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Will Barton’s MRI reveals strained groin, no timetable for Nuggets return

Will Barton, Nuggets

During the Denver Nuggets’ game against the Phoenix Suns, forward Will Barton suffered what was initially thought to be a right hip injury. However, the latest diagnosis revealed a strained groin.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, there is no timetable for Barton’s return.

In a way, this is somewhat positive news for Barton and the Nuggets as the worst-case scenario would have been a torn labrum in his hip that would have kept him out anywhere from five to nine months. A strained groin would still cause him to miss some time, but it would be significantly less than what could have been.

Head coach Mike Malone still has not confirmed who will start in place of Barton. Among the guys available for him are Juancho Hernangomez, Malik Beasley and Torrey Craig.

Craig, however, seems to be the likeliest candidate to get the starting job in Barton’s place. The 27-year-old has experience in the starting lineup after filling in for Gary Harris for the last two weeks of the 2017-18 season, and he brings an increased level of defensive versatility. Malone has consistently trusted Craig with big minutes in big moments which puts him ahead of Hernangomez and Beasley in the pecking order.

Hernangomez, however, made a good account for himself with a game-saving block in their Sunday-night win over the Golden State Warriors.

Aside from Barton, the Nuggets are still missing some key guys due to injuries of their own. Former MVP candidate Isaiah Thomas is still out due to a hip injury, while rookie Michael Porter Jr. is also out as he recovers from his second back surgery.

The injuries, however, haven’t stopped the Nuggets from playing well to start the season. They are currently 2-0 and are looking like dark-horse contenders in the Western Conference.