With a truncated week ahead, itís time to reveal my Sixth annual NBA All-Scar Team. The team is comprises players who have seen their season negatively impacted by injuries and have missed or will miss significant time while recuperating.
Western Conference All-Scar Team
Paul is a top 10-fantasy producer and arguably the best fantasy point guard, which makes his 18 games lost to injury that much more impactful for the Clippers. While a lingering hamstring injury cost him seven games in late December, his torn thumb ligament has been the bigger issue. CP3 needed surgery to repair the damage and has currently missed 11 straight outings. The initial timeline following the procedure was set at six to eight weeks, meaning Paul is likely to miss more time following the All-Star break. An early March return seems likely, but by then Paul will have missed over a quarter of the regular season.
Timberwolf LaVine is a late addition to the team after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) 10 days ago. LaVineís emergence over the first half of the season was impressive. The third year guard had improved his scoring and rebounding averages as well as his shooting percentages and established himself as a top 75-fantasy player. Unfortunately, he will be a spectator for the teamís final 32 games and fantasy owners are left scrambling to replace his production.
The Kings forward often has been criticized for failing to live up to the lofty expectations placed on him. However, his on-court production has always been fantasy friendly, and the 2016-17 season was proving no different. Gay was producing like a top 50 player for most of the season and was in the midst of a particularly impressive run when he tore his left Achilles tendon. The injury wonít only cost Gay the final 41 games of the regular season but could also impact his free agency and carry over into the 2017-18 season.
Parsons was Memphisí big offseason acquisitions, signing a $94 million contract despite concerns about his twice operated on right knee. However, a bone contusion in his left knee has been a bigger problem, forcing him out of 17 straight games in November and December. These injuries, plus routine days off for rest and recovery, have sidelined Parsons for 30 of the Grizzliesí first 55 games.
Fantasy owners invested in Kanter werenít laughing when it was determined his ill-advised karate chop of a folding chair resulted in a broken arm. He needed surgery to stabilize his fractured ulna, and Kanter already has missed seven games for Oklahoma. Heís expected to miss at least four more weeks and could be out until late March.
Blake Griffin and George Hill
L.A. Clipper Griffin makes his third straight All-Scar appearance after missing 19 games, including 18 straight, due to right knee problems. The injury was first reported as soreness, but it was later determined that he needed a right knee debridement to remove loose bodies from within the joint. Heís looked impressive since returning, averaging 24.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 5.3 assists over the last eight games.
Hill has made a major impact on Utah and fantasy box scores alike. However, numerous injuries, including a thumb sprain, a toe sprain and a concussion, have forced him into street clothes at multiple points of the season. His toe sprain seems to be the biggest lingering concern, though he did manage to return from a one-game absence on Saturday.
Eastern Conference All-Scar Team
Lin was expected to be a key contributor in Brooklyn after signing a three-year deal in the offseason. Unfortunately, a chronically problematic hamstring has limited Lin to just 12 games. Heís expected back sometime in the near future but will return with an elevated level of inherent injury risk and is hard to trust moving forward.
Smithís ability to rattle off three-pointers made him a dangerous fantasy specialist. Sadly, itís impossible to bomb threeís with a fractured thumb. Smithís broken digit was complex and required surgery to repair. Heís missed 26 consecutive games for the Cavs thus far and isnít expected back for at least another few weeks.
The top overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft had fantasy owners salivating about his potential to fill up a statsheet. However, those plans were derailed when Simmons suffered a broken fifth metatarsal in the early days of 76ers training camp. He has yet to make his professional debut following surgery on the area, and a return date remains undetermined. Furthermore, these types of injuries tend to be difficult to manage and have forced multiple players, including Kevin Durant, to undergo a second surgery.
Like LaVine, Parkerís appearance on the list comes just days after suffering a torn ACL. Parker tore his left ACL for the second time in the past three seasons and will miss the remainder of the year. The Bucks are already predicting a 12-month recovery, suggesting his rehab will carryover into next season. Parkerís recovery will be largely unprecedented as he joins Michael Redd as the only NBA players since the 2005-06 season to tear the same ACL twice during their professional careers.
Avery Bradley and Khris Middleton
Bradleyís lingering Achilles problems have been exceptionally annoying as they occurred in the midst of the best fantasy season of his career. The soreness in his Achilles continues to linger and will keep him out through the All-Star break. The Celtics are optimistic he will return after the extended break, but heíll need to put together a stretch of sustained health to earn back the trust of fantasy owners.
Middleton only just returned from a hamstring injury sustained in the offseason. The Bucks guard suffered an avulsion injury in which his hamstring tendon pulled away from the bone and ultimately required surgery. Heís appeared in two games and received one day off for recovery, creating a model of what to expect moving forward. Furthermore, Parkerís recent ACL injury could influence how the team opts to utilize Middleton for the remainder of the season, especially if their playoff chances continue to fade.