Faried plays e≠ec­tively af­ter “very scary” time

Nuggets for­ward goes from hos­pi­tal to start­ing lineup

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Christopher Dempsey Christopher Dempsey: cdempsey@den­ver­post.com or twit­ter.com/dempsey­post

When Sun­day night’s game against Port­land started, Ken­neth Faried was where he al­ways was, in the Nuggets’ start­ing lineup. He smiled while dunk­ing in the layup line. He bounced around in typ­i­cal “Man­i­mal” fash­ion.

And then he went out and scored 13 points and grabbed nine re­bounds in a 112-106 loss.

Less than 24 hours ear­lier, though, Faried was im­mo­bi­lized on a stretcher at Or­a­cle Arena in Oak­land, Calif., where an in­ad­ver­tent hit to the back of the neck by team­mate Will Bar­ton re­sulted in a cer­vi­cal in­jury.

Even though it was clear Faried had move­ment in all of his ex­trem­i­ties, ev­ery pre­cau­tion was taken to make sure he would be OK. Faried was ad­mit­ted to an Oak­land-area hos­pi­tal and stayed the night.

“It was very scary,” Faried told The Den­ver Post. “I just kept con­tem­plat­ing — pray­ing — that I wasn’t really hurt to where I wasn’t go­ing to be able to walk again. It was one of those types of things that they kept say­ing they had to do cer­tain stuff and ev­ery­thing was pre­cau­tion­ary. I was like, ‘I’m good, just let me up, just let me try to walk.’ They kept say­ing no be­cause of the spot I got hit at. But due to the bless­ings of Al­lah, I was able to play.”

Faried flew home Sun­day morn­ing and said he knew shortly af­ter he ar­rived at the Pepsi Cen­ter for Sun­day night’s game that he would try to play.

“My team­mates looked at me and said: ‘We need you. If you can go, then please help us, and if not we understand,’ ” Faried said. “My coaches and ev­ery­body — coach­ing staff, front-of­fice peo­ple — were just ask­ing me if I can go. I’m cut from a dif­fer­ent cloth, you know? I’ve been through a lot in my life, and I just knew if I could go I was go­ing to go. So, I was able to go.”

He played 27 min­utes. Six of his nine re­bounds came on the of­fen­sive glass.

Asked how he felt, Faried said, “Sore, scared.”

“I took some hits in the same spot,” Faried said. “I don’t think it was in­ten­tional. But I just kept try­ing, kept giv­ing it a go.”

Nuggets for­ward Ken­neth Faried in­di­cates to fans Satur­day night in Oak­land, Calif., that he is OK as he is wheeled out on a stretcher. Marcio Jose Sanchez, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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