Dr. A's Weekend Recap: Important NBA News and Notes

Dr. A's Weekend Recap: Important NBA News and Notes

This article is part of our NBA Observations series.

Here are some key storylines that you might have missed over the weekend as well as a look at what some of the impacts may be as we enter Week 13 of the NBA season. And since today is MLK Day, you can watch hoops for 12 straight hours if you want to. 

Beware the two-game week!

The Clippers, Bucks and Kings all play just two games this week, while many teams go four times. Pretty disappointing news for managers of Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, De'Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis and Malik Monk

Grizzlies' Desmond Bane and Marcus Smart both out six weeks

Desmond Bane's left ankle injury will be re-examined in six weeks, which is almost hard to believe. Ja Morant is done for the season after shoulder surgery, and Marcus Smart is out for six weeks with a finger injury. The Grizzlies may be on the verge of pulling the plug on the entire season, and I'm worried about Jaren Jackson Jr. being the next player to get hurt and be shut down. He's already missed two of his last three games with a knee injury but will hopefully be in uniform on Monday. Xavier Tillman, Luke Kennard, Vince Williams Jr., David Roddy, Jacob Gilyard and every other no-name player on Memphis is going to be getting run the rest of the way. 

Jimmy Butler traveling with Heat, Jaime Jaquez Jr. goes down

Jimmy Butler will travel with the Heat this week after missing 11 of his last 12 games with a toe injury. Jaime Jaquez Jr. injured his groin on Sunday and will not even travel to Brooklyn for Monday's game. If both players are out, Duncan Robinson, Caleb Martin, Haywood Highsmith and Nikola Jovic should all get an extra boost on Monday. Butler has been a disaster with all the missed games, and the Jaquez news is simply disappointing since he was playing so well. Robinson scored 19 points with a full stat line in 30 minutes on Sunday, and the Heat play four games this week.

Luka Doncic likely to miss third straight game on Monday

Luka Doncic's right ankle injury must be pretty severe, as he's being listed as doubtful for Monday's MLK matchup against the Pelicans. With Dante Exum (heel) also out, Kyrie Irving, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jaden Hardy and Josh Green could all go off again today. The Mavs only have three games this week, so it looks like Luka's going to have a two-game week, at best. Derrick Jones Jr., who has been hot, isn't likely to play on Monday due to a calf injury.

Pelicans rest period is over

The Pelicans rested most of its starters on Saturday, allowing Jordan Hawkins to get loose for a season-high 34 points and six triples. Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, CJ McCollum and Trey Murphy are all expected to return to action Monday against the Mavericks, and the Pelicans play three games this week. There's no reason to pick Hawkins up. 

Deandre Ayton misses 11th straight game on Sunday

Deandre Ayton missed his 11th straight game on Sunday due to right knee tendinitis, but Chauncey Billups says the big man is getting close to a return. Maybe that means he'll grace us with his presence on Wednesday against the Nets. The Trail Blazers play three times this week. 

Joel Embiid (knee) iffy for Monday, Sixers have back-to-back sets this week

Joel Embiid's knee injury is lingering, and he's questionable for Monday against the Rockets, although he did practice fully on Sunday. He's missed 13 of his last 23 games, and fantasy managers will want to keep a close eye on the news feed on Monday. Embiid and the Sixers play four times this week, but they are in two sets of back-to-back games (Mon/Tue) and (Fri/Sat), meaning Embiid might sit a couple more games this week. 

Jalen Brunson (calf) misses Saturday, iffy for Monday

Jalen Brunson missed Saturday's game, and Miles McBride started and had 19 points, six rebounds, five assists, a steal, a block and four triples on 7-of-10 shooting in 38 minutes. If Brunson is out again, feel free to fire up McBride and hope he can stay hot. Isaiah Hartenstein had a big game on Saturday with 12 points, 20 rebounds, two steals and four blocks, and should be in line for a big four-game week. 

Victor Wembanyama (ankle) expected to play on Monday

Victor Wembanyama (ankle) rested again on Saturday but is expected to play against the Hawks on Monday. San Antonio has four games per week for each of the next three weeks, with three sets of back-to-backs, meaning he'll likely play just three games a week if the Spurs keep resting him in those instances. 

LeBron James (ankle) misses Saturday, probable for Monday

LeBron sat out on Saturday but is actually listed as probable against the Thunder for Monday. Anthony Davis (ankle), who is usually listed as probable, is officially questionable against OKC, but he hasn't missed a game since Dec. 15 and had a triple-double without LeBron on Saturday. My guess is that both of them will play on Monday.

Stephen Curry rests Saturday, Draymond Green due back on Monday

Steph Curry got the day off on Saturday, but it sounds like he should play on Monday, along with Draymond Green, who hasn't played since Dec. 12 after serving a 12-game suspension and then taking four games off to regain his conditioning. The Warriors have lost three of their last four games and are sitting at 18-21 on the season. If they're going to get things turned around, it will have to start against a very banged up Memphis team on Monday. Their upcoming schedule is actually pretty good, as they'll face the Grizzlies, Utah, Dallas and Atlanta, which could all be wins for Golden State. The Warriors play three games in each of the next three weeks.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Alexander
Steve 'Doc' Alexander has been covering hoops for more than 20 years and recently joined Rotowire after spending his entire career at NBC Sports.
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