Injury update on Nuggets’ $30-million man, Paul Millsap

Dec 30, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap sits on the bench in the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets’ $30-million man is inching closer and closer to a return to the court for the Denver Nuggets.

Paul Millsap, who injured his left wrist against the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 19, 2017, is now getting actual basketball work in with his surgically repaired left wrist. He was getting dribbling work, passing reps, and even was taking layups with each hand, as seen below.

Dribbling work:

Passing work:

Layup drills:

“He is progressing,” Michael Malone said at practice on Wednesday. “As you see, on the court, he is getting more conformable.”

More comfortable indeed. Millsap has mostly been seen doing plyometrics and conditioning drills to keep his body fit, but this was the first glimpse of him actually doing basketball activities. Nuggets’ head coach Michael Malone seemed particularly excited to see his star power forward getting closer and closer to retiring to the hardwood for the Nuggets.

“There has been a lot more activity with the ball in his hands,” Malone explained. “For a while, it was limited to conditioning, but now he is back on the court working with the ball — right hand and left hand. It is great to see him out here. It gets you excited to see when we can get him back.”

Now, the final question that remains is when will Millsap return. Malone gave the media his best “guesstimate” to reporters on Wednesday afternoon.

“I think after the All-Star break we will go back to the doctor once again and get an update on how the wrist is healing. Hopefully, slowly but surely we can reintegrate him back into practice — see how he does with that,” Malone explained. “Maybe by early to mid-March, we can get him back on the floor. That would be a guesstimate, if you will.”

While Millsap was hoping that he could return sooner than expected, that is seeming more and more unlikely by the day and, once Malone was asked if Millsap could return before the All-Star break, it became apparent that there is still quite a ways to go before Denver will get their prized free agent acquisition back on the floor.

“Before the All-Star break? Zero,” Malone said when asked if Millsap could return before the All-Star break. “Paul Millsap will definitely not be back by the All-Star break. Afterwards is when we can start to implement him back into practices. As much as I would love to have him back for these last four games, we are not going to risk the last two or three months and have a set back going into the break.”

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