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Nuggets’ Gary Harris could be sidelined until All-Star Break

Gary Harris

Denver Nuggets shooting guard Gary Harris has already been ruled out for Monday’s contest versus the Miami Heat as he battles an adductor injury. His absence will mark his sixth straight game on the bench and head coach Mike Malone doesn’t sound as if he’s in a hurry to rush Harris, or any of his injured players back, saying, per Sean Keeler of the Denver Post.

“Knowing that no one has said, ‘He’s out until after the all-star break,’ but I mean — in my mind, I’m thinking that it’s probably the most prudent decision to make,” Malone said of the Nuggets’ shooting guard, who’s currently day to day with groin issues. “You (think), ‘Hey, let’s rush him back for Miami,’ and then …”

With Harris already out for Monday, it doesn’t seem likely he’ll suit up Wednesday against Sacramento to then have the All-Star break after that. Malone seemed to state as much, even if Harris has been “officially” ruled out for the Kings game.

In Harris’ absence, Malik Beasley has stepped into the starting five and blossomed. Beasley has averaged 20.4 points per game in his last five contests — all of which have been starts — while shooting 48.6 percent from long range. Those numbers certainly aren’t going to force Harris back onto the floor earlier than need be.

It has been an injury-plagued 2018-19 for Harris, who appeared to be on the precipice of a potential All-Star bid after averaging a career-best 17.9 points per game last season. Denver has started him in 27 of his 32 appearances this year, averaging 29.9 minutes per game, but he has shot just 31.4 percent from deep and will likely cede a few minutes to Beasley and Will Barton upon his return, whenever that may be.

Operating under the premise that Harris is done until the break, his next chance to suit up for Denver comes Feb. 22 against the Dallas Mavericks.