The strained hamstring that Nuggets swingman Will Barton suffered Friday night is “significant,” coach Michael Malone said, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link). Malone added that he doesn’t expect Barton to return for the “foreseeable future.”
The injury occurred in the opening minute of a loss at Golden State as Barton felt a pop in his right hamstring area. It’s the latest in a series of costly injuries for Denver, which lost Jamal Murray to a season-ending ACL tear and is also missing Monte Morris with a hamstring issue.
Barton is averaging 12.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists through 55 games and has taken on a more significant role since Murray got hurt. He has a $14.67MM player option for next season.
Barton pledged on Twitter to be back as soon as possible. “Lil setback. Be back soon,” he wrote. “Ain’t seen the last of me this season. GOD always looking out.”
The injuries may not affect the Nuggets’ playoff seeding as they are securely lodged in the fourth spot in the West, three games ahead of the Lakers and three and a half behind the Clippers. The bigger concern is how the team will handle the postseason if other players aren’t available in addition to Murray.
Malone was unhappy with the way his team responded Friday in the wake of Barton’s injury and said there has to be more focus, no matter who is on the court.
“It’s our job,” he said. “Do your job… No Jamal Murray, somebody’s gotta step in. No Monte Morris, no Will Barton, somebody’s gotta step in. And it starts with playing hard. We did not play hard enough tonight. … That was the worst part about the loss tonight was that, give them credit, they played well, but we did not bring the requisite energy, fight, effort, whatever you want to call it.”