NBA Playoffs Injury Report: Updated News on Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, More

NBA Playoffs Injury Report: Updated News on Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, More article feature image

Getty Images/Action Network. Pictured (L-R): Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks, Jimmy Butler of the Heat, Zion Williamson of the Pelicans.

The NBA Playoffs officially start on Saturday, April 20, but injuries have already begun to play a huge role in the NBA Play-In Tournament.

Two key players have gone down on teams that need a win just to make the the NBA Playoffs. Two other key players on NBA Finals contenders might not be available to play when the playoffs tip this weekend.

Here's a breakdown of the key injury news to watch across the NBA.

Injury News for Friday's NBA Play-In Games

Miami Heat

The Heat likely won't have Jimmy Butler for Friday's NBA Play-In Tournament elimination game against the Chicago Bulls after he suffered a knee injury Wednesday. According The Athletic's Shams Charania, Butler is feared to have suffered an injury to his MCL and is expected to miss multiple weeks.

Terry Rozier is also a question mark for the Heat after missing Wednesday's game and the final four games of the regular season with a neck injury.

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have listed Alex Caruso, Andre Drummond and Ayo Dosunmu as questionable for Friday's game. Caruso and Drummond collided with each other in Wednesday's game, which led to a "significant left ankle sprain" for Caruso, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

New Orleans Pelicans

Zion Williamson will miss Friday's game against the Kings after he left Tuesday's game against the Lakers with a hamstring injury. The Pelicans won't reevaluate Williamson until two weeks from now.

Brandon Ingram just returned for the final game of the regular season and the NBA Play-In Tournament game, both against the Lakers, and played roughly 25 minutes in both games.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings have been without Kevin Huerter (shoulder) and Malik Monk (knee) for a while. Huerter underwent season-ending surgery in March, while Monk, a Sixth Man of the Year contender, is less than three weeks removed from suffering an MCL sprain.

NBA Playoffs: Injury News for Saturday's Games

Cleveland Cavaliers

Donovan Mitchell (knee), Darius Garland (back) and Caris LeVert (knee) sat out Cleveland's season finale, but it appears that was just injury management as the Cavs had already locked up the No. 4 seed.

Mitchell has missed time this season with knee ailments and surgery to repair a nasal fracture, but should be a full go for Round 1 of the playoffs.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Karl-Anthony Towns returned to the floor after missing more than a month with a meniscus injury that required surgery. Towns played 28 and 29 minutes in his two games back on the court.

Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid has play in six of a possible eight games since returning from his knee injury. Embiid has played more than 30 minutes just three times in the stretch, including Wednesday's game against the Heat.

De'Anthony Melton (back) has appeared in only seven games since Jan. 1. He missed all of March, but returned for a pair of games last week against the Magic and Pistons. However, he sat out of Wednesday's Play-In Game.

New York Knicks

The Knicks have a few players bruised up heading into the playoffs, but other than Julius Randle, their key guys are expected play. According to Fred Katz of The Athletic, Mitchell Robinson participated in Tuesday's practice after sitting out the second half against the Bulls.

Los Angeles Lakers

Anthony Davis left the Lakers' regular season finale with back spasms, but was available to play when the Lakers faced the Pelicans in Tuesday's Play-In game. Davis said his back tightened up in the Play-In game as well, but feels like he'll be 100% for Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets.

Jarred Vanderbilt is still out for the Lakers with a midfoot sprain that has kept him off the floor since February. There is hope that Vanderbilt can contribute if the Lakers make a deep run, but he only recently started to ramp up his conditioning and hasn't had on-court contact yet, according to The Athletic's Jovan Buha.

NBA Playoffs: Injury News for Sunday's Games

Los Angeles Clippers

Kawhi Leonard missed the final eight regular games with right knee inflammation. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted that it’s the “same knee that just in the past few years, he had meniscus surgery on (and) ACL surgery on …They have to quell that inflammation. He’s been out eight games. They have the week to continue to give him that treatment to get him back.”

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said he's preparing to have Leonard on the court for Game 1 Sunday, but added that he doesn't know yet if Leonard will be cleared to play.

Meanwhile, James Harden sat out the season finale citing a foot injury. He will likely be available for the start of the playoffs. Harden played in just one of the team's last four games and only played 10 minutes.

Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo's status is in question for the Bucks' Game 1 matchup against the Pacers after he suffered a calf injury in the final week of the regular season. Charania reported there is "real doubt" the Bucks' star will be ready to go for the start of the series.

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Nick Sterling
May 21, 2024 UTC