After winning 15 consecutive games, the Denver Nuggets have lost their last two. If that wasn’t disappointing enough, they received news on Friday afternoon that Ty Lawson, their starting point guard, has a torn plantar fascia in his heel. Lawson has been hampered by the heel injury over the past week, but it won’t require surgery.
The fact that Lawson won’t need surgery is a positive for the Nuggets, but the fact that he will miss games and will most likely be limited when he does play is obviously disconcerting. For a young Nuggets team that thrives off their speed and athleticism, Lawson is the motor that keeps them running.
For the season, the Nuggets have the second fastest pace in the NBA and are a team that thrives off how well they play in transition. Given the fact that Lawson is arguably one of the fastest players in the league, he is obviously a catalyst for their offense and controls the Nuggets’ offense on fast breaks.
Andre Miller will likely take the place of Lawson in the starting-five, which isn’t terrible because Miller is a solid professional point guard. However, Miller doesn’t play with near the same pace as Lawson and brings a completely different set of skills to the table. Miller also doesn’t have near the same scoring prowess that Lawson has.
Many people have been looking at the Nuggets as a team that could sneak through the Western Conference in the playoffs and potentially make the NBA Finals. Without a healthy Lawson running their team, though, that seems exponentially less likely. Lawson does so many positive things for this team that his absence and limitations are going to be greatly felt over the remaining weeks in the regular season and in the postseason.