The Denver Nuggets are gearing up for a pivotal clash against the Portland Trail Blazers this Friday at Ball Arena, Denver, with hopes of regaining their stride. As reigning NBA champions, the Nuggets aim to narrow the gap with the Western Conference leaders, sitting within a striking two-game reach.
Contrastingly, the Trail Blazers face the daunting prospect of missing out on the playoffs for the third consecutive year. Denver enters this significant matchup, the first of four regular-season encounters against Portland, with a comprehensive injury list.
Nikola Jokic's participation remains uncertain due to a lower back injury. The star center, who sat out Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, is tentatively expected to make his return.
Murray's Ongoing Injury Battle
Jamal Murray, another of Denver's key figures, has been grappling with a left knee contusion.
Despite a challenging season marked by multiple injuries — including issues with his quad, hamstring, ankle, shin, tibia, and knee, which led to him missing 14 games — Murray has managed to maintain impressive averages of 21.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 6.4 assists in 35 games, shooting 41.4% from the three-point line.
Similarly, Peyton Watson has faced his share of challenges. Primarily serving as a reliable bench player for the Nuggets, Watson has missed only two of the team's 49 games due to illness. In his 47 appearances, he's averaged 6.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game.
The good news for Nuggets fans is that both Murray and Watson are listed as probable for Friday's game. Their presence becomes increasingly crucial, especially if Jokic is unable to play. Should either or both be unavailable for this game, the next opportunity for their return would be in Sunday's rematch against the Blazers, completing a two-game series.
Fans eagerly anticipating this matchup can tune in at 9 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast locally on Altitude and Root Sports, and internationally via NBA League Pass. The Nuggets, currently fourth in the Western Conference with a 33-16 record, face a Trail Blazers team that has experienced a challenging season, currently 14th in the standings with 15 wins from 48 games, despite winning their last two matchups.
This game sets the stage for an intriguing battle, as the Nuggets strive to fortify their position in the conference, while the Trail Blazers seek to disrupt their momentum.