Denver Nuggets’ center JaVale McGee will be out for an indefinite amount of time after suffering a stress fracture in his left tibia.
It was clearly noticeable that there was something wrong with the center as he was having a lot of trouble doing things he’s usually able to do regularly, like contesting shots and forcing his way into the paint. Now, the Nuggets have clarified his situation after declaring his injury status.
It’s still early in the season and while it’s not clear when the big man will be able to return to the court, his absence will clearly hurt the team.
Despite being usually attacked due to some inappropriate behavior on the hardwood, McGee was clearly the best option to start at center. He’s a threat on the defensive end of the ball and even though he’s still not a finished product at attacking the basket, he has the potential to produce on a consistent basis. His poor numbers to start the year (seven points and three rebounds per game) don’t tell the whole story as the injury might have been the reason behind his slow start.
With him sidelined, the Nuggets will be forced to start Russian center Timofey Mozgov in his place. While Mozgov is a solid presence inside that can score a few baskets and pull down rebounds, he’s clearly a downgrade in comparison to McGee. Mozgov is shooting around 58 percent from the field in Denver’s first games, but it remains to be seen if he’ll be able to maintain his numbers with an increased playing time.
This situation will only increase pressure on second-year forward Kenneth Faried, who will now be the most reliable options for Denver to get points in the paint. With Danilo Gallinari still out recovering from an ACL injury, McGee’s absence leaves Ty Lawson and Faried as the only reliable scoring threats in a team that didn’t start the season the way they wanted.
The only hope for Denver is that both McGee and Galinari can return sooner rather than later to the hardwood. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long season for Nuggets fans.