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Shootaround: vs. Nuggets

By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer

Updates from Monday’s shootaround in the New Orleans Arena, as the Hornets (24-46) prepared to face the streaking Denver Nuggets (49-22, winners of 15 straight):

• Unfortunately, there is more negative news on the injury front for the Hornets, with Greivis Vasquez (ankle) being ruled out of action for tonight’s game. Vasquez has been bothered recently by his ankle and seemed to tweak it again during Sunday’s practice. As a result, normal backup Brian Roberts will make his second career NBA start at point guard. Vasquez and Roberts are the team’s only true point guards, meaning Monty Williams must improvise. Williams said it is possible Terrel Harris and Darius Miller will see some time at point guard when Roberts rests. Harris and Miller are both used most frequently at shooting guard and small forward, respectively.

• With Vasquez out, it means New Orleans is back to having just 12 available players. Jason Smith is out for the season, while Austin Rivers also likely will not play again in 2012-13. Based on a projected starting group Monday vs. Denver of Roberts, Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Anthony Davis and Robin Lopez, the seven bench players are Harris, Miller, Ryan Anderson, Lou Amundson, Roger Mason, Lance Thomas and Xavier Henry.

• Denver lists Wilson Chandler and Ty Lawson as day-to-day on its injury report, but Williams said he expects both players to play. Neither player has appeared in a game since last Tuesday’s outstanding victory at Oklahoma City.

• Anderson on one key against the up-tempo Nuggets: “Getting back in transition. When we shoot the ball, we need to have at least three guys run back. That’s kind of what we were working on today. We need to really get the team down the court, because that’s what (Denver likes) to do. Once they secure the rebound, they all just take off and go to the rim. That’s something we can have a conscious effort of stopping.”