Nuggets' Nate Robinson undergoes season-ending knee surgery
The Nuggets announced Friday that guard Nate Robinson has undergone surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee. The surgery will end Robinson's 2013-14 season, according to the Denver Post.
“It’s always tough to see one of your players go down with an injury,” Nuggets GM Tim Connelly said in a statement. “Nate is known for his heart and determination, so I have no doubt he will work hard to get back on the court as soon as possible. He has the full support of our team and organization.”
Robinson, 29, was averaging 10.4 points, 2.5 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 19.7 minutes per game this season, his first year with Denver. An explosive athlete with the ability to put up points in bunches, Robinson has been Denver's leading scorer off the bench this season.
The injury, which was initially diagnosed as a sprained ACL, occurred early during the first quarter of Denver's 101-98 home loss to Charlotte on Wednesday. Robinson sustained the injury by falling awkwardly as he contested a Gerald Henderson shot in transition. The play can be seen at the 10-second mark in the video below.
"I'm going to come back stronger, faster [and] with more bounce then ever," Robinson wrote on Instagram this week. "Thanks to all my fans who show love ... I love y'all, I will come back better than ever."
The 5-foot-9 guard signed a two-year, $4.1 million contract with the Nuggets last summer, which included a player option for the 2014-15 season. A return to the court following an ACL injury can take 9-to-12 months, or longer, suggesting that Robinson will pick up his option and return to Denver next season.
First-year coach Brian Shaw is now in a bit of a pickle when it comes to his backcourt depth. Reserve point guard Andre Miller has not played since Dec. 30 following a verbal altercation with Shaw that led to his suspension, leaving Shaw to turn to Ty Lawson, Randy Foye and Evan Fournier. Miller's name has circulated in trade rumors for more than a month, and Robinson's injury should bring the Miller affair to a crossroads: it's time to bring him back into the fold or finally ship him out.
To make matters worse, Lawson is currently sidelined with a shoulder injury, and Denver is not in position to sign a stopgap replacement at either guard position because the Nuggets are at the 15-man roster limit.
Denver entered Friday night's action sitting in the West's 11th seed with a 22-22 record, 2.5 games out of the playoffs.