NBA injuries: Klay Thompson nearing long-awaited return; Zion Williamson looks to be

INJURY: Knee (torn ACL) | STATUS: Out indefinitely
Leonard went down with a torn ACL during the second round of the playoffs last season, and has not played since. It’s still unclear if he’s going to return this season, but if he does it won’t be until some time in the spring. There likely won’t be any definitive updates until then, and whether or not the Clippers can hang in the playoff race will likely play a part in determining his recovery plan. INJURY: Achilles | STATUS: Hoping to return before Christmas
The last time we saw Thompson was Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. Since then he’s undergone two major surgeries, one for a torn ACL and the other for a torn Achilles tendon. Now, finally, he’s on the verge of a return. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that Thompson is back to playing 5-on-5 again, and a recent report from The Athletic indicated that Thompson has been cleared to be a full participant in practice. If all goes well, the Warriors are hoping to have Thompson back ahead of Christmas. That would be a major boost to a team that already has the best record in the league. INJURY: Fractured foot | STATUS: Out indefinitely
One of the biggest names on the injury list this season is Williamson. The Pelicans’ young star suffered a fractured foot in the summer, which the Pelicans kept secret until media day. The team then claimed he would be ready for opening night, but that was obviously not the case. In fact, Williamson wasn’t even cleared to begin contact drills until earlier this week. He’s set to undergo further scans closer to Thanksgiving to determine whether or not he can join team workouts, at which point we’ll have a better picture of when he’ll be able to play again. Without him, the Pelicans have been a mess, and are currently 3-15. INJURY: Knee (torn ACL) | STATUS: Out indefinitely
The Nuggets have been without their star guard since late last season, when he tore his ACL against the Warriors. Murray has been ramping up his workouts and said recently that he feels “great.” However, he won’t be back on the court until some time in the spring at the earliest. Whether the Nuggets can remain afloat without him and Porter remains to be seen. INJURY: Personal; COVID restrictions | STATUS: No timeline for return
Irving falls into the same category as Ben Simmons, where he’s not actually injured, but he has to be mentioned since he hasn’t played all season. The Nets star is still unvaccinated against COVID-19, which means he is not able to enter Barclays Center for home games due to New York City’s health mandates. While Irving would be eligible to play on the road, the Nets decided not to include him as a part-time player. He’s been away from the team since training camp, and will not play until he either receives the vaccine or the mandates in New York change. INJURY: COVID-19 | STATUS: Out until at least Nov. 27
Embiid has, once again, struggled with a knee issue to start the season. However, the reason he’s been sidelined recently is COVID-19. The big man tested positive earlier this month and will be out until at least Nov. 27 as he goes through the league’s health and safety protocols. He should be good to go whenever he gets cleared, but you never truly know how players will react after a bout with the virus, especially considering Sixers head coach Doc Rivers revealed that Embiid was symptomatic. “He’s not doing great,” Rivers said . “He’s struggling with it, very similar to Tobias [Harris].” INJURY: Mental health | STATUS: No timeline for return
The Simmons saga is well known at this point. And though he doesn’t have a physical injury we’ll include him here since he is reportedly dealing with mental health issues. He doesn’t want to play for the Sixers anymore, and the team hasn’t found a trade they like and neither side will budge as the standoff continues. Most recently, the two sides have been in dispute over Simmons’ mental health treatment, and the team recently resumed fining Simmons. INJURY: Elbow sprain | STATUS: Out 2-4 weeks
The No. 3 overall pick got off to a flying start this season, so much so that opposing coaches are reportedly jealous they don’t get to coach him. But the positive momentum for both him and the Cavaliers came to a halt earlier this month when he sprained his elbow against the Boston Celtics. Mobley is expected to miss two-to-four weeks, so he’ll be out until at least early December. The good news is this doesn’t seem like it will be a long-term issue.

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