NBA injury updates: Latest news on top players ahead of 2020 season return

Sporting News

The resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season raises plenty of questions, particularly about health and safety amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. That is rightfully one of the biggest concerns for commissioner Adam Silver and the rest of the league as teams reconvene in Orlando, Fla.

Aside from the primary issues, there are also a few basketball-related questions, including how many previously injured players could be available as the regular season continues in late July.

MORE: Complete list of NBA players opting out of 2020 season return

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Players around the league originally looking at extended time on the bench could suddenly be ready to rejoin their rotations. Others may opt to stick with rehabilitation plans instead of going full throttle after a few months off.

Here is the latest on the health status of top players who have been dealing with injuries and where they stand now.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

The reigning MVP sat out Milwaukee's last two games before the shutdown after suffering a knee injury against the Lakers. Antetokounmpo was relieved to find out the diagnosis was only a minor sprain, so he should be back to full strength as the Bucks attempt to reach the NBA Finals.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Nets

Despite speculation about a return more than a year after he ruptured his Achilles tendon during the 2019 NBA Finals, Durant made it clear he does not plan to play this season.

Nets general manager Sean Marks told reporters Irving will not join the team in Orlando after undergoing shoulder surgery in March.

Ben Simmons, 76ers

Philadelphia anticipated losing Simmons for an extended period and approached his February back injury with extreme caution. It appears the fears about Simmons' long-term health are gone.

"I'm feeling even better than I was when I started the season," Simmons told reporters earlier this month. "I've been working since I had the injury, working until now to prepare for whatever happens, wherever we go. I'm feeling great. I've been rehabbing this whole time, so I'm feeling ready. And I'm feeling very comfortable."

Bradley Beal, Wizards

Washington will be without its top two players as it attempts to make a playoff push. Davis Bertans opted out as a preventative measure because he will be a free agent this offseason, and Beal will not participate in the restart due to a right rotator cuff injury.

"This was a difficult decision and one that I did not take lightly as the leader of this team," Beal said as part of a team statement. "I wanted to help my teammates compete for a playoff spot in Orlando, but also understand that this will be best for all of us in the long term. I appreciate the support of my teammates, the fans and the entire organization and look forward to returning next season to continue the progress we have made."

LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs

The Spurs announced in early June that Aldridge will be out for the season following shoulder surgery. San Antonio anticipates he will be fully healthy ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

Jaren Jackson Jr., Grizzlies

Jackson had missed the Grizzlies' last nine games with a knee injury prior to the suspension of play, but he was nearing a return. The sophomore sensation should be back to provide a boost for a young team hoping to secure the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic, Trail Blazers

Some much-needed frontcourt depth is on the way for Portland. Both Collins (shoulder) and Nurkic (leg) were originally targeting March returns, so they should be heading down to Orlando with Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and the rest of the roster.

Bojan Bogdanovic, Jazz

Utah will be without its second-leading scorer inside the NBA "bubble." Bogdanovic is out for the season following wrist surgery.

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