Fantasy Basketball Injury Analysis: Clint Capela

3 min read

There is a lot for fantasy GMs to unpack when a player is injured. We need to not only understand the severity of the injury, how long they might be out, but also restrictions in their play once they return. For dynasty GMs, we need to understand how this injury may affect them long term.

We are lucky to have, Dr. Rajpal Brar on board and providing injury analysis with his medical expertise. This video is concerning Houston Rockets Center Clint Capella and his thumb injury and surgery. Take a look.

Initial Notes

As Raj points out, the thumb is complex, with a lot of variations on what can be injured. While the exact injury was difficult to pinpoint, he notes that the 4-6 week timetable to return is an obvious positive for Capela, the Rockets, and his Fantasy GMs, as it would indicate a more straightforward injury. This is in contrast to the one that Valanciunas experienced.

The other important note made by Dr. Brar, was that due to the Rockets’ struggles, it may encourage a quicker return for Capela, and bring with it all of the positives and negatives of a quick return. They’ve gone a reasonable 3-2 since Capela’s injury, but have needed outlandish performances from Harden to get there. They’re currently sitting at 5th in the West, but it’s a tight race and Houston could be on the outside in the blink of an eye.

Moving Forward

Capela has progressed nicely and in his 5th year, seemed to really hit his stride, offering nice points (17.6), great boards (12.5) and blocks (1.9), along with dominant FG% (63.1%). He had a couple of huge games this season, including, oddly enough, a pair of 29 and 21 performances. His points and boards have gone up, while his FG% has slipped a little, due to the increased role offensively.

While the free throw shooting is still a liability, he’s above 60% for the first time in his career. If DeAndre Jordan can learn to shoot free throws, we wouldn’t put it past Clint to make strides. Its fair to wonder if the thumb injury would have an effect on his shooting, but I think the real test will be when he’s in the paint taking contact and yamming a dunk. He should be back to his old self well in time for the fantasy playoffs, so hopefully, you have an IR spot to stash him or can take the hit and stay in contention. If you do not have such luxuries, you can always tap one of the top teams and see if you can swap him out for immediate help.

Long Term Outlook

We don’t have any specific history of thumb injuries having a major long-term effect on an NBA player, so I don’t have any long term concerns for Capela. He’s played at an all-star level this season and is the defensive backbone for this team. Hopefully, you can weather this injury storm, or at least place him on IR. You may have to fend off the ruthless GMs looking to take advantage, but you need to hold him unless you get top 30 value in return. His production + team role + youth make him an extremely valuable asset in dynasty leagues.

The Manimal has performed well since signing, going for 11 and 8 with 3 steals and 3 blocks in his last game. As well as he’s played so far, he’s a journeyman at this point, and isn’t able to cover up the defensive liabilities of Harden like Capela can. He’s simply a plugin for temporary help. I like the potential of young big men Isiaih Hartenstein and Zhou Qi, but they are both pretty much on the project side of development. This should be Capela’s job for the foreseeable future. Keep riding him as a top tier center that can give you a top 20 return, and top 10 if you punt free throws.