The news on center Nikola Jokic left wrist isn’t great. He is scheduled to miss the next three-to-four games. Head coach Mike Malone stated
“Talking to Nikola, he wants to play right when he can catch the ball,” Malone said. “I think we’ll probably be a little more cautious than that on this road trip, maybe get it looked at again just to kind of see where it’s at once the swelling goes down.”
This whole situation is a bit surprising. It first appeared on the injury report (Thursday) after he played a full game against the Miami Heat. He finished the night scoring 17 points, which also included 14 rebounds, three assists, and one steal. Jokic shot 7-of-11 from the field and 3-of-4 FTs in 24 minutes.
The news on his left wrist became more severe when he was held out of the game against the Rockets (Friday). Jokic mentioned he had trouble moving his wrist.
Nikola Jokic (left wrist sprain) is OUT tonight vs Rockets.
— Harrison Wind (@NBAWind) December 3, 2016
Now that appears to have increased to four games, which correlates to returning against the Washington Wizards on Thursday. He has played great this season and saw his minutes increase before the injury.
On the season, Jokic has been averaging 21.7 minutes, scoring ten points per game, while grabbing seven rebounds and 2.4 assists each contest. Before the injury, Jokic hit double-double in the last two matchups. Facing the Phoenix Suns, 13-points and 11 boards. Against the Heat 17-points and 11-rebounds.
Malone commented on the importance of his forward/center” “Nikola is a big part of what we do, especially with that second unit. His usage rate with that second unit and how often we put the ball in his hands to play through him, we don’t have another guy on our roster like that, especially at the big position.”
Continue to stash Jokic in your fantasy leagues.
In the meantime, the Nuggets will need Jusuf Nurkic to play better. He has been bad Nurkic this season, but the fact he’s averaging just 17.6 minutes over his last five games has a lot to do with why he’s averaging just 7.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 0.6 blocks over that stretch.
The last time he had over 25 minutes was against the Chicago Bulls on the 22nd of November. He was solid with 14 points and 14 rebounds. He needs those minutes to perform up to his capabilities.
For instance, before those last five games, when he has received 25 minutes or more, he is putting up a double-double in three-of-six games. With Nikola Jokic out, it may come apparent if the Denver Nuggets should move Nurkic. These next three-to-four games should be the selling point.
Also, look for Darrell Arthur, Kenneth Faried and Juan Hernangomez getting more playing time.