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Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, LeBron headline NBA injury report for Wednesday, Dec. 29

We take a look at the NBA injury report for Wednesday, December 29th and break down all the latest news for fantasy basketball.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns
Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on December 23, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Thunder 113-101.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There are nine games scheduled for Wednesday’s NBA slate but we’ll see how many get played as the league continues to deal with COVID-19 issues. The association has shortened the isolation time for positive tests, and teams will see players return from the protocols quicker as a result. That will dramatically change the way fans and bettors react to the day’s action.

We’ll see tracking the injury report for Wednesday, December 29th and providing a bit of fantasy basketball analysis. Updates will be provided throughout the day.

UPDATE - The Heat-Spurs contest has been postponed due to Miami not having enough players for the game.

NBA injury report, December 29th

New York Knicks vs. Detroit Pistons

Cade Cunningham (protocols) OUT
Isaiah Stewart (protocols) OUT

The Pistons are not playing for anything meaningful this season, so development and fit will be key metrics to evaluate this team. Cunningham and Stewart are two players the team sees as future pieces, so their continued absences will hurt.

Evan Fournier (ankle) OUT

Fournier is out Wednesday as he deals with an ankle injury. Look for RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin and Kemba Walker to be the primary beneficiaries of Fournier’s absence.

Charlotte Hornets vs. Indiana Pacers

Miles Bridges (protocols) OUT
PJ Washington (protocols) OUT

These Hornets players are still in protocols, which means guys like Kelly Oubre Jr., Jaden McDaniels and James Bouknight could be good value plays in fantasy and DFS formats.

Malcolm Brogdon (Achilles), OUT
Jeremy Lamb (protocols) OUT

Update - Lamb was off the injury report but is now in health and safety protocols. Brogdon has been ruled out, which means LeVert and Duarte are likely to be big factors against the Hornets. Justin Holiday represents a value play with both Lamb and Brogdon out.

Brogdon has been dealing with this injury for a while and given his importance to the team, it’s a tough absence. Look for Caris LeVert and Chris Duarte to see additional ball-handling responsibilities if Brogdon is unable to play Wednesday.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Boston Celtics

Nicolas Batum (ankle) OUT
Brandon Boston Jr. (protocols) OUT
Reggie Jackson (conditioning) OUT

Update - Jackson has been formally ruled out for Wednesday’s game.

Update - Jackson has actually been upgraded from out to doubtful, but is still unlikely to play Wednesday.

Update — Jackson is off the COVID list, which is a good sign he’ll be back soon. Problem is, it won’t be tonight vs. the Celtics. So we can expect more of Mann and Kennard in the back court.

Update — The Clippers added rookie Brandon Boston Jr. to the COVID-19 list and he isn’t going to play vs. the Celtics. Mann and Kennard are your guys in the backcourt until Reggie Jackson is cleared.

Batum has been a valuable rotation player for the Clippers, and his absence will have a big impact as Paul George remains out. Look for Terrace Mann, Luke Kennard and Marcus Morris to take on bigger roles as a result of Batum’s absence.

Marcus Smart (hand) OUT
Dennis Schroder (protocols) OUT
Josh Richardson (conditioning) AVAILABLE

Update - Smart has been ruled out of the contest, which opens the door for guys like Payton Pritchard to get more minutes.

Smart has been up and down this season offensively, which has led to some inconsistent stretches for the Celtics as a whole. Josh Richardson is off the injury report for Wednesday’s game, and is a strong value play if Smart sits out. Payton Pritchard also carries value with Schroder being out.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Chicago Bulls

John Collins (protocols) OUT
Bogdan Bogdanovic (protocols) OUT
Kevin Huerter (protocols) OUT

Collins and Bogdanovic have been ruled out, as has Jalen Johnson. Huerter could potentially return but will likely be monitored for conditioning before taking the floor. Trae Young, Cam Reddish and Clint Capela get a boost with these absences with Young likely seeing additional shots if Huerter is unable to suit up.

Lonzo Ball (protocols) OUT
Derrick Jones Jr. (conditioning) Will Play

Ball remains in protocols, which gives Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White some additional value in fantasy and DFS formats.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies

LeBron James (abdominals), AVAILABLE
Austin Reaves (conditioning) OUT
Rajon Rondo (protocols) OUT
Kent Bazemore (conditioning) OUT

Update - As expected, James is playing in Wednesday’s contest.

