Nurkic notched a double-double with 16 points (8-12 FG, 0-1 3Pt), 11 rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block in 24 minutes during the Nuggets' 103-92 win over the Pistons on Wednesday. Nurkic's 16 points, 11 boards, and 24 minutes were all season highs, and this was the Nuggets' second double-double of 2015-16. The Nuggets have no shortage of centers either. Rookie Nikola Jokic saw 25 minutes as the starter, and the split in playing time was basically dead-even between those two on Wednesday. However, coach Mike Malone does opt to pair the bigs together quite a bit, as evidenced by Joffrey Lauvergne seeing 21 minutes as well. Nurkic may have trouble earning enough minutes to make a steady impact in fantasy, but the team's trio of international centers is undeniably intriguing.
Coach Mike Malone said that Nurkic still needs to work his way back into game shape before receiving more court time, Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post reports. Nurkic played just seven minutes in Monday's loss to the Hawks and has played 10 minutes total in his four games since returning from knee and ankle injury. The center has appeared in just eight games all season after he underwent left knee surgery during the offseason, and it appears the recent setback hasn't allowed him to fully gets his legs back just yet. It hasn't helped matters that rookie Nikola Jokic has been a pleasant surprise when called upon to play center, so it doesn't appear that there's any real incentive for the Nuggets to push Nurkic back into the mix.
Nurkic returned to the court in Thursday's 102-101 loss to the Grizzlies, but played only three minutes and picked up three fouls and a turnover. Nurkic was cleared to return from ankle and knee injuries in Tuesday's loss to the Thunder, but coach Mike Malone elected to keep him on the bench that night. The center likely entered Thursday's contest in line to see heavier minutes, but after he racked up three quick fouls, Malone decided that he'd seen enough. Nurkic should eventually displace Joffrey Lauvergne for the top backup spot at center behind starter Nikola Jokic, but it may take him a couple more games to get comfortable again after missing time with the injuries.
Nurkic (ankle, knee) was available to play in Tuesday's 110-104 loss to the Thunder, but didn't end up seeing the floor in the contest. Nurkic had missed the previous two games while dealing with a sprained left ankle and left knee soreness, but he received clearance to play Tuesday. Coach Michael Malone ultimately opted not to call Nurkic's number, but that was likely borne out of a desire to give the center some more rest. He'll likely return to the rotation Thursday against the Grizzlies and should assume most of the 20 minutes that went to Joffrey Lauvergne on Tuesday.
Nurkic (knee) will be available Tuesday's game against the Thunder, Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post reports. Nurkic missed two straight games after spraining his left ankle and reaggravating stiffness in his surgically-repaired left knee almost a week ago. He has been cleared to play, but will see his minutes monitored closely on Tuesday night. With his minutes restricted, look for Darrell Arthur and Nikola Jokic to see an increase in action until Nurkic returns to full strength.
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
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