FARIED JUST RARING TO RE­TURN

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

Ken­neth Faried inched his way through the locker room, his legs locked like he was walk­ing on stilts. A gri­mace took over the face of the Nuggets for­ward, the sear­ing pain ev­i­dent with each step.

Faried’s lower back had locked up dur­ing a game against Brook­lyn on Feb. 24, and he knew after the game he had a prob­lem.

“It was some of the worst pain I ever felt,” said Faried, who re­turned to ac­tion Thurs­day night against the Clip­pers after a ninegame ab­sence. “I’m just happy to be able to walk and jump and do the nor­mal things like sit down nor­mally. I’m glad to be able to do a light sprint or a jog and not have to worry about my back flar­ing up. I’m happy to be able to do those lit­tle things. You never know what can hap­pen, and you take those for granted un­til some­thing like that hap­pens.”

Faried has dealt with back is­sues at dif­fer­ent points through­out his six-year ca­reer, but the spasms this time around were more se­vere. He con­tin­ued to play after he first felt his back act­ing up against Brook­lyn. Once he fi­nally came off the court and rested, his back locked up and any move­ment brought pain.

That made the re­cov­ery process slow and de­lib­er­ate. Faried re­turned to the court in a lim­ited fash­ion late last week and went through his first live prac­tice with the team Wed­nes­day. He was glad to dis­cover there was lit­tle pain when he woke Thurs­day, though he wasn’t sure what to ex­pect when he re­turned to the court.

“We’re go­ing to see what hap­pens,” he said. “I’m just ex­cited to be on the floor again and be able to walk.”

Nuggets coach Michael Malone said he would mon­i­tor Faried’s min­utes but he’s glad to have the for­ward back. The Nuggets have missed Faried’s pres­ence on the boards. Den­ver led the NBA with 12.7 of­fen­sive re­bounds per game be­fore his in­jury. Since Faried went down the Nuggets have been 19th in the league at 9.3 per game.

Rare rest for Jor­dan. The Clip­pers rested big men DeAn­dre Jor­dan and Blake Grif­fin against the Nuggets, leav­ing both play­ers in Los Angeles.

It was the first game Jor­dan has missed this sea­son.

“I didn’t pose it as a ques­tion,” Clip­pers coach Doc Rivers said of rest­ing the two play­ers. “I thought Blake and ‘DJ’ han­dled it re­ally well.”

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