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Nikola Jokic suspended one game after leaving bench area versus Utah Jazz

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Denver will have to survive without their superstar for one game.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Nikola Jokic has been suspended for tonight’s contest versus the Phoenix Suns.

The incident in question occurred late in the first quarter against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night, as Jokic left the immediate vicinity of the bench area during a scuffle between Mason Plumlee and Derrick Favors.

This is one of the first times that the NBA has followed through on suspending a player for leaving the bench area, and it likely won’t be the last. The entire Nuggets bench got up to defend Plumlee during the altercation, but only Jokic was hit with a suspension.

This is a surprising move by the NBA. Jokic is Denver’s superstar but is certainly not receiving any superstar treatment from the league and will be suspended without pay, which will equal just under $170,000 in forfeited money. What’s more: Stephen Curry wasn’t suspended for a similar violation of the league’s rules during a preseason game. Of course, Stephen Curry is one of the faces of basketball right now. Nikola Jokic is just a top 10 player.

The Nuggets will likely appeal this decision by the NBA, but with the calling up of Thomas Welsh and Brandon Goodwin from their respective G-League assignments, it seems unlikely that an appeal will be heard in time for tonight’s contest against the Phoenix Suns. Jokic will very likely sit out tonight, so hopefully he’s motivated to destroy the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday instead.