will be decreased drastically. Being on a championship team loaded with All-Stars, the team may opt to prolong Cousins recovery time until he is fully healthy.

As a member of a team with two MVPs, expect a considerable dip in production from Cousins. This will be especially true when he first returns. Sharing the workload and recovering from a significant injury makes Cousins a high-risk selection in fantasy drafts.

Kyrie Irving, PG, Boston Celtics

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The five-time All-Star played 60 games last season, averaging 24.4 PPG and 5.1 APG. He missed the rest of the season after undergoing a procedure to remove a tension wire in his left knee. The hardware was originally surgically inserted into Irving’s knee after the 2015 NBA Finals and had been causing inflammation in the area.

Irving later received a second procedure to remove metal screws from his patella in order to treat a bacterial infection. His recovery was listed as 4-5 months in March, so Irving shouldn’t have any problem being available for the season opener. With the troublesome hardware gone, expect Irving to return to his original All-Star form.

Check out the rest of the 2018-19 Fantasy Basketball Coverage to help win your leagues.

About Mitch Longerbeam

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