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Nuggets start season without fans at Ball Arena court

The Nuggets home opener is set for Dec. 16; the first preseason game is on Dec. 12 in San Francisco.

DENVER — The Denver Nuggets announced Tuesday they will begin the 2020-21 season without fans at their home, Ball Arena. 

The Nuggets first preseason game is Saturday, Dec. 12 in San Francisco. The first home game is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 16 at Ball Arena against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The NBA regular season is expected to begin Tuesday, Dec. 22.

"Due to current state and local guidelines, we will not be able to host fans at Ball Arena at this time," said the Nuggets in a statement.

The Nuggets said all ticket holders would be notified directly of any changes to their tickets.

> Above video: Grading the Nuggets' draft

"As we navigate COVID-19 together, we share your excitement for the return of basketball," read a team statement. "The Denver Nuggets, along with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, will continue to work closely with state and local authorities to navigate the safest return to hosting fans in Ball Arena. We remain committed to taking all necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of our players, employees and fans."

The Nuggets are looking to contend for an NBA Championship this season after making it to the Western Conference Finals in the NBA's "bubble" in Orlando in September.

The NBA announced in November that teams will next play a 72-game season that will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

RELATED: NBA comes back on Dec. 22 for a 72-game season

The NBA continues to work on health and safety protocols now that games won't be played in the safety of a bubble and teams will be traveling to various cities.

For the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers and Eastern Conference champion Heat teams, it will be the shortest offseason in NBA history — with seven weeks separating the end of the finals and the start of training camp.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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