Injury Notes: VanVleet, Brunson, Middleton, Robinson, GPII

Rockets point guard Fred VanVleet, who missed Tuesday’s loss in Indiana due to a left adductor strain, will be sidelined for at least three more games, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). That means VanVleet will be out for Friday’s return to Toronto in addition to games vs. Atlanta on Saturday and New York next Monday.

“Probably around All-Star break,” head coach Ime Udoka said when asked when VanVleet might return. “We’ll see. Who knows if that’ll take into All-Star break or right before the break?”

As Feigen writes, the Rockets’ final game before the All-Star break is next Wednesday in Memphis, then the team isn’t in action until the following Thursday (February 22) in New Orleans. Pushing VanVleet’s return until after the break would give him an extra eight days to recover, but if he’s able to play on Feb. 14, he’d also get those eight days of rest following his first game back.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the league:

  • One current Eastern Conference All-Star and one three-time East All-Star exited their respective games early on Tuesday due to ankle injuries. Knicks guard Jalen Brunson turned his right ankle in the fourth quarter vs. Memphis, but appears to have avoided a severe sprain, per Ian Begley of (Twitter video link). Meanwhile, Bucks forward Khris Middleton left the Footprint Center in Phoenix wearing a walking boot and using crutches after spraining his left ankle in the first quarter, per Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Head coach Doc Rivers said X-rays on Middleton’s ankle were negative.
  • Knicks center Mitchell Robinson, who has been out since mid-December after undergoing ankle surgery, will begin on-court shooting shortly after the All-Star break, head coach Tom Thibodeau said on Tuesday, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. There’s still hope that Robinson will be able to return before the end of the season.
  • The Warriors announced on Tuesday in a press release that Gary Payton II is making good progress from the left hamstring strain that has sidelined him since January 2 and is now considered day-to-day. However, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link), Payton is unlikely to return during the team’s current road trip, which concludes with a back-to-back set in Philadelphia on Wednesday and Indiana on Thursday. Andrew Wiggins (left ankle contusion), on the other hand, is probable to play on Wednesday after missing Monday’s contest, says Slater.
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