The Denver Nuggets were 24-24 and hanging in the outside range of the playoff race when Ty Lawson broke his rib.
The good news: Lawson is returning.
Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post:
The bad news: It’s almost certainly too late for this season.
With no viable alternative point guard, the Nuggets went 1-9 in Lawson’s absence, their slim playoff hopes drifting away.
Denver even traded for Aaron Brooks, but he couldn’t turn the tide. The Nuggets have been torched with him on the floor, getting outscored by 27.7 points per 100 possessions.
Lawson will help. He’s an All-Star-caliber player, and it’s only a matter of time until he’s recognized with the honor.
Before that, maybe he’ll help the Nuggets win a few extra games this season. Denver will send the lower of its and New York’s first rounders to Orlando, so tanking could help the Nuggets – but not as much as a typical lottery team.
Really, Denver should just enjoy having its whiz-bang point guard back in the lineup and get some momentum going toward next year.