Will Barton, Gary Harris Ruled Out for Game 1 of Nuggets vs. Jazz with Injuries

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2020

Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris brings the ball up court against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, March 5, 2020. Denver won 114-112. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Nell Redmond/Associated Press

Gary Harris (hip) and Will Barton (knee) will miss the Denver Nuggets' matchup with the Utah Jazz in the opening round of the 2020 NBA playoffs.

Neither player suited up for Denver for the team's eight seeding games. Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, head coach Michael Malone was unable to provide a firm idea of when they'd return.

"If and when they are cleared to play, we'll slowly work them back in, but obviously we are very deep into this Orlando bubble," he said Wednesday, per the Denver Post's Mike Singer. "Three scrimmages, (Wednesday) will be our seventh seeding game and the playoffs start come Monday. When they get cleared to play, we'll try to get them back in there and try to reintegrate them back into the rotation."

Barton was third on the Nuggets in scoring (15.1 points) during the regular season. He also averaged a career-high 6.3 rebounds while dishing out 3.7 assists.

Harris saw his offensive efficiency continue to slide as he averaged 10.4 points—his fewest since his rookie year—while shooting 42.0 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from three-point range.

Without Barton and Harris available, the Nuggets went 3-5 over the NBA's restart heading into the postseason.

Michael Porter Jr. averaged 22 points and had four double-doubles over seven games earlier this month. The rookie forward emerged as a key player for Denver.

Still, losing two of five regular starters would hurt any team, and the absence of a clear timetable for Barton and Harris' returns is likely a source of frustration for Malone.

The Nuggets won't be the only team short-handed, though. The Jazz listed Mike Conley, Ed Davis and Justin Wright-Foreman on their injury report. Davis is dealing with an MCL injury in his left knee, while Conley exited the NBA bubble to travel to Columbus, Ohio, for the birth of his child.