Nuggets’ Vlatko Cancar goes down in meaningless game, grabs knee

Aug 4, 2023, 12:41 PM | Updated: 1:10 pm

The Denver Nuggets best summer ever may have hit its first real bump in the road.

Riding high off a championship several Nuggets got invites to play for their international teams with this month’s World Cup looming which comes ahead of next year’s summer Olympics. Nikola Jokic turned down Serbia, Jamal Murray said yes to Canada and Vlatko Cancar is balling with Luka Doncic for Slovenia.

Cancar has been awesome on the global stage, stepping up his production to nearly 13 points per game at the 2020 Olympics. It’s this plus a good stretch in the middle of last season that has Nuggets brass confident he can step into the primary backup forward role Jeff Green played last year. But that plan may not play out, since Cancar appeared to get seriously injured going up for a dunk against Greece on Friday in an exhibition. He grabbed his left knee immediately after feeling something. Doncic was also hurt in the contest.

The Nuggets more or less had a clean bill of health last season after season-ending injuries to Murray and Michael Porter Jr. held them back two and three years ago. Cancar as well as fellow backup frontcourt mate Zeke Nnaji did miss some time toward year’s end but it wasn’t significant.

With veteran DeAndre Jordan back and Green gone Cancar and Nnaji are expected to be major players in backing up Nikola Jokic and Aaron Gordon this coming season. Cancar played in 60 games last season, scoring five points a game on 37% shooting from deep with a few big-time dunks to add to an ability to connect many plays together.

If Denver is without Cancar, youngster Peyton Watson could slide to the power forward slot with the new addition of Justin Holiday. And rookie Hunter Tyson who balled out at summer league could be an option for Michael Malone off the bench as well.



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