Nuggets guard Markus Howard, who left Wednesday’s loss to Minnesota in the fourth quarter due to a left knee injury, has been diagnosed with a sprained knee and will be reevaluated in six weeks, the team announced today (via Twitter).
While it’s a relief that Howard didn’t sustain a more significant injury, it’s still tough news for the second-year guard, who is playing on a two-way contract with Denver for a second consecutive year.
After logging limited minutes in 37 games as a rookie in 2020/21, Howard has averaged 4.3 PPG on .355/.391/.875 shooting in 16 games (7.3 MPG) this season. He had recently entered the team’s regular rotation, averaging 16.7 MPG in the last three games, so the timing is unfortunate — he’ll likely have to earn those minutes back when he eventually returns to action.
Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter links) notes that Howard’s absence could reopen the door for the Nuggets to be granted a hardship exception, since Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., and PJ Dozier are also out with long-term injuries. In that scenario, Denver could circle back to Davon Reed, who made a positive impression during his 10 days with the club earlier this month, says Singer.
According to Singer (Twitter link), the Nuggets have also placed Porter in the health and safety protocols. That won’t have any tangible effect on the team’s lineup or rotation, since MPJ is expected to remain on the shelf all season as he recovers from back surgery.