The Denver Nuggets have announced that Nikola Jokic suffered a left hip flexor strain during Thursday night’s contest with the Phoenix Suns and will be listed day to day. Give the look of pain on Nikola’s face when the injury happened, and that he was wheeled into the locker room, this probably could not be better news.
According to the Summit Medical Group, a hip flexor strain is the stretching or tearing of a muscle in the hip. Hip flexor muscles are used when one flexes or lifts the knee or bends at the waist. They go on to say that a minor flexor strain has an average recovery time of a couple of weeks, a more severe strain can have a recovery time in excess of six weeks. While the Nuggets did not say the severity of the strain, given that Nikola went through an MRI and is only listed as day to day it would be reasonable to assume that he suffered the minor variety of the strain. Phew!
Coach Michael Malone stated earlier today the Nikola will not travel with the team for their upcoming road contests against the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers meaning the earliest Nikola could return would be for the Nuggets February 1st game against the Memphis Grizzlies. In the meantime, Jusuf Nurkic will be expected to carry the load at the center position and the newest Nugget, Johnny O’Bryant, could potentially see some action as well. Personally, I let Nurkic and O’Bryant hold down the 5 as long as is needed to make absolutely certain Nikola is 100% before he gets back on the court. This is not a team with championship aspirations this season, no need to recklessly bring Nikola back until he is completely ready.
Denver will be anxious to get him back though, because after the two game road trip against some of the dregs of the Western Conference, the Nuggets will head through an eight game stretch that features five teams currently in playoff position, including the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, as well as the Milwaukee Bucks who are just barely on the outside looking in to the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Nonetheless, precaution must be taken to ensure the health of Denver’s rising star. Though they have been on a good run lately which currently has them a game ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers for the eighth seed, Nikola is far too important to take the risk. All in all good news Nuggets nation, now get ready for some Bosnian Beast action.