In Friday’s game between the Denver Nuggets and the Dallas Mavericks, former Trail Blazer J.J. Hickson sustained what was believed to be a right knee sprain. The results from yesterday’s MRI revealed that he had, in fact, torn his ACL. Hickson will miss the remainder of the season and probably a good portion of next season. ACL tears are tricky, and the recovery time can range from Ricky Rubio/Iman Shumpert (9 months) to Derrick Rose (18 months).
Just like he did in Portland, Hickson played center for the Nuggets, despite being undersized. This allowed him to play alongside starting power forward Kenneth Faried, and gave the Nuggets a reasonable replacement for JaVale McGee (tibia fracture). The Nuggets are now down to just Timofey Mozgov at center, who will become Denver’s third starting center this season. Denver (32-38) has not been mathematically eliminated from possible playoff contention yet, but that’s merely a formality at this point.
Though Hickson was not the right fit with the Trail Blazers (2012-2013), he was widely embraced by a team hurting for anyone to play the five. His energy on the glass gave the fans something to smile about, even if it came at a detriment to defense. No one likes to see a player get injured (I hope), but I feel an added sense of loss because of the bond that once existed. Rip City invested in Hickson’s future when nobody wanted him, and I continue to pull for his success.
So here’s hoping that Hickson has a speedy recovery and comes back even stronger than before. His contract in Denver is inked through 2016 at over $5M per season. I’m sure he’s eager to return as soon as possible in order to aid his team in their future playoff aspirations for years to come. There is no guarantee that he will be able to do so, as an ACL tear is no trifling trauma.