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Nuggets Notes: Injured Gary Harris Out 'Three, Four' Games
MEMPHIS – On Saturday, the Nuggets began what will be at least a week without their leading scorer, Gary Harris, as the starting shooting guard recovers from a right knee injury.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone said there is hope, however, that Harris can return to the lineup before the end of the team’s current seven-game road trip.
“Yes, there’s hope for that,” Malone said. “I think we dodged a real bullet with that injury. Now, what does that mean? Obviously, this is a 15-day road trip. So, it’s not saying a whole lot. I think Gary will probably be out maybe three, four games, and hopefully we’re able to get him back after that.”
The Nuggets missed Harris and his 17.7 points average on Saturday night in a loss at Memphis, but by-and-large they have been able to find players to fill in and play to a high level when others have been out with injuries.
“Such an important time of the year,” Malone said. “I think we’ve done a great job this year when guys have been out, other guys have stepped up in their stead and performed at a high level. And we’re going to need that while Gary Harris is out.”
Mostly, though, Malone is happy he’s talking about Harris being back at all.
“So, short term that’s a tough loss,” Malone said. “But when I watch that replay of him landing, I’m just so thankful that it wasn’t a lot worse. Because it could have been a lot worse when you watch how he landed and the potential of having a devastating injury. So, thank goodness that did not happen and I hope that we can get Gary back as quickly as possible.”
Devin Harris rounding into form: When the Nuggets were busy chopping a big, early-game deficit down to single digits in the second quarter at Memphis, Devin Harris was right in the middle of it. In fact, the veteran was arguably the spark that got things headed in the right direction.
It was the latest in what has been consecutive solid performances out of the guard. Harris is a combined plus-14 in the last two games with averages of 11.0 points and 2.0 assists in 20.5 minutes. Harris is shooting 50 percent from the field overall and 42.8 percent from the 3-point line in that span.
“I’m just trying to provide a spark,” Harris said. “Just trying to pick spots where I can bring some energy and make some plays.”
Craig back in action: The Nuggets brought defensive standout Torrey Craig back to the big club and gave him his first NBA action in a little over a month on Saturday night at Memphis. He responded with nine points, six rebounds and a block in 16 minutes. Craig made 4-of-7 shots from the field, including 1-of-2 from the 3-point line.
Christopher Dempsey: email@example.com and @chrisadempsey on Twitter.