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Steven Adams returns Saturday vs. T-Wolves on minutes limit [UPDATE]

Nerlens Noel is out after facial surgery, so Mike Muscala should see plenty of minutes with Adams on a short leash.

Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams dribbles in the second quarter against Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Jan. 25, 7:00 p.m. — Adams will be available to play Saturday vs. the Timberwolves on a minutes restriction.

Muscala and Deonte Burton should see front court minutes and are decent value plays, but don’t expect much upside.

UPDATE: Jan. 24, 6:36 p.m. — Adams will remain out Friday vs. the Hawks.

UPDATE: Jan. 22, 6:02 p.m. — Adams has been ruled out. So Noel will start at center and makes for a decent value play on DK. Keep in mind it’s 12 games and the Magic are one of the better interior defensive teams in the NBA.

UPDATE: Jan. 22, 5:38 p.m. — Adams is a game-time decision and will try to play. Nerlens Noel is available to play for the Thunder.

So it’s looking like both Adams and Noel will be available against the Magic, which is good news for OKC. They’ll likely need to lean less on Mike Muscala, so he isn’t a viable value play in DFS.

UPDATE: Jan. 22, 1:48 p.m. — Adams and Noel are still questionable as of this afternoon. Justin Patton was recalled from the G League to add some depth in the front court if both Adams and Noel are out.

UPDATE: Jan. 21, 4:37 p.m. — Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel are both questionable for Wednesday’s game vs. the Orlando Magic.

Somehow the Thunder mounted a comeback win over the Rockets on MLK Day without both Noel and Adams. I doubt they’ll have an easy time doing so against the Magic, who are among the best defensive teams in the NBA. Mike Muscala will see more minutes, but we also saw OKC go small with four guards and Danilo Gallinari.

UPDATE: Jan. 20, 6:28 p.m. — Adams will not return vs. the Rockets and Muscala has started the second half for the Thunder.

UPDATE: Jan. 20, 6:14 p.m. — Adams is questionable to return to Monday’s game vs. the Rockets after sustaining an ankle injury in the first half. Adams had just returned to the lineup from a knee injury, so right now his lower body isn’t treating him well. With Nerlens Noel out today, the Thunder don’t have many options in the frontcourt, so Mike Muscala may be in line for huge minutes in the second half.

UPDATE: Jan. 18, 7:27 p.m. — Adams (right knee contusion) will be active without a minutes restriction in the Thunder’s Saturday matchup against the Trail Blazers. Terrance Ferguson (illness), Danilo Gallinari (rest), Abdel Nader (left ankle sprain) and Andre Roberson (knee) have been ruled out of the contest.

It appears like Nerlens Noel and Mike Muscala will be relegated to their normal backup roles now that Adams is back in the fold. If Adams is a full go like Billy Donovan says, expect him to play somewhere around his usual 28 minutes.

Nerlens Noel ($5,000) and Mike Muscala ($5,300) split minutes at center while Adams sat out on Friday. Although Noel started and was more productive, Muscala saw more of the court. Saturday’s contest will be Noel’s second game back from a six-game hiatus caused by an ankle injury. He’s a better pick than Muscala right now, even if his workload is being monitored.

This isn’t all that surprising news, since Adams wasn’t able to finish Wednesday’s game. With Adams sidelined, we could see Nerlens Noel slide into the starting lineup at center. I’d also think Mike Muscala should see plenty of minutes off the bench. At $4,900, Muscala isn’t a bad value, along with Noel ($5,000) if he’s not limited at all. Still, it’s a tough matchup and this game has a low implied total, so there are better spots to target on the slate on DraftKings.

UPDATE: Jan. 17, 1:41 p.m. — Steven Adams is being listed as questionable for Friday’s game vs. the Heat. Adams left Wednesday’s game after injuring his knee. He was initially removed from the injury report, but is back on there after a show hiatus. He joins Nerlens Noel as the two Thunder bigs who are questionable to play. If both are out, that’ll put the Heat in a very good spot. Bam Adebayo and Derrick Jones Jr. would be the two players to target for Miami in DFS.

UPDATE: Jan. 16, 2:34 p.m. — Adams didn’t practice Thursday and his status for Friday vs. the Miami Heat is in question.

Nerlens Noel will also be re-evaluated along with Adams, so we’ll see if both the frontcourt bigs can play Friday. If both are out, Mike Muscala will have a pretty big role for the Thunder. He’d be a trendy plug-and-play option in season-long.

Oklahoma City Thunder C Steven Adams suffered a knee contusion Wednesday night vs. the Toronto Raptors and was unable to return.

Adams left early in the game and finishes with seven minutes, scoring just two points with two rebounds. Mike Muscala started the second half in place of Adams and is up to 16 minutes, with 12 points and three rebounds so far against the Raptors. Muscala should play the rest of the game at center along with Justin Patton, who is really the only true center on the roster without Adams and Nerlens Noel.