McGee’s Injury Adds To Denver’s Woe

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – JaVale McGee‘s hope-filled season started poorly and has taken a sharp turn for the worse. McGee is out indefinitely with a fracture to his left shin, the team announced Sunday.

This season was supposed to be something of a new start for the 7-foot center renowned more for his goofiness than his contributions in his five previous seasons, three-and-a-half spent with the Washington Wizards before getting traded to Denver.

Under rookie head coach Brian Shaw, McGee expected to take over as the starter, and he did, and figured to be a focal point of an offense that was turning more traditional coming out of George Karl’s up-tempo attack. But McGee’s minutes didn’t rise; they dipped to lower levels than under former coach George Karl, just 15.8 mpg. He was averaging 7.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 1.4 bpg.

His struggles have mirrored the team’s lackluster performances leading to a 1-4 record coming off last season’s franchise-record 57 victories. Before training camp commenced, McGee, who dealt with left shin pain last season, was as juiced for this season as any previous year. He was determined to be taken seriously as a difference-making center.

“I feel like I’m extremely athletic, extremely fast, extremely agile for being a 7-foot big man and just need the right people behind me to be able to bring what has to come out to be a dominant center in the league,” McGee told NBA.com in September. “There’s a lot of things that haven’t even been [brought out] of my game that people haven’t even seen. So I just feel like this is going to be the season.

“It’s really up to the coach as to how he wants to use me. It’s up to me to work and everything, and I’m going to do that. So if I work hard and I come prepared and in shape for training camp, there’s nothing that can stop me but the coach.”

Apparently Shaw wasn’t seeing what he wanted from the big man. Because McGee wasn’t playing much, perhaps his loss won’t be as costly as it might have been if he had gotten off to the start he had hoped. Shaw told reporters he’ll either start Timofey Mozgov or undersized J.J. Hickson, the 6-foot-9 power forward who played out of position in the middle all last season for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Denver plays at winless Utah on Monday and returns home Wednesday to play the Los Angeles Lakers.

That McGee got off to such a slow start is discouraging for his future with a franchise that gave him a $44 million extension in the summer of 2012. Only 25, McGee has long been considered a talent just waiting to break out, yet is constantly sabotaged by errors or buffoonery of his own creation. He has enticing offensive skills on the block and is an excellent shot blocker, but he has never been able to put together a full repertoire and execute it.

Last season, Karl was asked why McGee couldn’t crack 18 mpg. Karl simply simply said he didn’t deserve more. Shaw apparently didn’t need to see much to be in agreement. Now McGee will sit idle as he waits for his shin to heal.

The transitioning Nuggets, meanwhile, will try to figure out how to string together consistent efforts with a roster still missing its top two forwards, Danilo Galinari, who continues to rehab from ACL surgery and Wilson Chandler, who has yet to play this season due to a hamstring injury.

McGee’s injury only adds to his personal frustration and the team’s growing challenge.

18 Comments

  1. Dre says:

    I feel bad for shaw. I hope hes relieved of his duties before this team gets even worse.

  2. Mike says:

    Hopefully the nuggets will do horrible this season, and they can draft Andrew Wiggins!!!

  3. J says:

    start him!

  4. dan says:

    jj hickson will turn out to be better then JaVale. Nuggets will be OK, no doubt, when Galinari and Chandler return. I think Wilson Chandler is one of the most underestimated players in the league. Also, I think Andre Miller should get more minutes over Nate Robinson

  5. The Claw says:

    “We are here to hang Banners not Awards” Nuggets Manager… ” I’m okay, there is KARMA on the Street” George Karl Former Denver Nuggets Head Coach. I guess they said so..

  6. Mike says:

    Does that mean the Nuggets have successfully gone from being the most exciting team in the league last season (The possibility of McGee goofs played a fair role in earning the title) to the most depressing? Now we’re just left to see the Manimal being underplayed by Shaw and Ty Lawson ball out of his mind just to keep them in most games.

  7. AC35 says:

    shouldnt have let iggy go ayeee

  8. Hooper says:

    I feel bad for Mcgee, y’know not being able to maximize his ongoing potential but lets hope for a speedy recovery and who knows , Javale may even be shaqtin a fool on the bench lol it is javale after all…..shaq is probably kicking himself now but kendrick should be able to replace javale on shaqtin a fool

  9. Ace83 says:

    @M14, that’s the first thing I thought of too!

  10. thejerr says:

    ahhhhhhh duh, should have at least kept karl

  11. okc2014 says:

    Box: For a long time. That’s your answer.

  12. Mark says:

    All the best in your recovery J.McGee. Although I believe J.Hickson will be a worthy replacement, as there’s still more to look forward to from His game, than we’ve seen to date.

  13. Box says:

    Damn! I bet the owner is feeling silly now. The executive of the year walks him, he fires George Carl for not playing McGee more, and Andre Iguodala bolts! As a long time Denver fan, I am very disappointing in what has happened. Who knows how long we will be in the dumps now :(

  14. Denver can't to playoff says:

    it is very stupid about fired Karl in this summer

  15. M14 says:

    I guess there goes Shaqtin a Fool for the season!

  16. Jim says:

    Well that’s what the Nuggets get for letting Karl and Masai go along with Iguodala.