Nuggets at Blazers injury report: Is Nikola Jokic playing tonight? Jamal Murray?

Denver Nuggets v San Antonio Spurs
Denver Nuggets v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

On the surface, there may be little intrigue to the Nuggets at Trail Blazers game on Saturday night. Denver is 49-21 and chasing the number one seed in the Western Conference, hot on the heels of the Thunder who sit at 49-20.

On the other side of the equation, the Blazers are currently 19-51, sitting in 14th place in the West. They’ve long been eliminated from playoff contention and their fans are mostly counting lottery odds at this point.

They currently have the second-worst record in the West, and the fifth-worst record in the league overall. Portland has a 1.5-game lead in the standings on the Charlotte Hornets. The powers that be in Portland may be not so subtly rooting for the Hornets to leapfrog the Blazers so Portland would have top-four lottery odds in the NBA Draft.

Given the difference in trajectories for this game, it wouldn’t be a shock to see some of the Nuggets’ stars get some time off to rest. They are coming off big wins over the Timberwolves and Knicks, and after this trip to Portland, they’ll head home for a five-game homestand.

That stretch includes games against the Suns, Timberwolves, and Cavaliers. They’ll want to be well-rested for those games, and they may be fairly confident that they can beat the lowly Blazers even at less than full strength.

Nuggets injury report

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that both Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are listed as ‘Questionable’ for Saturday night. Jokic is on the report with “low back pain/left hip inflammation” and Murray is listed with a “left ankle sprain”. 

Murray hurt his ankle in the final minutes of the Knicks game. The fact that he is even questionable to play is good news and means this shouldn’t be a long-term issue either way. But again, given the circumstances of this game, it might make sense to give Jamal some extra time for his ankle to fully heal.

As for Jokic, there has been no indication that he is dealing with any injuries. His listing on the report is likely a sign that the team is considering giving their all-world big man some extra rest before the playoffs.

Zeke Nnaji (adductor), Jalen Pickett (personal), and Vlatko Cancar (knee) are all ‘Out’ for the Nuggets.

Blazers injury report

The Blazers have been dealing with a litany of injuries all season. Malcolm Brogdon (elbow), Robert Williams (knee), and Shaedon Sharpe (abdomen) have all been ruled out. Matisse Thybulle (ankle), Anfernee Simons (knee), Jerami Grant (hamstring), and Deandre Ayton (elbow) are all questionable to play for Portland.

Betting Odds

The Nuggets are currently listed as 12.5-point road favorites and the game has a total of 211.5 points.