Updates from Saturday, May 17
Chris Haynes of Comcast SportsNet Northwest has the latest update as JJ Hickson recovers from a torn ACL:
Nuggets F JJ Hickson anticipates return date to NBA action falls in January after he recovers from ACL tear, a league source tells @CSNNW.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 17, 2014
It hasn't been a great season for either the Denver Nuggets or center J.J. Hickson, but it just got worse.
After going down with a knee injury during the fourth quarter in the Nuggets' 106-122 loss against the Denver Mavericks on Friday night, Hickson was diagnosed with a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season, per the team's official website.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo also reported the news on Twitter shortly afterward:
Nuggets say forward JJ. Hickson has been diagnosed with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament and will miss the rest of the season.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) March 22, 2014
The fifth-year player has been a good piece for the Nuggets throughout the season with 11.8 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game, which are both above his career averages.
But with his play on the court not meeting the expectations of Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, he was moved to the bench earlier this season. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer notes that Shaw challenged the big man to earn his spot back:
Nuggets coach Brian Shaw moved JJ Hickson to bench, told him, "You want your (starting) job, take it back. I'm not giving it to you."— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) March 10, 2014
Since then, Hickson had stepped his game up. In his last five games prior to the injury, the 6'9", 242-pound center registered 14.4 points per game and had 18 against the Mavericks before the season-ending injury.
Without Hickson on the floor, the Nuggets could see a dip in production in terms of scoring. And with JaVale McGee already out for the remainder of the year due to tibia surgery, Hickson's injury just makes the depth moving forward that much worse.
As of right now, the only remaining center on the roster is Timofey Mozgov. Sitting in the doldrums of the Western Conference, the Nuggets are working their way toward earning more ping pong balls in the NBA draft rather than trying to earn a playoff spot.
More information on 25-year-old center's injury will be added to this story as it comes through, along with the recovery process.
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