The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

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.

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