The calendar year has flipped, yet the biggest concern in the NBA world remains COVID-19, which has affected dozens of players and postponed multiple games. Unfortunately, injuries have also been a problem, and every team has been shorthanded at one point or another.
A number of stars, such as Kawhi Leonard, Zion Williamson and Jamal Murray, are still working their way back from injuries suffered before the season. Others, like Paul George, Anthony Davis, Michael Porter Jr. and Collin Sexton, are expected to miss a significant amount of time after suffering injuries since the season began.
As the season rolls along, here's a look at the most significant injuries around the league, and when these players might be back on the court. To see more injury updates around the league, click here.
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Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets PF
|INJURY: Knee (MCL sprain) | STATUS: Out at least 4-6 weeks |
Kevin Durant suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee against the New Orleans Pelicans Saturday night. The Nets reportedly expect him to return to full strength after a four-to-six week period of rehab. Durant has played 36.5 minutes per game this season, the most he's played since the 2013-14 campaign.
Zach LaVine Chicago Bulls SG
|INJURY: Knee | STATUS: To be reevaluated in one week |
Zach LaVine suffered a left knee injury against the Golden State Warriors, but fortunately, there was no structural damage and it he is not expected to miss significant time. LaVine missed most of the 2017-18 season recovering from a torn ACL, so any knee injury he endures is scary for Chicago. LaVine will be re-evaluated next week .
Myles Turner Indiana Pacers C
|INJURY: Foot (stress reaction) | STATUS: Out at least two weeks |
Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner will be sidelined for at least two weeks after the team announced Tuesday afternoon he's suffering from a stress reaction in his left foot. He was experiencing soreness in his ankle and foot ahead of Indiana's game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night and was ultimately held out. After seeing several specialists its been determined that Turner will receive treatment for his left foot and be sidelined and re-assessed in two weeks. It's expected that Turner could be out past the NBA's trade deadline on Feb. 10, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Damian Lillard Portland Trail Blazers PG
|INJURY: Abdominal tendinopathy | STATUS: Will be re-evaluated in 5-6 weeks after Jan. 12 surgery |
The Blazers star will be out until at least after the All-Star break after undergoing abdominal surgery on Jan. 12. Here's more on the procedure . Lillard missed time late in 2021 due to the same ab issue, and underwent a cortisone injection procedure to mitigate the pain.
Paul George Los Angeles Clippers SF
|INJURY: Elbow | STATUS: Expected to miss 3-4 weeks |
The Los Angeles Clippers will be without Paul George for a few more weeks as the team continues to monitor his recovery from a torn UCL in his right shooting elbow, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. George's injury was originally announced on Dec. 25, and he was to be reevaluated in 3-4 weeks. The team will now evaluate how George's elbow responds to rest over the next few weeks.
Anthony Davis Los Angeles Lakers PF
|INJURY: Knee I STATUS: Optimism for late January return |
The Lakers' injury woes continued when Anthony Davis crashed to the floor with a scary looking knee injury against the Timberwolves. He collapsed in the tunnel as he tried to walk back to the locker room, and an MRI revealed an MCL sprain that will keep him out for at least four weeks. This is a huge blow for a Lakers team that is off to a disappointing start this season, but the team is reportedly optimistic that Davis will return by late January.
Zion Williamson New Orleans Pelicans PF
|INJURY: Fractured foot | STATUS: No return date set |
The New Orleans Pelicans provided an update on sidelined star Zion Williamson in early January, stating he will continue the rehabilitation process on his injured right foot away from the team in Portland, Oregon, while still being supervised by team medical staff. The Pelicans announced back in December the former No. 1 overall pick would be out 4-6 weeks after receiving an injection in his foot. Williamson had surgery to repair the fractured foot in the offseason, but since the bone has not healed properly, he has yet to play in a game this season. In early December, he was scheduled to return to practice, but continued soreness got in the way.
T.J. Warren Indiana Pacers SF
|INJURY: Fractured foot | STATUS: No timeline for return |
After suffering a stress fracture in his foot that limited him to just four games last season, followed by another setback in his recovery over the summer, T.J. Warren has been working hard on a return to the court. There is optimism he'll be back sooner than later as head coach Rick Carlisle said Warren has been cleared to increase activities after a recent scan. Despite the positive report, the Pacers' productive forward still remains weeks away from a return.