Update - Both Reaves and Bazemore have cleared the league’s health protocols but are out likely due to conditioning. Look for Malik Monk and Stanley Johnson to be value plays in Wednesday’s game. Wayne Ellington is available to play as well after dealing with a non-COVID illness.

We know James will play despite being listed on the injury report. Reaves, Rondo and Bazemore are up in the air with the protocols.

Dillon Brooks (protocols) OUT

With Brooks likely to remain in protocols, Desmond Bane remains a strong pick for fantasy and DFS players.

Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs

Kyle Lowry (protocols) OUT
PJ Tucker (protocols), OUT
Max Strus (protocols) OUT
Gabe Vincent (protocols) OUT
Jimmy Butler (ankle) OUT
KZ Okpala (wrist) OUT

Update - Okpala has been ruled out of Wednesday’s contest, and the Heat are going to have to scramble to ensure this game does get played. Keep an eye out for postponement news regarding this contest.

Update — Well, this makes things a bit more interesting. Butler has been ruled out with an ankle injury on the second night of a back-to-back. It appears Herro and Robinson will have to start in the back court tonight against the Spurs. Marcus Garrett ($3,200) and DJ Stewart ($3,100) both may need to play big minutes with the Heat down all these bodies. KZ Okpala is worth monitoring. He’d give us big-time leverage if he’s ruled in and we can pivot.

Update — The Heat placed three players into protocols on Wednesday morning — Tucker, Strus and Vincent. With Lowry also out for now, Jimmy Butler ($9,300) and Tyler Herro ($6,900) will be heavily relied on in the back court. Duncan Robinson ($5,000) and Caleb Martin ($3,900) are decent values.

Lowry and Tucker are key rotation players for the Heat. Gabe Vincent is probably the best value play if both guys remain, with Caleb Martin and Tyler Herro also seeing additional volume.

Lonnie Walker (knee) doubtful

Walker hasn’t quite banned out in the NBA but he does still get solid minutes for the Spurs. If Walker is unable to play, look for Devin Vassell to absorb those minutes and be a potential value add against the Heat Wednesday.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Phoenix Suns

Josh Giddey (protocols) OUT
Darius Bazley (protocols) OUT
Tre Mann (protocols) OUT
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (ankle) OUT

Update - The Thunder star guard has been ruled out with an ankle issue, which opens the door for guys like Lu Dort and Aaron Wiggins to get some additional offensive opportunities. Ty Jerome is starting in this game, so he’s another value play option.

The Thunder are in a rebuilding season, so it’s tough for them to see three players they view as future pieces in protocols. Giddey has been the best of the group so far, but the Thunder do hold high hopes for Bazley and Mann.

Deandre Ayton (protocols) OUT
Jae Crowder (protocols) OUT

Ayton is unlikely to clear protocols. Jalen Smith will see some additional minutes and becomes a good value play. Cam Johnson and JaVale McGee will also be strong adds.

Utah Jazz vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Donovan Mitchell (back) OUT

Mitchell has already been ruled out for this game with a lower back strain. Jordan Clarkson is the biggest beneficiary, with Mike Conley also likely to see more touches. Joe Ingles could be the best value play in DFS formats.

Jusuf Nurkic (protocols) OUT
Robert Covington (protocols) OUT

Nurkic and Covington are key role players for the Trail Blazers, who desperately need to get healthy and start making a run back up the West standings. Larry Nance Jr., Tony Snell and Nassir Little are likely to be the best additions for DFS players in this game.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Sacramento Kings

Luka Doncic (protocols, ankle) OUT
Brandon Knight (protocols) OUT
Boban Marjanovic (protocols) OUT

Update - The Mavericks have put Knight and Marjanovic in the protocols, so that’s two more absences for Dallas in Wednesday’s game against the Kings. The Mavericks are signing Isaiah Thomas to a deal, so he’s available and could be a value play in DFS showdown contests.

Doncic is the star for this team, and his continued absence is going to be tough to overcome for the Mavericks. Jalen Brunson is probably the top value add if Doncic is unable to clear protocols in time for Wednesday’s game.

Alex Len (conditioning) AVAILABLE
Davion Mitchell (protocols) AVAILABLE

Both Len and Mitchell are good to go for Kings in Wednesday’s game.