Nuggets Briefs MUDIAY BACK IN ACTION? “THANK GOODNESS”
orlando, fla.» Emmanuel Mudiay returned to the Nuggets’ starting lineup without any restrictions for Saturday night’s game against the Orlando Magic after a onegame absence to nurse a sprained ankle.
“He’s fine. He went through shootaround,” coach Michael Malone said. “He will play (against the Magic). Thank goodness.”
But it was a brief reprise from the injuries that have plagued the Nuggets this season. Leading scorer Wilson Chandler was a late scratch Saturday because of a sore right hip.
Despite the temporary setback involving Chandler, the Nuggets are slowly becoming whole.
Malone said before the road trip there was potential for Gary Harris to begin practicing by the end of the trip. It’s still unlikely that Harris will play in Monday’s finale, but Malone said he hopes Harris will return to action soon after the Nuggets get back to Denver. Harris warmed up for the team Saturday during shootaround and before the game.
Point guard Jameer Nelson, meanwhile, has stepped up and played well. He was averaging 9.7 points and 4.6 assists per game while making 38.3 percent of his 3-pointers before Saturday. That included scoring 10 points and dishing out eight assists as a starter in Thursday’s loss at Washington.
His steadiness has helped the Nuggets stay balanced as they fight through injuries.
“Jameer has been terrific,” Malone said. “I have been playing him probably more minutes than I should, but he has been that impactful for us. Jameer has been one of our more consistent backcourt players. With so many young players, that has been really important for us.”
Denver stayed the night after Thursday’s game in Washington, affording the team the opportunity to see the monuments along the National Mall.
Malone said he did a similar excursion when he was the coach with Sacramento, to remind his players there is more than basketball on these road trips.
“It’s a little different,” Nelson said. “Something you don’t see too often. You have to be very appreciative of what we did (as a nation) and what went on. Some guys got a lot out of it. That is the most important thing.”
The Nuggets visited the many monuments for some photo opportunities before heading to the airport and flying to Orlando.