NBA injury report: Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry updates, return timeline for other injured stars
The Basketball Gods have not been kind this season, as far as injuries are concerned. They blessed us with Victor Oladipo’s long-awaited return recently, but the list of star players who have missed all or significant parts of this season — headlined by Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — is long.
Irving, by the way, is sidelined again, this time with a sprained ligament in his right knee. And since it’s 2020, he assured fans that he will be OK in an Instagram story, writing, “Honestly, what a scare, but I know God and the angels definitely looked out for me on that one!”
In more positive news, a couple of players like Luka Doncic and Derrick Rose returned to game action on Wednesday night, while Steph Curry inches closer to a return. The two-time MVP has started participating in some team drills as he continues to target a March return.
If you’re looking for every single injury in the league, so you know who’s going to be in the lineup each night, we already have you covered. This page will not be as exhaustive, but it will feature the most important injuries in the league, along with a quick analysis of them.
Irving will be out until after the All-Star break as he continues to recover from a knee injury. Irving has appeared in just 20 games for the Nets this season after he also missed a bunch of time earlier in the campaign due to a shoulder injury. On the year, Irving is averaging 27.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game. The Nets are 8-12 with Irving in the lineup.
The Warriors have been the worst team in the NBA by record (and third-worst by net rating) due to injuries, but that does not mean Curry will be on the shelf all season. He is reportedly targeting an early March return, so they will presumably not rank 30th in offense for the last six weeks of the season. With his targeted return date approaching, Curry has started participating in some team drills.
“He’s just doing more and more stuff,” head coach Steve Kerr said of Curry. “He usually comes over before our group and gets more conditioning in. He’s jumped into a few of our non-contact offensive 5-on-0 stuff. He’s coming around.”
The Bulls have been plagued by injuries all season long, and Markkanen has been one of the casualties. The sweet-shooting forward has been sidelined since the end of January after suffering a stress reaction in his right pelvis. He is expected to return before the end of the month, as is Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle sprain) and Otto Porter Jr. (broken foot).
It took only a week for Holmes to earn a starting role in Sacramento, and his emergence as a dependable, productive starting center was the team’s best story until he injured his shoulder on Jan. 6. Unfortunately for the Kings, Holmes isn’t very close to a return, as he’s out for another 2-3 weeks, at least, with a labrum tear in his right shoulder, the team announced.
Leonard hurt his ankle against the Sixers on Feb. 3, and he did not join the Heat when they left for their five-game West Coast road trip. He won’t return until after the All-Star break, and even then it might take a little time.
“It’s a decent sprain,” Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said of Leonard’s injury. “Those take time.”
Bagley has played in only 13 games this season because of a broken thumb and a foot sprain, and this foot sprain is proving to be a persistent problem. Kings fans are frustrated with the team’s lack of transparency, but the team would probably argue that the injury has been confusing for everyone involved. As it stands, he has been ruled out until after the All-Star break.
The Heat were a less versatile defensive team without Winslow, with staggering on/off numbers, but now rather than hoping that his return will rejuvenate them on that end, they are counting on Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill doing that. He hasn’t been a Grizzly long enough for his new team to have issued an update, but he has played in one game in the last two months and was not expected to join the Heat on their pre-All-Star road trip.
Dunn’s All-Defense-caliber season was interrupted when he sprained his MCL early in the Bulls’ game against the Nets on Jan. 31. Per the Bulls, Dunn will be “reexamined following an initial two-week phase of immobilization and physical therapy. The definitive treatment and timetable will be determined over that time frame as symptoms improve.”
IIIt seems like the Raptors aren’t allowed to have a fully healthy roster for more than two minutes, so Powell, in the midst of a career season, broke his hand late in their game against the Pistons on Jan. 31. He had previously missed 11 games with a shoulder injury. Toronto tends to deal with injuries well, though, and it has won a franchise-record 15 straight games. Powell is out indefinitely.
