SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 20: The Denver Nuggets celebrate on the court during the game against the Sacramento Kings on November 20, 2017 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.
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Nuggets Notes: Chandler '95 Percent' Certain He'll Suit Up in Houston

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider

Wilson Chandler missed Monday’s game at Sacramento with a sore lower back, but is confident he’ll play on Wednesday night in Houston.

“Yeah, it’s just a sore back,” he said. “Just wanted to get a couple of days of rest. I’m like 95 percent sure I’ll play in Houston.”

It was Chandler’s first missed game this season. The Nuggets starting small forward has been on a hot streak of late with averages of 14.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists in his last four games. He’s shooting 54 percent from the field in that span.

Chandler said the injury wasn’t suffered all at once. It’s been wearing down for the last two weeks.

“It’s been accumulating,” Chandler said. “It’s been pretty sore for a couple of weeks now.”

But he aims to play against the Rockets. The Nuggets had the day off on Tuesday, following back-to-back games, so Chandler’s first chance to test his back out will be during shootaround on Wednesday morning.

Vocal Jokić: On Monday night during the Nuggets’ win at Sacramento, Nikola Jokic was as active as ever. The 16 points and 14 rebounds is production the team has come to expect from its standout center. But he added a heightened level of leadership to the equation as well.

The Nuggets were without coach Michael Malone (suspension) and injured starters Paul Millsap and Wilson Chandler. Jokić stepped in as a primary voice on the court and in huddles. And he explained why, in typical Jokić fashion.

“I just wanted to wake up the guys,” Jokić said. “I think that we were, in the warmup, were a little bit like, sleepy. So, I just started yelling whatever. Whatever words I know in English.”

Millsap update: The Nuggets remain hopeful that Paul Millsap’s injury absence won’t be a lengthy one. The prized free agent signee, who starts at power forward, missed Monday’s game due to a sprained left wrist. X-rays were negative.

“I am not aware of a timetable,” said assistant coach Wes Unseld prior to Monday night’s game. “He’ll be reevaluated at some point. Obviously, we wish him the best and hopefully he’ll be back with us soon.”

Malone discusses missed game: Nuggets coach Michael Malone appeared on Altitude 950 AM on Tuesday morning, and one of the subjects he discussed was his one-game suspension. One of the reasons the NBA stated for doling out the punishment was, they said, for contacting a referee.

Malone apologized.

“If there was contact made with Rodney Mott, that was never my intention,” he said on the Hastings and Browman Show. “And I’ll apologize to (referee) Rodney Mott. The court should be for players and refs, not a coach like myself. … But I think our whole mindset going into last night’s game, and even more importantly today, is to move on. Don’t let what happened two nights ago affect us moving forward. And that’s the mindset that I think you need to have in the NBA, because you’re not always going to like everything but you have to learn from it, you have to grow from it and you have to move on. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Christopher Dempsey: and @chrisadempsey on Twitter.