The Denver Nuggets have been hit hard with injuries at the wrong time but if Kenneth Faried can return from his sprained ankle sooner rather than later, the Nuggets should be able to edge out the Golden State Warriors in the first round.
Faried has been the energy player for the Nuggets all season before he suffered the ankle injury, but he realizes how important he is to Denver’s success. Faried returned to practice lightly Friday, even if it was just running up and down the court.
“I want to get back on the court, so I’m going to push myself to go harder and harder each day,” Faried said.
Although he averaged just a modest 11.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, Faried’s hustle and overall energy level has been a signature of the Nuggets up-and-down style of play. Without Faried, the Nuggets would need to rely on reserve Anthony Randolphmore heavily, and that would be a major drop off in production.
Faried is one of the most impactful players on the Nuggets roster and his presence is needed to combat Golden State’s David Lee, or at least bother him. Faried isn’t particularly good on defense, but he’s enough of a pest to annoy and frustrate Lee throughout the series
If Faried can return at some point in the early stages of the series it would be a huge plus for the Nuggets. Denver has a major home court advantage so they won’t need Faried for the first two games, but they will miss his presence dearly on the road if he is unable to return.