Danilo Gallinari
Wilson Chandler
Jusuf Nurkic
Emmanuel Mudiay

This is the list of Denver Nuggets players who missed the Nuggets tilt against the Los Angeles Lakers. You could field 4 of a pretty nice starting five with those players right there. During the subsequent game the Nuggets were without Jameer Nelson (illness) and Gary Harris (knee strain) for stretches. It all came together (plus another third quarter collapse) to add to the Nuggets losing to one of the worst teams in the NBA.

It leads one to wonder that the old bromide that injuries are an "excuse" and that everyone in the league has injuries. This is fine, and to a large extent this is true. I'm not sure that applies in every circumstance. You can't look at the Nuggets against the Lakers and say, legitimately, if they were healthy they would have undoubtedly won … even despite Kobe Bryant's "turn back the clock" night. A healthy Nuggets team is better than the Lakers. Gallo himself would have been enough, in all likelihood

So given that, are the Nuggets injuries a valid reason to say that their current record of 11-17 would be improved if they are “healthy”? That’s an interesting question and one that just isn’t answerable. I’m fairly certain that if Gallo played the entire second half against the New Orleans Pelicans they would have won that game as well as this game against the Lakers.

If Nurkic and Chandler were available all season, what would the Nuggets record be? Would the versatility that Chandler allow the Nuggets to be who they really intended to be? Would Nurkic at center allow the Nuggets to stay stronger on the perimeter and funnel everything in to a good interior defender? Would this in turn allow the Nuggets to take advantage of some big lineups featuring the fascinating Nikola Jokic, Joffrey Lauvergne and Nurkic?

There are many questions that can't be be answered. Injuries ARE and excuse and there are many teams in currently in the NBA who complain about injuries to their squad … but you cannot deny that the Nuggets have suffered their fair share if not more.

Emmanuel Mudiay’s injury may have been one of those blessings in disguise. He has been able to sit back and observe, and maybe this will help him in the long run with the mental aspect of the game that he is struggling with at the moment. However, you cannot deny that his injury has left the Nuggets short and point guard. When Jameer had to leave with an illness it left Randy Foye running point guard against the Lakers in the third quarter. This compounded the Nuggets issues and just began that misery snowball running downhill.

All in all you can't help but wonder "what if". The Nuggets have to go with the cards they are dealt, but the return of Gallinari soon (ankle injury wasn't very serious) and hopefully center Jusuf Nurkic. Maybe this will spur the Nuggets on to staying afloat.

Then there's the discussion of the draft lottery … but that is another story …