The Nuggets lost a close game to the Toronto Raptors on Monday, but saw salt poured in the wound when Will Barton suffered an apparent ankle sprain during the second half.

Barton drove to the rim against Jakob Poeltl, when his left foot landed on the right foot of the rookie big man, causing the Nuggets guard to collapse to the court in pain. Here’s video of the play from BSN Denver Nuggets reporter Harrison Wind.

Barton spoke with The Denver Post Nuggets reporter Christopher Dempsey after the game, and described the injury.

“It’s just sore, a bad sprain, a real bad sprain,” Barton said. “My foot stepped on one of the big guys’ feet from Toronto and just turned as soon as I touched it.”

With Barton’s injury, it would appear that he suffered a sprain to some of the lateral ligaments on the ankle, that help stabilize the joint. A sprain means that there is tearing of ligaments, and with ankle sprains, there are three degrees of injury.

A Grade 1 Sprain, or a mild sprain, involves slight stretching and minor tearing of the ligament fibers. Patients suffer mild tenderness and swelling around the ankle, and can usually help deal with it by following the RICE treatment – rest, ice, compress, and elevate the joint.

A Grade 2 Sprain, or a moderate sprain, involves partial tearing of the ligament, with tenderness and swelling around the ankle. Patients describe a “loose” feeling with their foot, which is due to the fact that the ligaments are torn. These sprains require two to three weeks to heal, aided by a boot, brace, or air cast to help immobilize the joint.

A Grade 3 Sprain, or a severe sprain, is bad news. Barton could need surgery to reconnect the ligament. He’d be out for a couple weeks to a couple months, and would be in a boot, brace, or air cast on crutches for a while.

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As with most injuries, the full extent of the injury can’t be determined until the inflammation has decreased.

The People’s Champ is off to a great start to the season, leading the Nuggets in scoring with 18 points a game and is second on the team in minutes played. Gary Harris should return soon from a groin injury he suffered in the preseason, but losing Barton is just another obstacle for this young team to overcome as they try to be playoff contenders once again.