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Nuggets starting small forward Will Barton is getting closer to returning to Denver’s lineup.
“Will Barton continues to progress through his rehabilitation program following his right hip and core muscle surgery,” the team said in a statement released Thursday. “He will be evaluated on a week to week basis going forward.”
Barton has been sidelined since coming down awkwardly on a layup attempt in Denver’s second game of the regular season — a 119-91 win over the Phoenix Suns. He exited the game in the third quarter and did not return. Barton underwent surgery three days later in Philadelphia.
“It’s tough for me. I’ve never been seriously injured,” Barton said. “I just don’t not like playing basketball, so it’s hard.”
Barton is rehabbing by doing mostly cardio and over the last couple of weeks has been ramping up his on-court work at practices and before games. Denver has gone 15-7 in Barton’s absence, relying on Juancho Hernangomez, who has started 12 of the 22 games Barton has missed. Torrey Craig, Malik Beasley and Monte Morris are also garnering more playing time than normal without Barton in the lineup.
Gary Harris (right hip injury), who Michael Malone told reporters in Orlando is day-to-day, also remains sidelined. Harris exited Denver’s win over Toronto on Monday after nine minutes and did not return. Harris underwent an MRI Tuesday and missed the Nuggets’ win over the Magic. He’s already been ruled out for Denver’s matchup Friday in Charlotte.