5 NBA Injury Stories to Watch this Week

Sports Injury Central
Top NBA injury storylines this week include Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard.
Top NBA injury storylines this week include Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard. / ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Leonard, George Return to Clippers -- Will They Stick This Time?

Star forward Kawhi Leonard made an immediate impact for the Los Angeles Clippers in his first game back from a six-game ankle sprain when he knocked in the game-winning jumper against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night. 

Leonard, who scored 16 points in 28 minutes,  has played only six games this season while he takes a gradual approach to his ACL recovery and should continue to improve as he regains leg strength and lateral quickness. 

Paul George also returned on Monday after missing seven games with a hamstring strain and continued his efficient start, posting 19 points and 7 assists on 8-of-15 shooting.

The Clippers are now 5-1 this season when Leonard plays and 14-11 overall. They will face the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat in a back-to-back this week that Leonard and George will each likely sit at least one half of.

Harden Returns to 76ers, Tyrese Maxey Still Weeks Away 

The .500 Philadelphia 76ers survived their spell of uneven footing and now have Joel Embiid and James Harden back as of Monday night’s loss to the Houston Rockets.

Harden scored 21 points with 7 assists on 4-for-19 shooting while De’Anthony Melton stuck in the starting lineup, posting 9 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in 40 minutes. 

Shake Milton and Danuel House Jr. will likely continue to reap the benefits of Tyrese Maxey’s leftover shots until the dynamic third-year guard recovers from his left foot fracture.

Hawks Expect to Be Without Hunter, Collins For Next Week-Plus

Amidst the reported disconnect between Trae Young and Nate McMillan over Young’s shoulder soreness, the Atlanta Hawks saw starting forwards De’Andre Hunter and John Collins suffer hip and ankle injuries, respectively. 

Hunter will be re-evaluated this Thursday while Collins will miss at least another five games for 13-11 Atlanta, who will face the New York Knicks on Wednesday and Brooklyn Nets on Friday – both on the road – followed by a home game against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday to close out the week.

Rookie AJ Griffin has been impressive in spot starts and will likely see a short-term increase in minutes and shot attempts. 

How Long Will Tyrese Haliburton, Bradley Beal Miss With Muscle Strains?

Standout Indiana Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton missed the team's back-to-back on Sunday and Monday after suffering a groin injury on Friday. 

Indiana -- also without Chris Duarte and Myles Turner -- faces the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, the Washington Wizards on Friday and the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. They have not announced a return timeline for Haliburton.

Bradley Beal will reportedly miss at least a week with a hamstring strain for the Wizards, who are 1-6 in their last seven games after a strong 10-7 start. 

Kyle Kuzma has averaged 20.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists on 45.9% shooting. Kristaps Porzingis has been equally impressive, scoring 21.8 points with 8.8 rebounds on 46.8% shooting from the field and 35.6% from three. 

Struggling Magic Still Missing Most of Starting Unit

The Orlando Magic have the worst record in the NBA (5-20) a quarter of the way through the season and injuries are at least partly to blame. Jalen Suggs, Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr., Gary Harris and Chuma Okeke all remained out on Monday with lingering issues. 

Paolo Banchero, Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony each returned recently from extended absences, and one of the few beneficiaries has been Bol Bol, who has scored 13.7 points with 8.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks on .602/.415/.780 shooting splits in 19 straight starts entering Monday.

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