DENVER — Nuggets’ power forward Kenneth Faried could return to action Thursday versus the Los Angeles Clippers.
Faried (low back), who’s officially listed as “questionable” against the Clippers, missed Denver’s last nine games but went through practice Wednesday for the first time since his injury, via the Denver Post’s Nick Kosmider.
How Faried looks Thursday morning at shootaround could determine if the power forward gives it a go, a decision that will send coach Michael Malone back to the drawing board as he’ll work to incorporate a new addition to Denver’s ever-changing rotation.
In Faried’s absence, Denver has opted to use Mason Plumlee and Nikola Jokic together in the frontcourt. Since the Nuggets acquired the center from Portland before February’s trade deadline, Plumlee has played well, averaging 9.3 points and 7.1 rebounds in 12 games. Denver is a +21 plus-minus in the 56 minutes Plumlee and Jokic have shared the floor over those 12 games, a combination that the Nuggets will continue to feature.
Additionally, rookie Juancho Hernangomez has been a benefactor of Faried’s absence. Hernangomez averaged 16.5 minutes per game in March and 14.4 so far in February after playing sporadically during the first few months of the regular season.
Danilo Gallinari (left knee bone bruise), Wilson Chandler (right groin contusion) and Darrell Arthur (rest) did not practice Wednesday and have already been ruled out for Thursday’s matchup with the Clippers.
Here's where Gallinari hurt his knee. Was subbed out but played 6 min in the 4th. Diagnosed with a bone bruise – out Thursday vs Clippers. pic.twitter.com/dpZRuV1Oyp
— Harrison Wind (@NBAWind) March 15, 2017
Will Barton, who’s coming off one of his best outings of the season, and Jamal Murray, are also due for a bump in minutes as Denver’s injuries continue to pile up. Hernangomez could also draw his fifth start of the season if Malone wants to leave Barton in his sixth man role.