Kawhi Leonard Los Angeles Clippers SF
|INJURY: Knee (torn ACL) | STATUS: Out indefinitely |
Leonard went down with a torn ACL during the second round of the playoffs last season, and has not played since. There's still no definitive timeline for his return, but his rehab is reportedly ahead of schedule and it's possible he could play at some point this season. If Leonard does get on the court, that would obviously be a huge boost for the Clippers, who are fighting to remain in the playoff picture.
Jerami Grant Detroit Pistons PF
|INJURY: Torn ligaments in right thumb I STATUS: Out indefinitely |
The Detroit Pistons' brutal start to the season continued when news broke that their leading scorer, Jerami Grant, will be sidelined indefinitely. Grant has suffered torn ligaments in his thumb, according to Shams Charania and James Edwards III of The Athletic. Grant suffered the injury during Detroit's recent loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
CJ McCollum Portland Trail Blazers SG
|INJURY: Pneumothorax (collapsed right lung) | STATUS: Out indefinitely |
McCollum has been out since Dec. 4 when he suffered a collapsed lung against the Celtics. The good news is that he's on his way back. A CT scan just before Christmas showed that McCollum's lung has fully healed, and he is now expected to return Monday against the Magic.
Brook Lopez Milwaukee Bucks C
|INJURY: Back (surgery) | STATUS: Out indefinitely |
Milwaukee has bounced back after a rough start in its title defense, largely due to injuries. One of the most notable is Lopez's back injury, which has kept him off the court since opening night. The Bucks big man underwent back surgery, the team announced , and will be sidelined indefinitely. The Bucks say more updates will be provided as Lopez progresses in his rehab.
T.J. McConnell Indiana Pacers PG
|INJURY: Hand (torn ligaments) I STATUS: Expected to miss several months |
McConnell had surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right hand and is expected to miss several months, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Depending on his recovery, McConnell could be out for the remainder of the 2021-22 season.
Michael Porter Jr. Denver Nuggets SF
|INJURY: Back (surgery) | STATUS: Likely out for season |
Porter will undergo surgery for his lower back, per his agent Mark Bartelstein. While early reports suggested that Porter was expected to miss the remainder of the season, both Porter and the Nuggets are now reportedly holding out hope that he could return. Earlier this season, Porter came up limping after missing a breakaway layup. It's not clear exactly what happened, but he didn't get any lift as he tried to go to the rim, and left the game a short time later. The Nuggets originally listed the injury as lower back soreness, but after additional testing it was determined that he would need to undergo yet another back surgery.
Ricky Rubio Cleveland Cavaliers PG
|INJURY: Knee (torn ACL) | STATUS: Out for season |
The surprising Cavaliers suffered a massive blow in December when they announced veteran guard Ricky Rubio will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Rubio injured his knee in a loss to the Pelicans as he went down in clear pain and grabbed at his knee immediately. An MRI confirmed the worst-case scenario for Cleveland and Rubio, who has been a rock solid presence for the Cavs. He averaged 13.1 points and 6.6 assists in 34 games this season.
Jamal Murray Denver Nuggets PG
|INJURY: Knee (torn ACL) | STATUS: Out indefinitely |
The Nuggets have been without their star guard since late last season, when he tore his ACL against the Warriors. Murray has been ramping up his workouts and said recently that he feels "great." However, he won't be back on the court until some time in the spring at the earliest. Whether the Nuggets can remain afloat without him and Porter remains to be seen.
Ben Simmons Philadelphia 76ers PG
|INJURY: Mental health | STATUS: No timeline for return |
The Simmons saga is well known at this point. And though he doesn't have a physical injury we'll include him here since he is reportedly dealing with mental health issues. He doesn't want to play for the Sixers anymore, and the team hasn't found a trade they like and neither side will budge as the standoff continues.
Joe Harris Brooklyn Nets SG
|INJURY: Ankle (surgery) | STATUS: Out 4-8 weeks |
Joe Harris underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle in late November to remove a "little bone particle" that was stuck in there, Nets coach Steve Nash told reporters. Harris will be sidelined 4-8 eight weeks, his agent Mark Bartelstein told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Until Harris returns, Nash will have to continue to tinker with his rotation, balancing shooting and defense as he sees fit.
PJ Dozier Denver Nuggets SG
|INJURY: Knee | STATUS: Out for the season |
Dozier has been a key reserve for the Nuggets, but his season unfortunately came to an end in November when he suffered a torn ACL on an awkward landing. His absence will only make things more difficult for the already shorthanded Nuggets.
