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Paul George, James Harden, Khris Middleton headline NBA injury report for Saturday, Dec. 18

We take a look at the injury report in the NBA for Saturday’s slate.

Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Clippers
Paul George of the LA Clippers sits on the bench during play against the Boston Celtics in the second quarter at Staples Center on December 08, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The NBA continues Saturday with seven games on the schedule, but the league is amidst a COVID outbreak unlike previous ones. Several big names, including Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden, have been ruled out due to the league’s health and safety protocols over the last few days to add to the strain of other injuries on teams. Here’s a look at Saturday’s injury report in the association.

NBA Injury Report, December 18th

Houston Rockets vs. Detroit Pistons

Christian Wood (knee), questionable

Wood has been Houston’s most productive player. He’s struggled to get past this latest injury, but the Rockets need him to have a chance in this game. Houston will also view him as a strong trade chip as the deadline approaches.

New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics

Derrick Rose (ankle), OUT, RJ Barrett (protocols), TBD, Obi Toppin (protocols) TBD

Update - Rose has been ruled out of Saturday’s game. Kemba Walker is getting the start for the Knicks.

The Knicks are dealing with some COVID issues themselves, as Barrett and Toppin are in the protocols. Rose is dealing with an ankle issue, so New York could be thin in the backcourt as well for this game.

Orlando Magic vs. Brooklyn Nets

Kevin Durant (protocols), OUT; Patty Mills (rest), OUT; James Harden (protocols) TBD; Kyrie Irving (protocols) OUT

Update - The Nets’ plan to bring Kyrie Irving back as a part-time player has blown up already. The point guard got put in the league’s health and safety protocols less than 24 hours since the news of his return broke. As an unvaccinated player, he’s out for 10 days if he had a positive test. The Nets have also placed Durant in the protocols, although he was already slated to be rested for Saturday’s game.

The Nets have decided to give Durant and Mills the night off as the team continues to struggle with COVID issues. Harden is still in the league’s health and safety protocols. The Nets did decide Kyrie Irving could be a part-time player but he’s not eligible to play in this game because he hasn’t completed the process of returning to the team yet.

Wendell Carter Jr. (leg), OUT; Cole Anthony (ankle), OUT

Carter suffered the leg injury in Friday’s game against the Hawks, so he’s out. Anthony was ruled out of Friday’s contest and will also miss Saturday’s game against the Nets.

Golden State Warriors vs. Toronto Raptors

Jordan Poole (protocols) TBD; Stephen Curry (rest), OUT; Draymond Green (hip), OUT; Andrew Wiggins (knee), OUT

Poole has been a vital piece for the Warriors this year and is a candidate for Most Improved Player. He’s in the league’s protocols, so he’s likely out for this game. The Warriors will also rest their veterans ahead of this game, with the Curry-Wiggins-Green trio headlining that contingent.

OG Anunoby (hip), AVAILABLE, Pascal Siakam (protocols) OUT

Update - Siakam has entered the league’s health and safety protocols and will miss Saturday’s game.

Update - Anunoby will make his return to the court Saturday against the Warriors.

Anunoby has been sidelined for a while with a hip issue, but this designation suggests he’s closer to returning. That’s a good sign for the Raptors, who are really hurting without the two-way forward.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Paul George (elbow), OUT; Nic Batum (ankle), AVAILABLE

Update - George has been ruled out of Saturday’s game.

Update - George is not expected to play in this game, while Batum is on track to take the floor.

The Clippers small forward has been dealing with this issue for a while. The team listing him as questionable instead of ruling him out immediately suggests George is recovering from the injury.

Other injuries: Lu Dort (ankle), questionable

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo (protocols), TBD; Donte DiVincenzo (protocols), TBD; Khris Middleton (knee), OUT, Jrue Holiday (rest)

Update - The Bucks seem to be holding Holiday out on the second game of a back-to-back after the guard played 44 minutes last night.

Update - Middleton has been ruled out for Saturday’s game against the Cavaliers.

Antetokounmpo and DiVincenzo could test out of the protocols at any point, although the latter is reportedly unvaccinated and would be out until Christmas day if that was the case. Middleton, meanwhile, is dealing with a knee issue. He was ruled out of Friday’s game.

Evan Mobley (protocols), OUT

Update - Mobley, who was already questionable with a hip injury, got placed in the league’s health and safety protocols. He’s out for this game and depending on why he’s in the protocols, it could be longer.

Mobley, the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year according to DraftKings Sportsbook, is dealing with a hip problem. The big man has been pivotal in Cleveland’s rise this season and will hope to take the floor against a vulnerable Bucks unit.

Washington Wizards vs. Utah Jazz

Mike Conley (rest), OUT

The Jazz are being cautious with the point guard, who has a history of injuries and still hasn’t completely recovered from some of the nagging pain that hindered him in last year’s postseason. For Utah to make the Finals, Conley has to be at 100 percent in the big games.