Nuggets welcome the return of point guard Ty Lawson

Denver went 1-8 after losing floor leader to fractured rib
by Aaron Lopez

Spirits were high Monday as the Denver Nuggets went through their morning shootaround.

In a directly related story, starting point guard Ty Lawson planned to make his return to the lineup against the Minnesota Timberwolves after missing nine games with a fractured rib.

“It seemed to have lit up everybody on the team,” Denver coach Brian Shaw said. “Everybody’s looking forward to getting him out there. Having that speed and their floor leader hopefully will inject some positives and energy that we sorely need.”

Lawson, averaging a team-leading 18 points and 8.8 assists, injured his rib late in the first half of Denver’s game at Detroit on Feb. 8. The Nuggets are 1-8 since then.

Asked the toughest part of being injured, Lawson said: “Just not being out there helping my teammates, seeing them struggle a little bit. There’s nothing I could do. That was the hardest part. I couldn’t do anything to help them.”

Lawson has been a limited participant in practices and shootarounds of late, but he has yet to go through full contact in scrimmages. He plans to wear a protective vest around his ribs.

“I come off ball screens, pick-and-rolls and everything,” he said. “I’m just trying not to get injured by getting hit again.”

With the Nuggets sliding out of the playoff picture, Lawson said he never considered sitting out the rest of the season.

“You don’t want to sit there and not play,” he said. “I want to be out there just giving it everything I’ve got.”

Shaw said he would insert Lawson back into the starting lineup and bring Aaron Brooks off the bench. After recent injuries to Lawson and forward Darrell Arthur and Wilson Chandler, Denver will finally have 12 players available.

“We go from not having anybody to almost having a full complement of players,” Shaw said. “Feels different. It’s nice to have some options.”