Storyline: Nikola Jokic Injury

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Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets’ leading scorer and emerging star center, rolled his left ankle in the first half against the Bulls on Thursday at the Pepsi Center and exited the game early. He did not return to the game after the team diagnosed him with a left ankle sprain. “I’ll go back and talk to our docs. Thank goodness it’s only a sprain,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “Good thing is, he’s not an athletic big, so he doesn’t have to jump a lot.”

Jokic was helped to his feet and limped straight back to the locker room. The scare, though, that this could have been a significant injury, appears to be only that. Jokic is said to have a left hip strain. X-rays were negative, but Jokic, who led the Nuggets to a 127-120 victory over Phoenix on Thursday, will have an MRI on Friday. “It’s good news for us,” teammate Will Barton said. “He’s been playing out of this world for us; our best player. It would be tough to see him go down for a long time. I’m just happy he’s fine.”

The short-term outlook for Nuggets center Nikola Jokic’s sprained wrist isn’t great. He’ll likely at least be out the next three games, Nuggets coach Michael Malone said Saturday. Jokic missed his second consecutive game Saturday night. “Talking to Nikola, he wants to play right when he can catch the ball,” Malone said. “I think we’ll probably be a little more cautious than that on this road trip, maybe get it looked at again just to kind of see where it’s at once the swelling goes down.”
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February 21, 2018 | 9:00 am EST Update
Charlotte Hornets rookie Malik Monk missed a portion of Tuesday’s practice, while being examined following a car accident in Arkansas over All-Star break. Monk suffered from upper-body soreness when he arrived for Tuesday’s late-afternoon practice, so a team doctor checked him out. Monk returned to practice at Spectrum Center in time to put up some jump shots after most of the other players left the practice court. “They just had to make sure he was OK,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “He wasn’t able to practice today, but he says he feels better. He’s just stiff. So, we’ll just see tomorrow how he feels and where he is at.”
Asked if he anticipates Steve Clifford, who has a season remaining on his contract, being the coach here next season, Polk responded, “I would today.” Like each of Clifford’s previous four seasons, he and his staff will be evaluated in the spring. “Once we get a new general manager on board, we’ll talk about the coaching staff,” Polk said. “Steve has brought a lot of strong organization” to the franchise, Polk said, adding Clifford’s health crisis (a six-week leave to address severe headaches) concerned everyone in management.
February 21, 2018 | 5:07 am EST Update
“He’s not [coming back to Miami]. But the fact when ESPN polled 48 players about what they thought might happen with LeBron that they even mentioned the Heat shows that, at worst, the Heat remain relevant in players’ consciousness,” Winderman wrote. “Basically, the NBA players polled still consider the Heat a desirable landing spot. And that is a good thing. But I cannot fathom, as you pointed out, the Heat having enough on their roster to attract such a level of free agent. There was a time when I thought Hassan Whiteside could have been such a lure, but with his role minimized, I don’t see that as the case anymore.”
Storyline: LeBron James Free Agency