Paul Millsap has undergone successful surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist, according to the Denver Nuggets. The team released the following statement late this evening:
“Paul Millsap underwent successful reconstructive surgery today on his left wrist ligament injury with UCHealth surgeon Dr. Frank Scott. There is no exact timetable for his return, but he is expected to miss the next several months. His return to sport progression will be dependent upon consistent assessment throughout the rehab process.”
The Vertical’s Shams Charania is reporting that the team expects Millsap to miss the next three months although the timetable that the team offered in their press release was a bit more vague, leaving the door open for his return to take longer.
Sources: Denver All-Star Paul Millsap underwent successful surgery on his left wrist today and is expected to be sidelined three months.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 27, 2017
Working off of the three-month timetable, Millsap will not return until after the NBA’s trade deadline and all-star break. In total he would miss somewhere around 45 games between now and February 26th, three months from today. That timetable provides another obstacle for the Nuggets as it would mean Millsap would return with just six weeks left in the season, forcing the Nuggets to re-integrate a relatively new and vital piece into the rotation with limited time to develop team chemistry.
To make matters worse, Denver plays a brutal schedule in the month of March. 11 of their 15 games in March are on the road including their longest road trip of the year, 7 games. The month of April provides some home games but all six games are against teams who entered this season expecting to make the playoffs, so even if Millsap is cleared to play by March 1st, it’d mean the team would have to work him into the rotation with little to no practice time during the toughest stretch of the year.
The timetable might also force Denver’s front office to re-evaluate their trade deadline plans. It has been widely rumored in the past that the team would like to move on from Kenneth Faried, who has two more years left on a fairly sizeable contract. Faried will likely remain the team’s starter while Millsap is out of the lineup. Faried has been an excellent front-court running mate alongside Nikola Jokic in their three seasons together.
For now, Denver will have to find a way to survive a competitive race to the playoffs in Millsap’s absence and hope that his recovery is fast and thorough.