Jokic suffered a right knee contusion late in the second quarter Tuesday night against the Jazz and was held out of the remainder of the 122-110 loss at Utah.
Wednesday morning, Jokic’s knee was feeling sore, as first reported by The Denver Post, but the star appears to have avoided a serious injury.
Jazz center Rudy Gobert was attempting to drive on Jokic along the baseline when he banged knees with him Tuesday. Jokic went down almost immediately and appeared to be in a great deal of pain as he held his right knee.
Jokic left the game with 1:54 remaining in the second quarter. He was initially listed as questionable to return by the team. But while Jokic was on the court for warm-ups at halftime, coach Mike Malone talked to his center and then made the decision to keep him out for the remainder of the game to be safe.
“He said it feels a little weak, and I just shut him down,” Malone said after the loss. “I took the decision; it’s not his decision to make.”
Malone later added: “What I have learned about Nikola is, if you leave it up to Nikola, he is going to play every game. So sometimes I have to make decisions for him, and it makes no sense for me when he told me it feels a little weak for him to play in the second half. And that is for any player. … It just didn’t make any sense to have Nikola go out there for a second night of a back-to-back and the risk of any further damage.”
The Nuggets are already without star guard Jamal Murray, who is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in April.
Jokic won his first MVP award last season and is off to a hot start. He had 24 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists and made 8 of 9 shots in 15 minutes in the first half against Utah. Jokic went into Tuesday’s game averaging 27.7 points, 16.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists.