Yes, the injury infestation (it’s a lot worse than a “bug”) attacked the Nuggets again in Friday night’s eight-point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Ty Lawson sprained his ankle on a fast break, and he’s currently “day to day” with no real timetable for return.
Lawson going down comes on top of a Wilson Chandler groin injury the forward suffered on March 21 in a loss for the Mavericks, and it means both starters were listed as “day to day” with no timetable for return for Sunday night’s game against the Houston Rockets.
The Nuggets only had NINE players in jerseys for the Rockets game, but it’s still time to shut Chandler and Lawson down for the remainder of the season.
Both players have had ongoing issues with that injury infestation this season. Lawson has already missed 15 games due to injury this year, and Chandler has missed 18. In fact, only one Nugget, Mozgov, has been healthy and played in every game this season.
Brian Shaw suggested to the Denver Post that the team isn’t going to rule out the players out for good before Sunday’s game. Saying they won’t rush Lawson back, but if Lawson gets healthy quick and can play, he will.
But, with the injury bug running so rampant on the Nuggets this season, the risk is too high to bring back Chandler or Lawson for the remaining five games. We can’t risk either player further aggravating their injury just for a small win when the Nuggets are already out of the playoffs.
The national media isn’t going to like benching Lawson and Chandler, as four of the remaining games are on national TV. But getting players like Quincy Miller and Evan Fournier big minutes in games against some of the Western Conference best, the Nuggets play Houston again, the Warriors twice, and the Clippers before it’s all over, is worth showing the nation just who Jan Vesley is.
TNT may get a better show than they’re expecting. The “deep bench” played a great game against the Rockets on Sunday, and it was fun to watch! It was fun even though they came up just short in OT, 130-125. The team fought hard for Shaw, and Quincy Miller was already taking advantage of the increased minutes. He finished with 19 points (career high), six rebounds, and four blocks in Sunday night’s game.
Thanks to Miller and Evan Fournier putting up 26 points with some late 3s – the Nuggets even had a 14-point LEAD against the fourth-seeded Rockets (with some help from the Manimal). That kind of “live” practice is a hundred times better than what can be simulated on the Pepsi Center practice court, and the Nuggets sitting Lawson and Chandler assures we get it.
Leaving Lawson and Chandler in suits at the end of the bench is also a good idea because it gives both Lawson and Chandler a head start on their offseason. It means they will have more healthy days to actually get shots up, and it means both players will have a better chance to get through next season purged of any infestation on the court.