Jan 14, 2011, 8:12 AM EDT
I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but amidst the ridiculous number of Carmelo Anthony trade rumors is an actual basketball team in Denver that’s still playing games now and again. They’re not bad, either, but apparently fall a bit short of Anthony’s expectations.
Regardless, Chris Andersen — Birdman and the Nuggets’ energy big extraordinaire — is ailing a bit. Andersen only plays about 20 minutes a night when healthy, but Denver has been without that 20 minutes of high-energy play for 22 of their 37 games this season. That loss hurt a bit earlier in the season (when the Nuggets were also without Kenyon Martin), but for now, the combination of Martin, Nene, and Al Harrington are able to fill in for Andersen quite easily. That’s the thing about role players: their impact of injuries, inconvenient though those injuries may be, can be mostly negated with stopgap solutions and lineup shifts.
So it’s not too much of a bother that according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, Andersen will sit out a week or so in order to rest his injured knee and back. It’s not going to affect Denver’s bottom line in any meaningful way, and the only chance that Andersen’s absence has a legitimate impact is if a Carmelo Anthony trade goes down during Andersen’s absence. The timing of a trade could render several of Denver’s players inactive (including Al Harrington or Shelden Williams, who are rumored to be involved in potential trade packages) for a game or so, and that coupled with Andersen’s injury could cause the Nuggets to dig deep into their bench (hey there, Melvin Ely) in order to fill minutes in the frontcourt. Then again, if the Nuggets opt to trade Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, does it even matter if they’re short-handed and could lose a game on depth?
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