The Nuggets won't be as short-handed as they may have thought heading into Saturday's contest.
Austin Rivers (non-COVID illness), who was initially listed as questionable, will suit up for the Nuggets in Game 1 of their Western Conference series matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Just under two hours before tip-off there was still no official word on Rivers’ status.
Nuggets head coach Mike Malone was hopeful that the seven-year veteran would be available, adding “we’re going to need him, we’re already thin in the backcourt.”
Rivers has been starting in the place of Will Barton (right hamstring strain), who remains out for Game 1.
The 28-year old guard has logged 45 playoff games, starting in six of those contests over his career.
In the postseason, he has averaged 20.2 minutes per game while recording 7.4 points, but with no Jamal Murray (ACL surgery) the Nuggets will be relying on the 6’4” guard more this series.
Along with Murray and Barton, the Nuggets will also be without PJ Dozier (right abductor strain) in Game 1.
Following both coaches’ pregame interviews Saturday, it was apparent that both squads were thankful to have the full six days off in between games, but the anticipation of starting the series is high.
“It’s time to play basketball and everybody is ready,” Coach Stotts said after talking about how valuable the rest has been, but his players are eager to get the series started.
The Blazers and Nuggets tip-off Game 1 from Ball Arena at 7:30p.m. PT Saturday on NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers.