Disturbing reports coming out of Denver Nuggets practice today. Gina Mizell of the Denver Post reported that Will Barton suffered a right ankle or foot injury at the end of practice and could put no weight on it.
So far no other details have been provided on the extent of Barton’s injury but if he follows typical injury protocol it should be expected for him to undergo x-rays and then perhaps an MRI after that so more details should come over the next 48 hours. Without anything else to go off of at this point it does no use to speculate as to the severity of Barton’s injury or the length of time he will miss, if any.
If Barton does end up missing time it will be a tough blow to the Nuggets. He’s been one of the best players in preseason and should see his role increased this season both as a wing scorer and a primary ball handler. Malik Beasley could be vaulted into the rotation. He’s probably the most synonymous with Barton’s size and skillset, albeit not as effective. Alternatively, Coach Malone could try to fill the gaps by sliding Emmanuel Mudiay or Jamal Murray into Barton’s role and leaving the backup point guard duties entirely to Jameer Nelson. Juancho Hernangomez also would stand to see an increase in minutes at the small forward spot that would be vacated by Barton’s injury. Finally, Torrey Craig could be an option in the short term, though the number of days he can spend at the NBA level is limited by his two-way contract and the team might be hesitant to start burning those days right out of the gate.
Update (12:00 PM MST 10.17.2017): According to coach Michael Malone on Altitude 950 “there was nothing major, I think Will will have no problem being a full go tomorrow night....(the training staff has) given me thumbs up in terms of Will and his ability to play tomorrow night.”
Phew! You can listen to the whole interview below.