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Paul Millsap will not play vs. Thunder due to injury

The Denver Nuggets’ frontline will be without a big piece when they battle the Oklahoma City Thunder Saturday night. According to a report by Nuggets beat reporter Harrison Wind, the 6-foot-7 power forward will be held out of this matchup due to a right quadriceps strain.

The team will be missing the former Louisiana Tech standout’s 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Millsap suffered the injury during Denver’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers this past Thursday.

With the former All-Star out, expect Jerami Grant to be the primary beneficiary in terms of minutes. Grant, a six-year veteran, played for Oklahoma City from 2016-17 until last season. The versatile forward is coming off a career year where he averaged 13.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. This season, Grant’s numbers have taken a dip — 9.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, — to no surprise.

It’s only wise for the Nuggets to maintain a cautious approach when it comes to Millsap’s health. While still being an able contributor, the 34-year-old big man is no LeBron James who projects to be in terrific physical condition in the coming years.

The Nuggets are one of the deepest teams in the NBA, making minutes distribution quite the challenge for head coach Michael Malone and his staff. Entering the matchup against the Thunder, Denver holds a 15-8 win-loss record which puts then at fifth place in the Western Conference. However, only one loss separates them from the second-placed L.A. Clippers, giving the team virtually no room for errors in this tight positioning race out West.