Chris Andersen eyes return during Thanksgiving week

'Birdman' ready to bring his rebouning, energy back to the lineup

Turkey week could be punctuated by the return of Birdman.

Nuggets forward Chris Andersen went through a full practice Sunday and could make his season debut Monday at Golden State. Andersen, who is listed as "probable," has not played since having surgery in late-May to repair a partially torn patella tendon in his right knee.

“My knee’s doing really well,” Andersen said Saturday. “I’m ecstatic about coming back. It’s been a long time waiting and I’m just trying to be optimistic and realistic at the same time.”

If Andersen is unable to “get the dust off” against Golden State, he could return Friday at home against the Chicago Bulls.

“We’re hoping that he’ll play next week,” Nuggets coach George Karl said before Denver's victory over New Jersey on Saturday. “We’re practicing (Sunday) and we’ll practice Tuesday because of that. Hopefully our Thanksgiving present will be Birdman back in the lineup.”

The Nuggets have been outrebounded in nine of their 13 games and could use the 6-foot-10 Andersen’s size, energy and shot-blocking in the lineup. Nene (6-11) is the only Denver player taller than 6-9 who averages more than 15 minutes per game. Andersen averaged a career-high 6.4 rebounds and 1.88 blocks last season.

Like Andersen, forward Kenyon Martin has been sidelined all season while recovering from knee surgery. His recovery is going well but there is no specific timetable for his return.

Aaron Lopez
Aaron J. Lopez is the primary writer for, providing behind-the-scenes content, including feature stories and video for the site. Before joining the Nuggets in 2009, he spent 15 years covering Colorado sports for the Rocky Mountain News and the Associated Press. Follow him on twitter @Lopez_Nuggets. Aaron's full bio...