Finally, some good injury-related news for Portland: Last week, Nurkic participated fully in practice for the first time since he broke his leg. This does not, however, mean that he is on the verge of making his return: He reportedly will be out until after the All-Star break. To say the Blazers have missed him this season would be a massive understatement.
Powell is not a household name, but he has been a mainstay in Dallas’ starting lineup this season because he fits so well with Luka Doncic. Maxi Kleber will be the recipient of most of Doncic’s lobs in his absence, and Kristaps Porzingis started at center on Thursday in Portland.
Durant has been a bit more visible in Brooklyn lately, getting shots up with media around, but the team’s stance has not changed: He is out for the season. If the Nets are lucky, the rest of the roster will be healthy enough over the next few months to establish some momentum going into next season and allow the front office to make educated decisions about what the team should look like when Durant returns.
The backup center is expected to be out 2-4 weeks with a foot injury suffered on Jan. 20 against the Timberwolves. Plumlee is not the most high-profile guy on Denver’s injury report, but his passing and verticality at the rim will be missed, especially with the Nuggets battling for playoff positioning.
Isaac isn’t having surgery, but his initial 8-10 week timeline might have been optimistic: The Magic reportedly applied for a disabled player exception for him, signaling that they project him to miss the remainder of the season. Before the injury, he was on his way to an All-Defensive Team selection, and he showed real growth as an offensive player, too. Orlando has had a fluid starting lineup lately, sometimes starting Wes Iwundu and sometimes going with a massive frontcourt of Aaron Gordon, Khem Birch and Nikola Vucevic.
The Magic were granted a disabled player exception for Aminu, who tore his meniscus in late November and had surgery in January. Aminu was having the worst offensive season of his career before the injury, but he fit Orlando’s defensive identity.
The third-year guard is expected to be out until after the All-Star break, according to coach Dwane Casey, a somewhat surprising turn because the Pistons announced on Dec. 26 that he would miss two weeks. Before the injury, Kennard was having the best season of his career, increasing his efficiency while taking on a slightly larger playmaking role and averaging a full 10 minutes more than he did in Year 2. If there is a bright spot here, it is that rookie Sekou Doumbouya has had more opportunities to play since Kennard went down.
Another theoretical breakout candidate for a team that expected to be way better than it is, Collins hurt his shoulder three games into the season and is now hoping to come back in March. His absence is one of the reasons Portland has been awful defensively, and perhaps the main reason why Carmelo Anthony is now on the roster.
Hood had a lot on his shoulders this season, as Portland let both of its starting forwards walk in free agency and promoted Hood on a two-year deal. The devastating Achilles rupture took place on Dec. 6, ending a season in which he was one of the team’s few bright spots — Hood shot a totally unsustainable but awesome 49.3 percent from deep in 21 games. Kent Bazemore replaced him in the starting five, but has since been traded to the Kings for Trevor Ariza, wh.
The center has been out since early December, leaving Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter to hold the fort. He’s running again, per Celtics coach Brad Stevens, but he’s not expected back until after the All-Star break.
Largely out of sight and out of mind this season, Wall played five-on-five with Amar’e Stoudemire (!) on Wednesday and has taken part in controlled 4-on-4 scrimmages in practice. He is still considered out for the season, having undergone surgery on his ruptured Achilles last February.
The Pistons were granted a disabled player exception for Griffin on Wednesday, a formality after he had knee surgery on Jan. 7. This is the same knee that required surgery at the end of last season, the one that probably should have kept him out of Detroit’s entire first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks. (He played in Games 3 and 4 of the sweep.) Griffin was not even close to his normal self in the 18 games he played this season, and Detroit appears poised to start a full-blown rebuild in between now and the trade deadline.
Cousins has had a horrific run of three serious knee injuries in the last two calendar years. In August he tore his ACL, which likely ended his season before it began. Los Angeles responded by signing Dwight Howard, whose career had hit a low point, and Howard has rewarded the team with his best production in years thanks to improved conditioning and a commitment to playing a supporting role. Coach Frank Vogel has repeatedly said that Cousins could come back late in the season, which feels, um, optimistic.