The Denver Nuggets were the most injured team in the NBA last season after players missed a combined 170 games due to being hurt. It was as big a factor as any in the team finishing 10 games under .500, and missing the playoffs.Regaining their health will be a huge factor in the Nuggets returning to the playoffs in the 2014-15 season.
The injuries were serious enough that they could hurt the 2014-15 playoff race though. They consisted of ACL tears, stress factors, high ankle sprains — the things that don’t recover overnight.
There is some serious risk head coach Brian Shaw would head into training camp missing a significant part of his core as JaVale McGee, J.J. Hickson, Nate Robinson, and Danilo Gallinari all suffered “season ending injuries,” that often take more than a year to recover from.
The tide may have finally turned though. Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post obtained some offseason injury updates for us today, and things are looking great. Gallinari, Robinson, Hickson, AND McGee are all slated to be healthy and ready for the start of training camp. Even Quincy Miller, who got hurt in the summer league, is recovering quick enough for a healthy training camp start.
The injured #Nuggets: JaVale McGee, J.J. Hickson, Danilo Gallinari, Nate Robinson are still on track to be ready for camp.
— Chris Dempsey (@dempseypost) August 6, 2014
It feels absolutely surreal to write that sentence. The Nuggets are slated to have a full, healthy, and ready roster for the start of the 2014-15 season. I’ve had to mention injuries so much in these past few months it feels like a requirement to cover the injuries in any Nuggets story.
Now we’re looking like we can cover the chemistry, and finally see what this talented group can do together.
*Knocks on wood…. nine times* *gives standing ovation to the Nuggets training staff*
Of course, the offseason is a long way from over, and we still have star forward Kenneth Faried battling for a roster spot on the U.S. national team. However, unless something crazy happens, the Nuggets will be at full force! Brian Shaw will really get to test out his “wear em’ out, wear em’ down” gameplan, and Nuggets nation will be finally be able to see if the Carmelo Anthony trade will lead to some playoff wins.
Playoff teams always suffer injuries, and I’m not saying they’ll be healthy all season. It’s clear these players won’t be rushed into 40 minute roles right away either.
Starting training camp healthy also sets the Nuggets up for an exciting training camp. JaVale McGee will have to earn that starting spot against Timofey Mozgov, and his health will give him that chance. J.J. Hickson will need to fight for his playing time back against a loaded front court that not only includes Faried, but also European rookie Jusuf Nurkic – and we’ll get to watch it all knowing the team has no one is wasting away in a suit on the sidelines.