Patrick Williams Chicago Bulls PF
|INJURY: Wrist (surgery) | STATUS: Out until at least April |
Williams, the No. 4 overall pick last year, was off to an encouraging start along with the Bulls. But against the New York Knicks he took a hard foul from Mitchell Robinson and suffered a serious wrist injury upon landing. He is out until at least April due to a dislocation and torn ligaments that required surgery. We should get an update in the spring about whether or not he'll be able to return for the playoffs -- assuming the Bulls continue in this form and make a deep run.
Collin Sexton Cleveland Cavaliers SG
|INJURY: Knee (torn meniscus) | STATUS: Out for season |
The Cavaliers' fourth-year guard went down with a knee injury against the Knicks in early November. A few weeks later, the team announced that he had in fact suffered a torn meniscus, which required season-ending surgery. There's never a good time for a major injury, but this was especially unfortunate for Sexton, who is set to be a free agent this summer. Sexton was reportedly looking for a deal in the four-year, $100 million range, and it will be interesting to see if he can still command that value.
James Wiseman Golden State Warriors C
|INJURY: Knee (torn meniscus) | STATUS: Hoping to return soon |
Wiseman's frustrating rookie campaign came to an end back in April when he tore his meniscus upon landing from a dunk attempt. He's been sidelined ever since. Earlier this season the Warriors were reportedly targeting Thanksgiving week for his return, but that has obviously come and gone. Wiseman has spent time practicing with the Warriors' G League affiliate, and was recently recalled to the Warriors, but it's unclear when he'll actually play in a game.
Victor Oladipo Miami Heat SG
|INJURY: Quad tendon | STATUS: Out indefinitely |
Oladipo ruptured his quad tendon in January of 2019, and has really never been right since then. He's played just 88 games over the last three-plus seasons, and has not participated at all in this campaign. A recent report from the Miami Herald indicated that the Heat are hopeful he'll be able to play by March, but he's recovering from a secondary surgery on his quad in the offseason and there's no set timeline for his return.
Markelle Fultz Orlando Magic PG
|INJURY: Knee (torn ACL) | STATUS: Out indefinitely |
Fultz seemed like he had finally found a home with the Magic last season, and then he almost immediately tore his ACL in a cruel twist of fate. The Magic front office has been pretty tight-lipped about any sort of updates, but Fultz started practicing with the team again in the middle of December. That's a positive sign, but it's still unclear when Fultz will be ready for games again.
Jonathan Isaac Orlando Magic PF
|INJURY: Knee (torn ACL and meniscus) | STATUS: Out indefinitely |
The last time Isaac was on the court was over a year ago in the bubble in Orlando, when he suffered a devastating knee injury that included a torn meniscus and ACL. While it makes sense that the Magic are taking the cautious route with a player who has been frequently injured, it's a bit surprising that Isaac isn't closer to a return. We're going on 16 months now since the injury and there's still no timeline. Even stranger is that based on a recent interview with Wendell Carter Jr., it appears as though Isaac hasn't progressed to doing much on-court work, if any. "JI's also doing a fantastic job," Carter said . "He's always in early in the morning before we even get there, before our practices and stuff. He's already on the table getting treatment on his knee, lifting, all that stuff. He's doing good."
Markieff Morris Miami Heat PF
|INJURY: Neck | STATUS: Out indefinitely |
The veteran Heat forward was injured in a bizarre incident with Nikola Jokic in November. After Morris delivered a reckless foul late in a blowout loss, Jokic retaliated with a cheap shot of his own to Morris' back, which resulted in a neck injury. Morris hasn't played since and remains out indefinitely.
Kelly Olynyk Detroit Pistons PF
|INJURY: Knee (MCL sprain) | STATUS: Out six weeks |
The veteran big man was off to a pretty solid start in his first season with the Pistons, but he went down with a Grade II MCL sprain after 10 games. He didn't need surgery, which was good news, but the initial timeline was a hefty six weeks.
Zach Collins San Antonio Spurs PF
|INJURY: Ankle (surgery) | STATUS: Out until after Christmas |
Collins got off to a promising start in his career with the Trail Blazers, but injuries have completely destroyed the past two-plus seasons. He was limited to 11 games in 2019-20, and hasn't played since due to shoulder surgery and multiple ankle operations. Collins signed with the Spurs in the offseason, and head coach Gregg Popovich said that the medical staff hopes the big man will be back after Christmas. A more definitive timeline will have to wait.
Derrick Jones Jr. Chicago Bulls SF
|INJURY: Knee (bone bruise) | STATUS: Expected to miss 4-6 weeks |
The high-flying Jones will likely be sidelined at least a month after hurting his knee in a game against the Nets on Jan. 11. Jones is averaging 6.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game in 31 contests (eight starts) for Chicago this season.