According to Shams Charania of the Athletic, Denver Nuggets shooting guard Will Barton has entered health and safety protocols.
Nuggets‘ Will Barton has entered health and safety protocols, sources said. Denver plans to sign DeMarcus Cousins to a 10-day using a separate hardship exemption. https://t.co/m8nHeF8p9t— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 10, 2022
There have been several moves over the past 48 hours that have helped to bolster the Nuggets wing depth, from the conversion of Davon Reed to a two-way contract as opposed to a hardship exception, to trading forward Bol Bol for wing Rodney McGruder, to the rumored signing of wing James Ennis to a hardship exception. It seems that the Nuggets have been unknowingly preparing for Barton’s absence, who played in Sunday evening’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder and made two clutch free throws to seal the deal.
Now, the Nuggets could be without Barton for a significant period of time. The quickest turnaround we’ve seen for players entering protocols is six days due to a rule change made by the NBA. Six days out could mean Barton misses Denver’s next four games, which include:
- January 11th @ Los Angeles Clippers
- January 13th vs Portland Trail Blazers
- January 15th vs Los Angeles Lakers
- January 16th vs Utah Jazz
That’s absolutely brutal for the Nuggets, who have won two in a row and appeared to have stabilized their rotation following the returns of Monte Morris and Jeff Green from health and safety protocols themselves. Now, it appears Denver will be playing these games hoping that Bones Hyland, Austin Rivers, Davon Reed, Rodney McGruder, and now James Ennis can supplement Denver’s starting and second units enough on the wing.
Let’s hope Will Barton is okay, and let’s see what magic Nikola Jokić can concoct this time around.