The Nuggets are monitoring an unfortunate trend hampering an otherwise stellar debut NBA season for rookie guard Bones Hyland.
Nagging ankle injuries.
Hyland toughed it out Thursday at Ball Arena to play against the Hornets despite his “probable” designation entering the game. Hyland rolled his right ankle the previous night in Oklahoma City. The 21-year-old guard also missed multiple games last month after tweaking his left ankle.
“It’s been unfortunate because that ankle injury has been reoccurring, kind of nagging him throughout,” coach Michael Malone said Thursday before tipoff. “But watching him in our little brief shootaround, talking to him and our trainers, he should be able to go — which is important. He’s proven to be a guy off the bench that is a scoring spark. A guy that can get his own shot.”
Hyland broke out last week with a career-high 24 points at the Hawks. There does not appear to be long-term concern over his ankles, for now, as Hyland works back toward full health.
“I have no idea what his ankle status was coming into the draft,” Malone said. “It’s just a matter of making sure you’re taping or bracing your ankle. But sometimes you can’t prevent that. You’re out there playing and you roll it on somebody else’s foot. It happens. Now, he’s just got to do the proper rehab to avoid missing any more games.
“He’s too valuable for us to miss games.”
It is not uncommon for young NBA players to manage ankle issues, especially those with a quick-twitch explosion and build similar to Hyland. Just ask Malone. He was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors (2011-13) when future two-time league MVP Steph Curry managed his own ankle problems.
“(Curry) was rolling his ankle dribbling the ball up the floor. I’m not joking. It was a real concern,” Malone said. “The thought was: Can we build with this guy? Is he unhealthy enough? … He had surgery on all those ligaments in there and kind of tightened all that up. He’s dedicated himself to doing whatever (necessary) to be able to go out there and do his job.”
Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon was ruled out Thursday against the Hornets with a hamstring injury.
Hello LaMelo. The Nuggets welcomed one of the more exciting young players in the league to Ball Arena on Thursday night in LaMelo Ball. The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year is off to another strong start this season averaging 19.9 points, 8.2 assists and 7.6 rebounds.
Malone is impressed with the play of LaMelo and his older brother, Lonzo Ball, of the Chicago Bulls.
“They are terrific playmakers. They play with great pace. They get up and down the floor in a hurry,” Malone said. “Both (Ball) and his brother in Chicago are great at the advance pass. Everyone wants to dribble the ball. They throw the ball ahead to their teammates.”