Nuggets forward Zeke Nnaji will remain sidelined due to a right shoulder sprain until at least mid-March. The team announced today (via Twitter) that Nnaji will have the injury reevaluated in two weeks.
Nnaji wasn’t a regular part of Denver’s rotation early in the season, but had started to play a little more often in the weeks leading up to his injury, which has kept him on the shelf since February 5. For the season, the 22-year-old has appeared in 44 games, averaging 5.1 points and 2.3 rebounds on .572/.289/.667 shooting in 13.3 minutes per night.
It’s unclear what sort of role Nnaji will have if and when he’s ready to return. Vlatko Cancar and Jeff Green are among the Nuggets forwards who have played increased roles in his absence. Denver also acquired center Thomas Bryant a few days after Nnaji went down, so there may no longer be a path to some of the minutes he was getting as a small-ball five.
Nnaji is in the third year of his rookie contract and will become extension-eligible for the first time this offseason. If he doesn’t get a new deal later this year, he’d be on track for restricted free agency in the summer of 2024.