If there are as many positive outcomes next year as there were negative ones for the Nuggets this season then they will certainly be in contention for an NBA championship.
Head coach Brian Shaw's team lost yet another integral part to a season ending injury. Forward J.J. Hickson planted and twisted awkwardly Saturday night against the Mavericks and was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Hickson along with Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee and Nate Robinson are now all sidelined with major injures that undermined what could have been a successful season.
"It seems like we've had more than our fair share of them," Shaw said of the injury situation Denver has faced. "Hopefully it's karma in reverse, get all the worst stuff that can happen to us out of the way this year and everything is uphill from here on."
Hickson was one of the most dynamic players for the Nuggets throughout the year and is their leading rebounder at 9.2 boards per contest. His 26 double-doubles came in various forms and took on a leadership role – taking ownership for the team's noticeable lack of effort on several occasions – when the injuries mounted.
"I feel for him. He had a great season for us in terms of what he was able to contribute to the team as a starter and his role lately coming off the bench," Shaw continued.
With the Nuggets well out of playoff contention – they'll miss the playoffs for the first time in a decade – Hickson's setback hurts the team even more. He will undergo surgery and Shaw hopes he will be able to return by next season – along with Gallinari, McGee and possibly Robinson as they makes a push with hopefully more favorable circumstances.