Faried set to return for Nuggets in Game 2 against Warriors
Power forward missed three games while recovering from sprained left ankle
Seven days of spectating was about seven days too many for Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried.
After missing three games – including Denver’s playoff opener – with a sprained ankle, Faried pronounced himself ready to return for Game 2 Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors.
“You can’t sit me out that long,” Faried said before the team’s film session Sunday. “I get frustrated. I get mad and start getting a hissy fit.”
Faried, Denver’s leading rebounder during the regular season, sprained his left ankle on April 14. He ran the court on the eve of the playoff opener and was in uniform Saturday but did not play in the Nuggets’ 97-95 victory.
“I could’ve played, but they wanted me to sit out no matter what, no matter how anxious or how exciting or how interesting the game was,” he said. “They wanted me to just sit out and rest and be ready that much more for Tuesday.”
Without Faried, the Nuggets were outrebounded by the Warriors 55-45 and gave up 16 second-chance points. They lost the battle of the boards only 24 times during the regular season.
“That can’t be happening,” Faried said. “It’s playoff basketball and that’s one of the biggest keys. You need to secure rebounds and lock the ball down and make sure we can start our break and have that fun and flair that the Nuggets play.”
Wilson Chandler has been starting in Faried’s absence, with the Nuggets winning all three games. Faried said he will come off the bench if that’s what is best for the team.
“I just want to play,” he said. “As long as I’m on the court, it doesn’t matter. My teammates have faith in me. The training staff is really helping me. Jim Gillen and Dan (Shimensky) are really helping me get my ankle a lot better and stronger.”
While Faried is poised to return, the Warriors announced Sunday that All-Star power forward David Lee will miss the remainder of the playoffs after tearing his right hip flexor in the fourth quarter of Game 1.
Lee fell awkwardly when he was fouled with 11:34 remaining in the game. He made one of two free throws but immediately grabbed his hip as he turned to run back on defense.
“To see anybody go down like that is terrible,” Faried said. “I hope he makes s full recovery. He’s an NBA player and you don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”
Lee was in the only player in the NBA to average at least 18 points and 11 rebounds during the regular season. Golden State used reserves Draymond Green and Carl Landry in his place down the stretch Saturday.
“I feel bad for the kid,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “The kid had an incredible year.”
Faried, who averaged 11.5 points and 11.3 rebounds in four games against Golden State during the regular season, also lamented the fact that his head-to-head battle with Lee would have to resume in 2013-14.
"He is an All-Star and I tend to have a chip on my shoulder about that, because I think I'm able to be an All-Star one day,” he said. “It would’ve been exciting in the playoffs because he was playing at a high pace, and I would have stepped up my game that much more – not just because it's the playoffs but because I'm going against an All-Star-caliber player.”