By Jeff Stotts, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
Frank Kaminsky, Charlotte Hornets
The Suns frontcourt rotation has been an enigma so far this season as injuries and suspensions have inhibited any chance at consistency. A significant injury for Kaminsky will only extend the confusion as he is slated to miss an extended period of time with a stress fracture in his right knee.
The patella (kneecap) is a sesamoid bone, meaning it floats within a tendon. In the case of the kneecap, the involved tendon is the quadriceps muscle group. This unique situation allows the kneecap to increase the moment arm of the tendon, resulting in an increase in torque on the joint. Increasing the torque has a positive overall effect on the range of motion of the joint, increasing the extent the knee can bend and rotate. Conversely, if the kneecap becomes limited by injury, the range of motion of the joint is negatively impacted and oftentimes the leg cannot be entirely straightened.
Furthermore, the pathway the kneecap takes ensures it's in constant contact with another bone. As a result, injuries to the patella, like bone contusions or fractures, often require a considerable amount of time to appropriately heal. This is clear when examining the usual missed time for previous cases of patella stress fractures in the NBA. These players, including Blake Griffin and John Wall, missed an average of 49 games. This precedent isn't encouraging for Kaminsky and suggests the indefinite timeline attached to his recovery should be a long one. He's slated to be re-evaluated in four weeks but that does not guarantee a return to play at that time.
Kaminsky's absence should open the door for more action for DeAndre Ayton, Aron Baynes, and Cheick Diallo. Dario Saric appears to be the odd man out at this time, as his playing time has cratered in the last week. He played just four minutes in a win over the Knicks and just over five minutes in Sunday's loss to the Grizzlies. Meanwhile, Ayton has quietly returned to form since coming back from his latest absence, notching a double-double in each of his last three games.
Kevin Porter Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland rookie is expected to miss at least two weeks after spraining his left knee over the weekend. While the timing of the injury is disappointing, it does appear that Porter's sprain is not as severe as it initially appeared. The Cavaliers have not publicly revealed which ligament Porter injured but it doesn't sound like he will need surgery. Newly acquired Dante Exum shined following Porter's injury, scoring 28 points (11-13 FG, 4-4 3Pt, 2-2 FT) to go with three rebounds, two assists and one steal in 24 minutes. He could be worth a speculative add in deeper leagues.
Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings
Sacramento has yet to establish a definitive timeline for Bagley's expected return from his mid-foot sprain. I have discussed the sensitive nature of the mid-foot and its importance to the overall integrity of the foot. I warned Bagley was likely a week or two away from returning and those predictions seem accurate with the forward already ruled out for Monday and unlikely to play Tuesday. Bench him once again for the week ahead.
Patrick Beverley and Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers
Two key members of the Clippers starting rotation have been slowed by injury but recently returned to action. Beverly missed three games with a sprained right wrist while George missed a single game due to hamstring tightness. George shined in his return, scoring 32 points on 9-of-14 shooting (64 percent) while Beverley struggled, finishing with six points on 3-of-7 (43 percent) shooting. Fortunately, the week ahead should provide ample time to further recuperate with Los Angeles off until Friday. The abbreviated schedule will be frustrating in the short-term but should help the pair of Clippers take a step forward toward a clean bill of health.
Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons
The Pistons forward will meet with specialists this week to determine if his problematic left knee will require season-ending surgery. Griffin's left knee has been an issue since a left patella stress fracture cost him his entire rookie season. He has since undergone at least two additional surgeries including a meniscectomy in 2012 and an additional debridement this past offseason. The joint is clearly less than 100% and an aggressive approach may be the best course of treatment for his long-term health. Fantasy managers invested in the six-time All-Star should begin considering other options for the remainder of the season.
Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks center has missed four straight outings with right knee soreness and is expected to miss Monday's game against the Bulls, as well. The root of the problem has not been revealed but it is worth noting this is not the knee that required surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The Mavericks’ medical staff has worked diligently with Porzingis to improve his health and won't risk his long-term availability by rushing him back from even the mildest of ailments. He could return as soon as Wednesday when the Mavs host the Nuggets.
In the meantime, Maxi Kleber is worth streaming consideration. He fared well without Porzingis last week, averaging 18.7 points per game on 61% shooting while chipping in 4.3 made three-pointers, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks.
Draymond Green and D'Angelo Russell, Golden State Warriors
The Warriors have been ravaged by injuries this season with a majority of the roster suffering some sort of ailment. Stephen Curry remains out following his fractured metacarpal and Klay Thompson isn't expected back this year as he works his way back from a torn ACL. Russell has missed time with a thumb injury and is currently sidelined with a right shoulder contusion. The team hoped he would return Monday night, but he ultimately missed that loss to the Kings. Green is also expected to miss the game as he nurses a sprained right ankle. Their absences will continue to open up streaming opportunities for players like Alec Burks, Eric Paschall, and Damion Lee, who the Warriors just converted from a two-way deal to a standard NBA contract.
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors’ leading scorer continues to miss time with a groin strain but he has returned to limited on-court drills. Groin strains can directly impact a player's ability to perform lateral movement and ensuring Siakam is completely healthy will allow him to return to top form. He should remain benched for the week ahead, though it does appear he is finally inching toward a return to action.
Toronto is also dealing with injuries to Marc Gasol, Norman Powell, and Fred VanVleet. Gasol remains “a ways away,” according to the team over the weekend, while both VanVleet and Powell are expected to sit out Tuesday night against Portland. If VanVleet ultimately ends up missing multiple games, Terence Davis is worth a look as a short-term streamer. He had a nice run earlier this season when Kyle Lowry missed time.