Nuggets C JaVale Mcgee out indefinitely with leg injury

X-rays Sunday revealed stress fracture in left tibia
by Aaron Lopez

Even on one good leg, Nuggets center JaVale McGee was able to do what many players have trouble doing on two.

But even as McGee finished athletic dunks and swatted away interior shots, guard Randy Foye sensed that something wasn’t quite right with his teammate of late.

“You could kind of tell that something was wrong,” Foye said. “He was getting killed for certain things, like not completely contesting (shots), letting people push him. Now you know the reason why. You can’t replace someone that athletic and that explosive. It’s amazing what he was doing on one leg.”

McGee, who has started all five games for Denver this season, will be out indefinitely after X-rays Sunday revealed a stress fracture in his left tibia. The leg had been bothering him over the past several days, and the pain flared up Friday against the Phoenix Suns.

“It’s unfortunate, but injuries are part of the game,” coach Brian Shaw said. “We wish him well and hope that he heals correctly and we can hold the fort down until he comes back. Everybody moves up one in the rotation. We just have to make the most of it.”

McGee averaged 7.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.40 blocks in 15.9 minutes. In his absence, power forward J.J. Hickson or backup center Timofey Mozgov could slide into his spot in the starting lineup.

Hickson started 80 games at center for the Portland Trail Blazers last season, while Mozgov has played well so far off the bench.

“That’s one of the positions we’ve had the most depth at,” Shaw said. “I’m confident the guys who have to fill in can carry their load.”

The news was more encouraging regarding forward Wilson Chandler, who hasn’t played this season due to a strained left hamstring. He went through a good portion of practice Sunday and is a game-time decision for Monday’s game at Utah.

Even if Chandler is cleared to play, Shaw said he would come off the bench.

“He wouldn’t be in the starting lineup because he hasn’t practiced enough and gone up and down enough,” Shaw said. “I want to be cautious with him. I don’t want to get him back and then have a setback. We’ll ease him in slowly.”


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