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Los Angeles Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins has torn his ACL during workouts. With this injury happening in mid-August, Cousins' recovery window means we likely won't see him on an NBA floor this upcoming season. It's a huge blow for a player who was still working to get back to full strength after an Achilles rupture two seasons ago. With Cousins out, expect JaVale McGee to start at center. We could also see more lineups with Anthony Davis playing the five and Kyle Kuzma working as a stretch four.
Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (knee) is reportedly ready to go during the upcoming NBA restart. Walker has been dealing with knee issues all season long, but having a few months off because of the hiatus has helped him. "I really needed to use that break. It definitely helped me get back to myself and start to feel comfortable on my knee," said Walker. It does not sound like the Celtics plan to limit Walker at all during the restart. He was not shooting well before the hiatus, but getting back to full health was key for Walker.
Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams is expected to join the team in Orlando for the restart, according to head coach Doc Rivers. "I would be very surprised if he is not [with the team]," Rivers said. Williams mentioned in mid-June that he was split 50/50 on whether or not to play in Orlando. Losing Williams would be a huge blow since he's the third-highest scorer on the team right now. Reggie Jackson and Landry Shamet would be asked to do more if Williams does decide to sit out.
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal is undecided about playing during the upcoming NBA restart. He continues to work out with the team, but has not made up his mind about playing. The Wizards are currently 5.5 games behind the No. 8 seed Orlando Magic. They only have eight games to make up the difference, so Beal may decide it's not worth the risk. The Wizards would be in trouble if Beal decides to opt out. They don't really have any other big-time players who can produce on a daily basis. Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, and Ish Smith would be asked to do a lot on offense if Beal opts out.
Dallas Mavericks center Dwight Powell (Achilles) has begun working on a treadmill and doing some light shooting. He had right Achilles surgery in late January and is considered questionable for the beginning of the 2020-2021 season. He obviously won't take part in the upcoming NBA restart, but he will travel with the team. Willie Cauley-Stein has decided to opt out of the restart. Maximilian Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Kristaps Porzingis will benefit in the absence of these two big men.
Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson (shoulder) will not play during the upcoming NBA restart and is still months away, according to head coach Rick Carlisle. His surgically repaired shoulder is getting better, but he is not ready to take the court yet. Brunson will travel with the team, but he won't take the court again until next season. Seth Curry has been on fire this season, so he'll take over most of Brunson's minutes. Curry should continue to have reliable DFS value during the restart.
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has taken his work to another level during the league shutdown. Head coach Brett Brown said that no player on the roster has "put in more time than Joel Embiid" during the hiatus. Earlier in the season Embiid admitted he was not playing up to his standards. However, he has turned the page and is ready for the league to resume later this month. It doesn't sound like the Sixers have any plans to limit Embiid due to the risk of injury. Embiid is ready to show everyone that he is a new and improved player. DFS players should keep an eye out for Embiid because he could very well turn on the jets in the second half.
Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant (foot) said that he is "fully healed, 100 percent healed." He missed time earlier in the season due to a foot stress fracture. The Wizards are happy to have him back for the restart. Davis Bertans has decided to sit out, which will likely mean more minutes for Bryant. It doesn't sound like the Wizards have any plans to limit Bryant during the upcoming restart. He could find himself with a significant role on the Wizards. His fantasy value is on the rise, assuming he is actually back to being 100 percent healthy.
Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley (foot) is ready to get back on the court, according to head coach Luke Walton. The Kings are unsure how they will use Bagley at the beginning of the restart later this month. Walton mentioned that he is excited to have Bagley back after him being sidelined since January with this sprained foot issue. His return should cut into the playing time of Richaun Holmes and Nemanja Bjelica. It's tough to trust Bagley since he has been unable to play much this season. It'll be interesting to see how Walton decides to split up the playing time.
Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic (leg) will not have a minutes limit during the restart, according to head coach Terry Stotts. It appears the Blazers are debating on starting Nurkic over Eli Whiteside. Nurkic would likely see minutes around the 20-23 range, but it should be a 50/50 split with Whiteside. The fact that both players are splitting up the minutes will hurt their fantasy values. They could offer some DFS appeal in the right matchups, but it depends on how the Blazers mix up their rotation.
Portland Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside is expected to come off the bench during the upcoming NBA restart. Head coach Terry Stotts said that "in all likelihood" Jusuf Nurkic will start with Carmelo Anthony. Trevor Ariza has decided to opt out, which means Anthony will likely start at small forward. Zach Collins would be the favorite to start at the power forward spot. Whiteside had a fantastic season, but his fantasy value is going to take a hit with Nurkic back on the court. Whiteside won't be as desirable off the bench, but he could still be an option for DFS contests.
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