Faced with injuries, Nuggets evaluate options in backcourt

Denver limited without guards Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson
by Aaron Lopez

With starting point guard Ty Lawson day-to-day with a strained rotator cuff and reserve guard Nate Robinson sidelined by a sprained knee ligament, the Denver Nuggets are evaluating their options in the backcourt.

If Lawson can’t play Friday against the Toronto Raptors, shooting guard Randy Foye likely would handle duties at the point alongside second-year swingman Evan Fournier. The two combined for 52 points in Wednesday’s 101-98 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.

“I was impressed with the fact that Evan was ready to play and I thought he did a pretty good job while he was out there,” Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said Thursday. “Randy as well. He scored the ball at a good clip. That’s what it’s going to take.

“It’s going to take a lot of different contributions from a lot of different people. If you’re out there on the floor and you’re getting an opportunity, I don’t care if our point guard has to play the center spot, we’re not going to make any excuses. We’re still going to try to get it done.”

Lawson reported improvement in his shoulder but remains a game-time decision for Friday’s game. Foye, who started his NBA career as a point guard with the Minnesota Timberwolves, is willing to run the offense until Lawson returns.

“Even when he’s back, I’m going to try to play the same way,” Foye said. “I feel as though we put a lot on him. He’s a smaller guy. With my strength and my height, some of those hits that he’s taking, I probably could take some of those hits to help him out.”

If Lawson’s injury lingers longer than expected, Shaw didn’t rule out the possibility of activating veteran Andre Miller, who has been away from the team since Jan. 2 for personal reasons.

“I’ve always said that I can coach any player that is willing to play and do what’s best for the team overall,” Shaw said. “If he’s willing to do what’s best for the team overall, I’m willing to coach him. I’ve said that before; I’m saying it again.”

With several players dealing with various aches and pains, the Nuggets (22-22) watched film Thursday and did some light shooting drills as they prepared to close the month against the Raptors (24-21). Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at Pepsi Center.