According to the Denver Nuggets' official Twitter feed, forward Kenneth Faried's recent leg injury has been revealed to be a sprained left ankle. Faried suffered damage to his anterior talofibular ligament and will miss the Nuggets' final two regular season games.
If the Nuggets are to make a run through the postseason, they'll need their rebounding machine to be at 100 percent.
Faried suffered the injury on April 14 during the first quarter of Denver's 118-109 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Faried was driving the lane when he landed awkwardly on his ankle, hitting the ground with a deafening scream.
Chris Dempsey @chrisadempsey
Asked whether he'd be ready for the playoffs, Kenneth Faried said "I'm going to play." #Nuggets2013-4-15 00:46:20
Now that that's cleared up, let's address the issue of health.
If Faried is to play during the postseason, the Nuggets must have him at 100 percent. Not only is he their leading rebounder, but he's started all 80 games in 2012-13 and is their third-leading shot-blocker.
With that being said, basic individual statistics don't tell the story.
Carrying the Rebounding Load
In an average of 28.1 minutes of action, Kenneth Faried led the Denver Nuggets at 9.2 rebounds per game. The second-leading rebounder on Denver's roster is the fundamentally sound Kosta Koufos at 6.9 per contest in 22.5 minutes.
With that being said, Koufos is far from the force on the glass that Faried has proven to be.
Faried is eighth in the NBA in both rebounds per game and offensive rebounds per game. As anyone who has watched the Nuggets will tell you, however, it's not about how many rebounds Faried gets.
It's about how he gets them.
Faried is an aggressive player who thrives in crashing the boards with reckless abandon. Not only does Faried sky through the air, but he plays physical ball and runs the floor in transition as well as any big man in the NBA.
In other words, he's the perfect rebounding force for Denver's up-tempo offense.
The Denver Nuggets are one of the best offensive teams in the NBA at 105.9 points per game. Unfortunately, they're also one of the worst defensive teams, allowing 101 points per contest.
With Andre Iguodala on the perimeter and Kenneth Faried playing as a hybrid forward, however, the Nuggets do possess opportunistic stoppers.
Iguodala is widely considered to be an elite on-ball defender due to his blend of power and lateral quickness. His ability to pick up anyone from the 2 to the 4 will be wildly valuable should the Nuggets draw either the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets in the first round.
With that being said, Iguodala can only be as effective as those around him.
Faried has developed as a defender, picking up players at both the 3 and 4. His rebounding prowess and physicality makes him a terror in the post, while his elite athleticism enables him to work the perimeter.
On a bum ankle, however, the Nuggets will be without something rare—a defensive presence.