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With the exception of Wilson Chandler until the middle of January, the Nuggets were pretty much a healthy squad.
Then, as Denver was in the middle of its 15-game winning streak and chasing the No. 1 seed in the West, the injuries piled on. Plus, they were all happening to the best players.
It all started with Ty Lawson's torn plantar fascia (per Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post). Even though the Nuggets' leading scorer was sidelined for three weeks with a limited appearance against San Antonio in the middle of the absence, Andre Miller stepped up in the starting role and the Nuggets looked to be okay without him.
However, as Dallas was leading Denver in the Pepsi Center, matters got worse. Danilo Gallinari, the second-leading scorer for the Nuggets, drove to the lane and went down holding his knee in a good amount of pain. It was a torn ACL and he was done for the year (via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports).
Yet, despite trailing in the game and not having Gallo or Lawson, Denver rallied and Andre Iguodala converted the game-winning layup with 2.8 seconds remaining.
Lawson returned to the action one week later against the Mavericks before returning to the starting lineup against Portland. Finally, Denver was going to have its lineup set in stone just before the playoffs got underway.
Not so fast. Kenneth Faried, Denver's leading rebounder and one of its biggest playmakers, injured his ankle (per Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post) and missed the last two games of the regular season and Game 1 against Golden State.
It would have been a lot easier to deal with these injuries if they were spread out or earlier in the season. Nonetheless, Karl's balanced attack allowed Denver to overcome these obstacles and still achieve 57 wins.
JaVale McGee and his 20.8 PER stepped up and turned the momentum around in the San Antonio win on April 10. Karl found a way to incorporate rookie Evan Fournier into the rotation, who eventually landed a spot in the starting lineup for a few games. The head coach balanced the increase in minutes for the other players across the board to fill in the missing pieces.
Even though the Nuggets couldn't get past the injuries and the Warriors in the playoffs, NBA Coach of the Year is a regular-season award.