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Ty Lawson, who couldn’t sit up straight for days, expected to be out ‘a little while’

Feb 11, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

Mark Ayotte, Ty Lawson

Before the season, it seemed the Nuggets had a surplus of point guards: Ty Lawson, Andre Miller and Nate Robinson.

But Miller was sent home. Robinson had season-ending surgery. And now Lawson is hurt.

Lawson, the Nuggets’ top player, broke a rib in a loss to the Pistons on Saturday. He missed Monday’s loss to the Pacers, a 39-point setback and Denver’s third straight defeat, and it doesn’t sound as if he’ll return soon.

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, via Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post:

“I would imagine it would be a little while,” Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. “I saw when he (got injured), how he writhed in pain, and it took him pretty much until (Monday) to be able to sit up straight. Luckily for us, after (Monday’s) game and Wednesday’s game we have the all-star break, so that will give us a built-in three, four, five days before our next game.”

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At 24-26, the Nuggets’ playoff hopes are faint, anyway. They’re 10th in the West and six games behind the No. 8 seed.

But attempting to play an extended stretch without a point guard – Randy Foye started at the position Monday and Evan Fournier and Jordan Hamilton filled in off the bench – will sink Denver much deeper.

The Nuggets have used five lineups that include Lawson, Miller or Robinson for at least 10 minutes this season. Predictably, they’ve floundered. Their net ratings:

  • +5.8 (34 minutes)
  • -41.4 (11 minutes)
  • -5.6 (10 minutes)
  • -7.5 (10 minutes)
  • -84.5 (10 minutes)

Perhaps, Foye, Fournier and Hamilton can adjust to their new roles and improve those lineups, but they’re starting in a deep hole. Denver definitely needs Lawson or Miller.

The only question now is whether Lawson’s rib or Shaw’s relationship with Miller heals first.

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