Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist here to provide NBA injury analysis. Read his NBA Injury Watch: All-Star Weekend report with updates for Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic, and others.
Check out our full 2021 NBA All-Star Game Weekend Preview:
- 2021 NBA All-Star Game Preview & Pick
- 2021 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Preview & Pick
- 2021 NBA Three-Point Contest Preview & Pick
- 2021 NBA Skills Challenge Contest Preview & Pick
NBA All-Star Injuries
Kevin Durant, SF, Brooklyn Nets: Left hamstring strain
After missing all of last season rehabbing for a torn right Achilles’ in the NBA Finals, Kevin Durant is back at an MVP level few thought he would reach. Unfortunately, his ascent back to the top has been throttled by a left hamstring strain that has now forced him to miss 9 games after initial reports indicated it was mild.
Research shows the average number of days lost for a hamstring strain in the NBA is 9.6 days +/-13 days. Durant last played on Feb. 15 and has missed 16 days and 9 games since then, fitting timelines above. Considering the All-Star break and his previous Achilles’, it would not have been wise to let him play.
To note, he suffered a left hamstring strain in 2015 that cost him 6 games and 11 days, coming back to drop 27 points. After a month off, I expect his level of play to be at least at the same if not improved upon returning.
Fantasy Basketball Tip: If you have Durant but need capital, wait until a big game to trade. If you’re looking to grab him, buy low now to get a steal.
Nets NBA Betting Tips: Brooklyn ranks second in the Eastern Conference and might be able to have Durant rest for at least another few weeks in advance of the playoffs. The Nets (+275) are the favorite to win the NBA Championship, per PointsBet. (New customers can use our welcome offer of 2 Risk-Free Bets for $2,000 to place this wager.)
However, the longer Durant is out, Brooklyn may miss out on winning the Atlantic Division (-226); the Philadelphia 76ers (+175) have a narrow half-game edge in the division heading into the break. Durant’s 2021 NBA MVP Award odds have also dipped to (+4000), and his extended absence isn’t doing him any favors for consideration.
Anthony Davis, PF, Los Angeles Lakers: Right Achilles’ tendinosis
Anthony Davis’ injury has been more impactful than originally anticipated. Since his most recent absence, the Lakers have gone 3-6 as they slip down the standings of the Western Conference.
He only missed 2 games before returning for one big game followed by re-injury. Hindsight suggests he should have waited longer before returning as I mentioned in my previous article. He is not expected to play until March 19th against the Hornets which would be roughly a month’s absence from the re-injury.
Despite the multiple injuries and that the Achilles’ tendinosis is not fully healed, I would expect him to be healthy enough to play at his prior level when he finally does return, though consistency may be questionable. I’d expect his minutes to be limited and not to play in back-to-back games.
Fantasy Basketball Tip: Tread lightly with Davis in fantasy basketball leagues. If you’re stuck with him, sell after a high game. Buy only if you’re desperate. He may be too streaky with his injuries to ensure consistency.
Lakers NBA Betting Tip: There is more optimism in betting when he returns. Watch for favorable Lakers lines now before it’s announced that Davis will return and the line shifts.
His absence hasn’t negatively affected Lakers NBA Futures drastically, though. The Lake Show remains the favorite to win the Pacific Division (+110) and second-favorite (+280) to win a second straight NBA Championship.
Luka Doncic, PG, Dallas Mavericks: Lower-back soreness
Missing only two games this season, Doncic is dealing with low back soreness over the last 2 1/2 weeks heading into the break but is expected to play. This appears minor, and he’s still just 22 years old, so the extra days of rest and treatment should allow him to resume his excellent play.
CJ McCollum, SG, Portland Trail Blazers: Left foot fracture/sprain
After suffering a hairline fracture and sprain in mid-January, McCollum has since been cleared to practice. He could return shortly after the break, slowly ramping up his minutes to be back at full speed by the end of March. Buy low right now in your fantasy basketball leagues if possible.
De’Andre Hunter, SF, Atlanta Hawks: Right lateral meniscectomy
After Hunter’s early February meniscectomy, initial reports indicated he could come back in a month. Updated timelines and several PRP injections push his return to late March, Hunter is still a wait-and-see and a fantasy buy-low if possible.
Kevin Love, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers: Right calf strain
Initially injuring the calf in late December termed as a high grade, Love has yet to return, still dealing with soreness. If he indeed suffered a Grade 3 strain, I don’t expect him to be 100% for the rest of the season despite returning. Sell, sell, sell in fantasy.
Paul Millsap, PF, Denver Nuggets: Left knee sprain
Out since Feb. 14, the veteran has been dealing with a knee sprain that was an aggravation of a contusion in January. Having nearly a month off should allow him to return close to 100 percent.
Cody Zeller, C, Charlotte Hornets: Left hip contusion
Still working through a hip contusion, Zeller has now missed 4 games and will have the break to fully heal. Hip contusions miss on average 3.5 +/- 5.9 days which puts him right in that timeframe. Barring unexpected news, he should return to normal production once he returns.
Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist who also works as an injury spotter for Dr. David Chao. Kyle has extensive experience in outpatient orthopedics, skilled nursing, acute care hospital, and home care. He’s also a member of Bills Mafia and runs the website Banged Up Bills.
Disclaimer from Kyle: My opinions are my own. Any thoughts I have on the injuries are based on media reports, my knowledge of the injury, and speculation based on the information currently available including video and print media. This information is subject to change based on the information released by the team.
Get more NBA betting and fantasy basketball tips
After reading Kyle’s update on NBA All-Star Injuries: