Wilson Chandler set to make latest comeback for Denver
Nuggets forward in line to return Sunday against the Golden State Warriors
Wilson Chandler has the comeback thing down.
Now, he’d like to stick around for a while.
Limited to four games this season while recovering from hip surgery, Chandler is set to return to the court Sunday night when the Denver Nuggets face the Golden State Warriors at Pepsi Center.
Chandler, a versatile wing player, came back to Denver last spring after playing in China but appeared in eight games before being sidelined by pain in his left hip. He had surgery to repair a labral tear on April 30 and spent the offseason regaining his strength and mobility.
After returning in time for Denver’s season-opener, Chandler played in only four games before realizing that his hip needed more time to heal.
“It’s tough because you want to do a lot of things your mind tells you to do but your body can’t,” he said after a light workout Saturday. “You just want to go out and play good for the team, for yourself, for the fans.
“People are asking you all the time, ‘What’s wrong? Why aren’t you playing?’ People on the outside really don’t know what’s going on, so people kind of criticize. That’s part of the game.”
Chandler, 25, will be playing for the first since Nov. 12. He believes that the past two months have been essential to putting the injury behind him.
“When I played those couple games at the beginning of the season, I wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t myself,” he said. “Now, I’m just getting my strength back and I feel pretty strong. I think now it’s just getting my wind back. I know (Sunday) I’ll be a little winded. I just have to fight through it.”
Nuggets coach George Karl has been using 10 players in his rotation of late, and Chandler will be an added option for scoring and defense on the wing.
“All of a sudden I have 12, 13 guys that could be on the court,” Karl said. “I don’t think anything is definitive with this team. The depth of this team is its strength and I don’t think anybody should feel secure in their minutes. That’s the way it probably should be.”
That’s fine with Chandler, who doesn’t have a sense of entitlement as he prepares to return.
“I wouldn’t want to come in right away and take somebody’s minutes who’s playing good when I haven’t played all season,” he said. “I wouldn’t want that to happen to me. I’d rather earn it than just have it given to me.”
Chandler, who signed a multiyear contract with Denver last spring, credited the athletic training and strength-and-conditioning staff of Jim Gillen, Steve Hess, Dan Shimensky and Felipe Eichenberger for helping him return to the court. He also gave a nod to the coaching staff for their work.
“Just the whole team, period,” he said. “I’m just appreciative that they stayed with me this long.”
WARRIORS AT NUGGETS
WHEN: 6 p.m. MT
WHERE: Pepsi Center, Denver
TV; RADIO: Altitude; 104.3 FM, AM-950
F Harrison Barnes
F David Lee
C Festus Ezeli
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry
DENVER: Wilson Chandler (hip) is probable.
GOLDEN STATE: Andrew Bogut (ankle) and Brandon Rush (knee) are out.
The Nuggets have gone 15-2 at home against the Warriors since the start of the 2003-04 season (22-10 overal, 7-8 at Oakland) … Denver had not lost a season series against Golden State since the 2002-03 season (0-4) before going 1-2 in 2011-12 … Denver has won at least two games against Golden State in eight of the past nine seasons … The Warriors hold the Pepsi Center record for most points scored by an opponent with 129 in a losing effort against the Nuggets on 11/24/06 (Denver won 140-129) … The Nuggets set a team record with 52 assists at Golden State on 4/21/89.