Faster than ever, Corey Brewer runs free for Nuggets

Denver forward feeling great four years after ACL surgery
by Aaron Lopez

At 26, Nuggets forward Corey Brewer isn’t old enough to remember Lee Majors starring as Steve Austin in The Six Million Dollar Man.

He certainly would appreciate the voiceover in the show’s title sequence:

“Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better...stronger...faster."

Four years removed from tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, Brewer is running the floor as well as he has in his first five NBA seasons.

“I feel like I’m faster,” he said after practice Sunday. “I might be faster and jump higher. They do miracles now. It used to be ACL surgery (meant) it was over for you. Now, you come back stronger.”

Brewer, who tore his ACL one month into the 2008-09 season, has been running past people in Denver’s first two preseason games. He scored 40 points on 15-of-21 shooting and ranked third in the NBA in scoring average entering Sunday’s games.

No one is expecting Brewer to average 20 points a game in 2012-13, but he will be called upon to play good defense, run the open court and knock down three-pointers from the corner.

“Corey’s a really interesting player,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “He’s a player that both coaches sometimes are scared of. Sometimes it gets a little too crazy, but I love him. I think he’s very important to our basketball team.”

With a sleek 6-foot-9, 188-pound frame, Brewer is built like a Greyhound. He causes problems with his quick feet and long armspan. Once in the open court, he believes he can beat anyone down the court – including his fleet-footed teammate Ty Lawson.

“Don’t let Ty think he’s the fastest guy on the court,” Brewer said with a smile. “I always feel like I’m the fastest guy on the court, no matter what. When I get out and run, I feel I can outrun people.”

The Nuggets have been doing a good job getting out in the open court, but Karl would like to see them take better care of the ball; Denver has committed 51 turnovers in two games.

“Our turnovers are driving me crazy,” Karl said. “(Sunday) was the first day we really addressed it. I think we’ll get our offense tuned up. We’re scoring a reasonable amount of points, even though I don’t think our efficiency is very good. It’s early in exhibition season. You’re just trying to figure out where you have to go to get better.”

The next opportunity to improve comes Monday night when the Nuggets play their first home preseason game against the Golden State Warriors.

“We’re trying to win every game, no matter if it’s preseason or not preseason,” Brewer said. “We’re trying to get our stuff together, get our offense and defense going. It’s always good to win but we’ve got to play better.”

Karl said veteran point guard Andre Miller will not play against Golden State, while forward Wilson Chandler (hip) and guard Julyan Stone (hip) also are out.

Second-year forward Jordan Hamilton did not play Friday against San Antonio, but Karl said he will probably see more minutes as the preseason goes along.

“I gave Evan (Fournier) the (San Antonio) game, not Jordan,” Karl said. “I might put Corey in the bullpen one time and give more minutes to Jordan and Evan.”