The Denver Nuggets suffered a scare late in the fourth quarter of their 127-120 win over the Phoenix Suns. With a little less than 2 minutes remaining, star big man Nikola Jokic appeared to be in pain and fell to the floor. Jokic limped to the locker room, holding his left hip.
The early word from the Nuggets is that the injury is not serious. Jokic received X-rays, which came back negative. The team is calling the injury a left hip strain. Jokic isn’t completely out of the woods yet — he’ll get an MRI on Friday — but he seems to have avoided anything catastrophic.
Update, 3:40 p.m. Friday: Jokic suffered a left hip flexor strain. He will miss Denver’s game Saturday and is day-to-day after that, the team said Friday afternoon.
Jokic was up and walking with a limp in Denver’s locker room after the game. He had another spectacular game against the Suns, scoring 29 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing out eight assists before exiting the game. Denver outscored Phoenix by 19 points when he was on the floor.
When Jokic fell to the ground, his teammates immediately ran onto the floor and surrounded him.
“He’s a great guy, and he’s our best player, so we definitely wanted to make sure he’s all right,” Wilson Chandler said. “You always wish the best. It didn’t look too bad, but it looked painful. I’m just glad he’s OK.”
Thursday marked the 20th game since Jokic became the starting center. Since then, the Nuggets have gone 11-9 and sport the second-best offense in the NBA. They are scoring 115.1 points per 100 possessions. Jokic, who is averaging 20.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists and is shooting 62.8 percent from the floor since Dec. 15, is the key to it all.
It’s unclear how many games he’ll miss. But there was a sense of relief coming from Jokic’s teammates and family after the game.
“Nikola is a special guy,” Darrell Arthur said. “I knew he was going to be special when he came into this league. I saw it early before the season started last year. And he’s our best player for sure. We’re 10 times better with him on the court. We care about him, so I hope he’s going to get healthy soon so we can get him back out there on the court.”
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