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Nuggets C Nikola Jokic playing through injury Friday vs. Kings

Jokic went to the locker room under his own power but did return to the game.

Denver Nuggets v Sacramento Kings
Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets looks on during the game against the Sacramento Kings on February 9, 2024 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Update: Jokic has returned to the game at the halfway mark of the second quarter.

Update: Jokic has returned to Denver’s bench, so it appears he has avoided a major injury for now. We’ll see if the Nuggets give him his usual workload or ease up a bit on the second night of a back-to-back set.

Reigning NBA Finals MVP and Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic went to the locker room at the end of the first quarter of Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings after hitting the floor due to a collision. Jokic did walk off under his own power, which is a good sign for him and the Nuggets. He looked to be on his way to another massive performance with 10 points, three assists and five rebounds in 11 minutes of play.

DeAndre Jordan has taken the floor for Jokic at the time of this writing, and would likely be the primary big man should Jokic be out for the rest of the game. This is the second night of a back-to-back set for the Nuggets, who are already without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Michael Porter Jr. Losing Jokic, even if its just for this game, would make things challenging for Denver. Aaron Gordon would also be in line for minutes as a small-ball center should Jokic be out for the rest of the game.

If Jokic is out for an extended period of time, a lot of things change for the Nuggets. Jamal Murray probably becomes the top offensive option, with Porter Jr. and Gordon both taking on bigger roles. Jordan probably gets the starts at center while Jokic is out, although head coach Mike Malone will adjust the rotations as he sees fit. The other problem is how tight the West standings are, especially at the top. Even if the Nuggets were to miss Jokic for a week, it could potentially send them out of having homecourt advantage for the first round depending on other results. The All-Star break will help when it comes to recovery timeline in the event Jokic does have a setback that takes him out for more than just this game.