The Denver Nuggets will once again miss the presence of Emmanuel Mudiay in the upcoming match against the San Antonio Spurs. To date, the young NBA star has already missed six consecutive basketball games. Given the uncertain status of his health, it looks like the sick streak is not going to end anytime soon. Michael Malone disclosed that the right ankle of Mudiay has yet to show signs of recovery, thereby putting the Denver Nuggets in danger of not having the rookie's skills in the hardwood court this season. Without Mudiay, the NBA team will have to depend on the abilities of Jameer Nelson and Gary Harris in the match against the Tim Duncan team to ensure the safety of the backcourt.
Describing his injury as a "jammed" right ankle, Mudiay is eagerly anticipating the end of his health related problems. However, it looks like Malone is still not confident on the rookie's return to the hardwood court. The Denver Nuggets head coach also noted that the injury is causing problems for the NBA team - an issue that cannot be taken lightly given the competitive atmosphere of the season. Hence, it comes as no surprise when Malone decided to simply wait out the recovery of Mudiay instead of gambling on the rookie in the succeeding basketball matches.
"Lately, obviously, [Emmanuel Mudiay] has not been shooting the ball well," shared Malone in an effort to explain his decision to remove the rookie point guard from the games, according to Fox Sports. The Denver Nuggets head coach added, "He's one of the higher turnover guys in the NBA and he hasn't been guarding his position very well."
Malone went on to point out, "So, for anybody on our team, not just for Emmanuel, if you want to play crunch time minutes, you have got to be a guy that we can trust with the basketball, that can make the right decision and value the ball, you have to be able to guard your position and hopefully step in and be able to make a shot. We have plenty of guys who have not been able to do that lately." He further shared, "It's not just on Emmanuel, but obviously lately I've gone with Jameer [Nelson] down the stretch. Jameer has made big plays for us. And I have no doubt that Emmanuel will close out a lot of games for us moving forward."
Meanwhile, Malone was also asked to compare the Los Angeles Lakers rookie D'Angelo Russell to their team's Mudiay. The Denver Nuggets head coach noted that both young stars were "very similar," according to the Los Angeles Daily News. He also praised Mudiay's willingness to become a "student of the game." Malone shared, "He has a chance to be a special player. He's only going to get better. You can't teach his size, his strength and his playmaking ability."
However, he added a word of caution to the rookie and said, "A lot of young players come into the NBA expecting it to be easier than it actually is. He has great moments and moments he will struggle. That's the life of a rookie."