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Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokić will miss his team’s home game against the New York Knicks on Wednesday after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.
The Nuggets held Jokić out of their Oct. 7 preseason game due to a wrist injury. Head coach Michael Malone told reporters that same day the reigning two-time NBA MVP had an MRI that “showed nothing sinister.”
Durability has never been a problem for Jokić in the regular season. He has played at least 72 games in each of his first seven seasons and has only missed a total of 28 games during that span.
Expectations are high for Denver in 2022-23. Jokić carried the team to the playoffs as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference last season, despite not having Jamal Murray for the entire year as he recovered from a torn ACL and having Michael Porter Jr. for just nine games due to a back injury.
When the Nuggets last had all three players on the court together during the 2020-21 season, they finished as the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
Jokić is the driving force for everything Denver does, especially on offense. The 27-year-old averaged 26.7 points, 12.3 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game in 146 starts over the past two seasons.
Losing Jokić for any length of time significantly impacts the Nuggets’ upside. They could turn to veteran DeAndre Jordan as their primary starter at center for the time being.