The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

The writ­ing on the wall showed it­self Thurs­day. Nikola Jokic would not be able to play Fri­day night be­cause of a left wrist sprain. It’s an in­jury that the team doesn’t fully know the ex­tent of while swelling is sub­sid­ing, but hopes doesn’t put the promis­ing big man out for a long pe­riod of time.

“Right now they are list­ing it as a day-to-day in­jury, as the swelling goes out of it,” coach Michael Malone said. “(Thurs­day) he came in and couldn’t move it. Same thing for (Fri­day). So we’ll see how it looks go­ing for­ward. I’m keep­ing my fin­gers crossed that it’s not a long-term in­jury. Be­cause he is a big part of what we’re try­ing to do and who we’re try­ing to be.”

Jokic has al­ready had a roller­coaster sea­son, and it’s barely get­ting to the quar­ter pole. He en­tered train­ing camp as the pro­jected starter at cen­ter. He was dis­placed there by Jusuf Nur­kic, who played his way into the start­ing cen­ter spot, and was moved to start­ing power for­ward.

Af­ter a few slug­gish per­for­mances, Jokic was moved to the bench in fa­vor of Ken­neth Faried. But that’s where things be­gan turn­ing around. Jokic grad­u­ally played bet­ter in a re­serve role, and back at cen­ter, where he turned heads last sea­son as a rookie.

In the two games lead­ing up to Fri­day night’s game against Hous­ton, Jokic recorded back-to-back dou­ble-dou­bles and av­er­aged 15.0 points on 52.6 per­cent shoot­ing, 12.5 re­bounds and 3.0 as­sists.

More­over, the Nuggets were get­ting com­fort­able run­ning of­fense through Jokic again, and he was mak­ing plays.

“Any­time you lose a player like Nikola Jokic, it’s a big loss,” Malone said. “We play through him a lot. His last two games he’s got back-to-back dou­ble­dou­bles, and not many guys can du­pli­cate what he brings to the

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