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On the cusp of a return, Paul Millsap says he's learned a valuable lesson about recovering from injuries
Paul Millsap played in 837 of a possible 886 games spanning from his rookie year in Utah to his 11th professional season when he was selected to his fourth straight All-Star game as an Atlanta Hawk. But since signing with Denver, injuries have only allowed him to appear in 63 of Denver’s 115 games over the last two years.
“Injuries are injuries. You never know when they’re going to happen,” Millsap said reflecting on what’s been a trying two seasons in a Nuggets uniform. “It’s been unfortunate situations that happened. They were situations that you couldn’t really control. Took really good care of your body, but those situations were a little flukish. You can’t control that. Injuries happen. Things happen, and it’s just how you bounce back to it and how guys react to it.”
Denver has kept its head above water with Millsap sidelined in each of the last two seasons. The Nuggets were able to go 24-20 in the 44 games Millsap missed last year after suffering a left wrist injury that required surgery and are 5-3 since the 33-year-old fractured his right big toe three weeks ago in Charlotte that left the Nuggets without three of their five starters for the last eight games.
His return appears to be imminent.
Millsap was upgraded to questionable Saturday afternoon ahead of Denver’s matchup tonight in Phoenix and could make his return to a Nuggets’ rotation that will still be without Gary Harris (hip) and Will Barton (hip/core), who will miss their 10th and 31st games respectively.
Millsap practiced on Thursday back in Denver where he went through full-court drills for the first time since his injury and said that said he’s learned a valuable lesson from how he came back from last season’s extended absence.
“Taking my time, being patient, I think that’s the main thing. May have forced it a little bit last year coming back, wasn’t 100 percent,” Millsap said. “This time around, just make sure we do it right. Make sure I’m feeling good, I’m at a good level to where I can get out there and play my game.”
“I’m not going to rush it. I have complete confidence in our group of guys that they can get out there and perform and get the job done without me. Take my time and be patient with it.”
Millsap also said on Thursday that he’s still experiencing pain in his foot, and that it’s “going to be a pain tolerance situation” when he does return to the floor.
Denver could be without Malik Beasley, who injured his ankle in the third quarter of Denver’s Friday night win over San Antonio and did not return, in Phoenix. Jamal Murray, who went down with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter of the Nuggets’ latest win, is expected to play against the Suns.
Isaiah Thomas (hip) Michael Porter Jr. (back) and Jarred Vanderbilt (foot) remain out.