Ty Lawson hoping to return from foot injury before playoffs

Denver Nuggets point guard works out for first time in more than a week
by Aaron Lopez

For someone who’s faster than 99 percent of the general population, patience doesn’t come naturally.

Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson is doing his best to take things slowly.

“It’s annoying to me. I feel like being out there playing,” Lawson said after a light workout on the Pepsi Center practice court. “Being patient is not one of my strong suits.”

For the first time since being diagnosed with a plantar fascia tear in his right heel, Lawson did some light jogging and shooting Saturday. He has missed six of the past seven games.

“It’s getting a little bit better,” he said. “The soreness is going down a lot. Just trying to get my wind back and get back to the feel of basketball.”

The Nuggets continue to play well without their scoring and assist leader, but Lawson’s health will be key when Denver opens the postseason in two weeks. Ideally, he would like to return for the final two or three games of the regular season.

“I think he should play (before the playoffs start),” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “It might not be 100 percent. He has to learn how to play when it’s 70 or 80 percent. Can we get 25 minutes a game out of him? You don’t want to determine that in the first two games of the playoffs.”

To help aid his recovery, Lawson is wearing heel pads and arch supports in his shoes but acknowledged that he probably will have to play in some pain when he does return.

The Nuggets will welcome their floor leader back at half-speed or three-quarter speed, especially after losing starting forward Danilo Gallinari to a season-ending knee injury.

Karl said Wilson Chandler will get the first opportunity to replace Gallinari in the starting lineup, but nothing else is certain going forward.

"My theme today was don’t overreact," Karl said. "Do the things we’ve asked you to do but do them better. How you fill in those minutes should be exciting for a lot of people, should be uplifting to a lot of people.

"It’s a challenge, it’s fun and a lot of it’s energizing - and I think players should feel the same way."