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In Street Clothes

Covering sports injuries from the perspective of a certified athletic trainer and backed by analytics.

Denver Nuggets

Summary

The Denver Nuggets improved their win total for the third straight season and narrowly missed out on their first playoff berth since 2013. A turnaround in health contributed to the improvement as they avoided the severe injuries that have handcuffed the team for the last several seasons. However, multiple minor injuries to Danilo Gallinari, Will Barton, Gary Harris, and Kenneth Faried stretched their depth and elevated their injury totals. Things would have been even worse if rookie Jamal Murray hadn’t shown his resilience, playing through a sports hernia for most the season.

The Nuggets let the often-injured Gallinari walk in the offseason, replacing him with the more durable Paul Millsap. The four-time All-Star has missed a total of 42 games to injury during his 11-year career, a stark contrast from Gallinari who averaged 30 lost games a season in his five and half seasons with the Nuggets. Pairing Millsap with the up-and-coming Nikola Jokic should bolster their front court while providing valuable consistency.

While Dan Shimensky remains the head athletic trainer, there will be a new face on the Denver bench. Steve Hess, the only strength and conditioning coach the franchise has ever know, stepped down in the offseason. Hess, a man beloved by players and fans alike, will still serve as a consultant. Felipe Eichenberger will take over after serving as the associate head strength and conditioning coach last season. Eichenberger will work closely with Shimensky to continue the team’s advancement in overall health with an eye on returning to the postseason.