Nuggets Injury Update: Why Is Nikola Jokic Out Tonight vs Thunder?

Published 01/31/2024, 3:56 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

The Oklahoma City Thunder will be hosting the reigning NBA champions tonight and it is going to be an epic clash as it is between two top-tier franchises of the Eastern Conference. This match will mark the fourth time the two teams face off against each other with the OKC having a 2-1 advantage.

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However, the Nuggets are coming in hot as they are on a two-game win streak by defeating strong teams like the Bucks and the Sixers. But tonight they will be playing with a disadvantage as the cornerstone of their Nikola Jokic will not be participating in this matchup.

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According to the injury report, Jokic has been ruled out of the game due to lower back pain. This is the first game that the Joker will be missing since Nov. 27, which shows his high level of endurance. He has been one of the most durable players in the entire league as he has appeared for a minimum of 72 games in the 8 campaigns he has played in the NBA.

However, in the 47 games Jokic has played this season, he has carried his team to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. Not only that, he is also a frontrunner in the MVP race averaging 26.3 points, 12.1 rebounds, 9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. So, his absence will be felt by the Nuggets, but what about the Oklahoma City Thunder? Are they in such good shape that they can capitalize on the absence of Jokic?

Chet Holmgren will have to bring his A-game

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s star player, the 2x All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been incredible this season. He has appeared in 46 games and has averaged 31.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game. However, due to an illness, he is questionable in the upcoming game against the Nuggets, which is a major disadvantage for OKC. Due to that, the rookie sensation Chet Holmgren will have to guide his team to glory tonight.

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But Holmgren has been struggling to adjust to the NBA schedule and has recently seen an overall scoring drop. Currently, the 21-year-old rookie is averaging 16.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. These figures are not bad but Holmgren had been performing way better in the past, so this dip is a little concerning for the Thunder.

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However, due to the absence of Gilgeous-Alexander, the 21-year-old center will have to shoulder the responsibility of his team tonight. He even has the opportunity to show his maturity and resilience.

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So what do you think? Will he be able to aid the Oklahoma City Thunder in glory? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Dhruv Shastry

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Edited by:

Ruth John

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