The anticipation over the NBA returning and the Wolves’ march to the playoffs was palpable. A big road game against the Rockets to kick things off made things a little more enticing.

    The excitement built when the Wolves came out and took control of the first quarter. The offense came right out without a hint of rust and the defense was holding their own, suppressing the Rockets’ 3-point attack. After the first the Wolves led 32-26.

    From there the Rockets began to climb back a bit and the teams went back and forth, with the Rockets leading by only two points at halftime. It was shaping up to be a close contest.

    In the third all the excitement, all the goodwill, all the energy was mercilessly punched out of the Wolves after Jimmy Butler went down with an apparent knee injury. It wasn’t a gruesome injury, one of those weird plays where guys go down with minimal contact. Unfortunately those ones are usually the worst.

    For a guy like Jimmy, he’s not going down like that just for a stinger.

    The teams played on momentarily after Butler went down, but it was quickly apparent that something was seriously wrong with Butler. Chris Paul went on the court and encouraged Butler to stay down and avoid making things worse.

    It was initially tough to tell what exactly was wrong but eventually it looked like they were isolating his knee. With the non-contact nature around the knee, the first worry is an ACL tear. That would obviously be a devastating blow.

    When they were able to get Jimmy up and off the floor, it seemed like he said “it’s torn,” referring presumably to his knee. He did not return to the game.

    No word has come out, other than x-ray results. They were negative, but an x-ray can’t detect an ACL tear, only bone damage to the knee. It’s a minor victory that at least there’s no further damage, but an MRI tomorrow will determine the full severity.

    Until then, the Wolves can only hope for the best.

    The Wolves were down by 11 at the time of the injury and were unable to mount a comeback, losing 120-102.

    Wiggins was the leading scorer with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting, with four rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers. If Butler is out, Wiggins will be thrust into a much larger role again, along with Karl-Anthony Towns.

    Towns finished with 18 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, one block and one 3-pointer. He shot 6-of-15 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the line.

    Jeff Teague scored 18 points with four rebounds, four assists and two steals.

    In a worst-case scenario, that being Butler having a torn ACL, the Wolves could be in serious trouble. Offensively they will perhaps take a small step back, though they still have a ton of talent to make up for it. Defensively there is no chance for improvement, and depending who steps into the lineup in Butler’s place, the defense will mightily regress.

    The Wolves are currently 3.5 games from falling completely out of the playoffs, so there is little margin for error. Even if this happens to be a short-term injury for Butler, the Wolves have an extremely tough schedule ahead.

    Eight of their next 10 games are against opponents over .500, including Golden State, Boston and Houston.

    Simply put, this injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Wolves. Further updates will be provided, but for now it’s safe to assume Butler will be out tomorrow night against the Bulls.

Fantasy News

  • Kevin Knox
    SF, New York Knicks

    Coach Fizdale told the Knicks players that no starters have been determined and players had to earn their minutes.

    Kevin Knox will battle with veteran Marcus Morris for the starting small forward spot. Knox has been working on getting his body stronger to be able to take on more contact on drives to the basket. Last season as a rookie, he averaged 12.8 points on a putrid 37 percent from the field. Knox will look to get more looks closer to the basket and increase his field goal percentage to more respectable levels. Knox provided little else outside of points and rebounds last season and will need to improve his shooting and defense to be considered a standard-league player.

    Source: New York Post

  • Bol Bol
    C, Denver Nuggets

    According to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, Bol Bol could spend his entire rookie season in the G-League.

    Bol Bol was not drafted to be an immediate impact player, but just fell too late fore the Nuggets liking. The 44th overall pick needs to bulk up and show that he could take the bumps and bruises before having his chance on the big stage.

    Source: Nick Kosmider of The Athletic

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    After speaking with Doc Rivers and Lawrence Frank, Dan Woike's takeaway is that Kawhi Leonard's "load management" will not be as strict as it was last year.

    It was reported in July that Kawhi said he wants to play all next season fully and approach load management on a game-to-game basis so this is further confirmation that he will most likely play more than the 60 games he played last year but surely won't play all 82 either. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports speculates that this could be for several reasons. One could be that Leonard can take on more now that he is a little healthier while he believes the Clippers might also limit his per-game minutes to help him play more games. The other idea is that because the Western Conference is so deep, the Clippers will not be able to get a good seed if Leonard sits too many games. Fantasy wise, Leonard finished last season seventh in per game value but 18th in total value since he played only 60 games. Near the top of the second round would be a great place to snag him if he plays around 70 games this season.

    Source: Dan Woike on Twitter

  • Malik Beasley
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets want to extend Malik Beasley and Juan Hernagomez before the October 21 deadline.

    The Nuggets already locked up one of their 2016 first-round picks (Jamal Murray) to a long-term deal and now want to do the same with their other two 2016 first-round picks, Hernangomez and Beasley. If not, the two will likely become restricted free-agents at the end of the season. Both players saw stretches of big minutes last season due to injuries but at full health, Beasley was around 20 minutes per game while Hernangomez was at around 10. Fantasy wise, neither player puts up big defensive stats but Beasley is a very efficient shooter with low turnovers, knocking down 2.0 triples per game last year, putting him near top-150 value at only 23.2 minutes per game. Hernangomez is a decent rebounder and knocked down 0.9 triples per game but he would need closer to 30 minutes per game to be a factor in standard leagues.

    Source: Denver Post

  • OG Anunoby
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Coach Nick Nurse intends to put OG Anunoby "back out there in a primary role."

    With Kawhi Leonard vacating the starting small forward spot, Anunoby is the leading candidate to take the role. Before the arrival of Leonard, Anunoby started 62 games in his rookie season. Last season he started 6 out of 67 games, and missed the entire playoffs due to an emergency appendectomy. He averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks over 20.2 minutes per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 58.1 percent from the free-throw line. He can be picked up as a late round flier in drafts.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Daryl Macon
    PG, Miami Heat

    The Heat have signed Daryl Macon.

    Macon getting picked up by another NBA squad after a solid Summer League campaign is not a shocker. If he were to crack the rotation he would post a nice assist rate, but it is unlikely Macon will be getting playing time unless something goes terribly wrong for the Heat this season.

    Source: NBA

  • Tahjere McCall
    F, Atlanta Hawks

    The Hawks signed Tahjere McCall from their Summer League team.

    This is just a depth signing for the Hawks. He shouldn't see much court time on the NBA floor if he makes the main roster out of camp

    Source: Kevin Chouinard on Twitter

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Marc Stein is reporting that the Rockets will sign Thabo Sefolosha.

    Sefolosha was among the names at a recent mini camp, and he should make for a nice fit as a defensive stopper off the bench. The Rockets have a pretty thin group of reserves so we'd expect Sefolosha to be a regular rotation player, which puts him on the board as a steals specialist in deep leagues.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Tyler Zeller
    C, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets have signed C Tyler Zeller to the training camp roster on Thursday.

    Zeller played all of six games last season with the Hawks and Grizzlies. Zeller will try to latch on as a third-string C for the Nuggets' deep frontcourt. Zeller is off the fantasy radar.

    Source: Chris Dempsey on Twitter

  • Luke Kennard
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey said that he is not sure if he will start Luke Kennard or have him run a lot of the second-team offense.

    In addition, Casey mentioned that Kennard dealt with some knee tendinitis earlier this summer. Kennard is likely competing with Bruce Brown Jr. for the starting two-guard spot. We'll see how the rotation starts to shape in the preseason, but both players will get minutes either way.

    Source: NBA