Journal-Advocate (Sterling)

Nuggets’ Bones Hyland finally healthy

- By Mike Singer

The last time Bones Hyland suited up was more than a week ago. Even then, it would’ve been inaccurate to call him healthy.

“I couldn’t breathe on the floor,” Hyland said of last Tuesday’s loss to Detroit, when he managed only nine minutes before calling for a sub.

Since then, Hyland’s missed Denver’s last three games (all wins) prior to Wednesday night while battling a nasty NON-COVID illness. When Hyland went to the bench the night it hit him, he said he immediatel­y felt chills and knew he shouldn’t be out there.

More than a week later, after hardly leaving his bed, Hyland said from shootaroun­d that he was healthy and intended to play in Wednesday’s clash against Houston.

“It feels good to be back,” he said.

That’s 15 points and 3.6 assists per game that the Nuggets hadn’t had, and perhaps more importantl­y, a key adhesive to Denver’s bench unit. In the last three games prior to Wednesday night, Bruce

Brown has helped usher both units while averaging a team-high 37.1 minutes per game.

Hyland’s most recent illness piggybacke­d on a COVID case that kept him out two games earlier this month. In his absence, both Brown and Ish Smith, who returned recently from a calf strain, have been lifesavers.

“That’s my guy,” Hyland said of Smith. “He old, but he get it done.”

Smith racked up 10 points and eight assists in Monday’s rout of the Rockets.

While sick, Hyland said he spent most of his time sleeping. He said his legs hurt, his head was sore and his nose wouldn’t stop running. In another indication of how bad it was, Hyland joked his video game usage was cut from his typical four hours to just one hour of gaming.

Hyland said it hurt him watching from afar as he wasn’t able to contribute to their three-game winning streak. Back at shootaroun­d with his team, Hyland’s relief was palpable.

“Feeling great,” he said. “Feeling ready to play basketball.”

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