The Denver Nuggets received some horrible new they really didn’t want to hear with only nine games to go in the NBA regular season — Ty Lawson has a plantar fascia tear in his right heel and is out versus the Brooklyn Nets, and probably longer. The Nuggets will have to win their 18th straight at the Pepsi Center without their clutch player.
He is day-to-day and the good news is he won’t have to have surgery. The bad news is that this is the same injury Pau Gasol missed six weeks with. There are different degrees of a tear so the severity could be less, but it’s still not something the team needs leading into the playoffs.
The Nuggets lost to the Nets on February 13, 119-108, but Danilo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala were both out. These two players will need to step up to make up for the absence of Lawson.
Lawson was on the bench for the game-winning opportunity last game against the San Antonio Spurs, watching as Andre Miller missed a shot as time expired. This team needs a healthy Lawson back desperately for the playoffs.
However, if he misses the regular season to get some healing time, do the Nuggets still have a chance at the third seed?
The Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers have more games and more road games to play than Denver, so hopefully they struggle to win too. The Nuggets have to play some tough teams down the homestretch, and gaining home-court advantage without Lawson is easier said than done.
Big games will be needed from Kosta Koufos and Kenneth Faried as the starters have been struggling the last few games to do any damage.
Without Lawson, the Nuggets are a completely different team. He helps keep the pace up, opens the lane and gives shooters better looking shots. It’s not to say the team cannot win without him, but it’s just a lot easier with him on the floor. He makes the overall flow of the game more enjoyable to watch if you’re a Nuggets fan, and can be that player to win a game with one shot.