The Golden State Warriors got a double dose of bad news Sunday.
They learned All-Star forward David Lee had torn his right hip flexor, as feared, ending his season.
So, they’ll have to continue their playoff series against Denver without the NBA’s leader in double-doubles.
Making that task all the more difficult will be the return of the Nuggets’ top rebounder and energizer, Kenneth Faried, from an injured ankle.
Faried sat out the opener Saturday, when the Nuggets edged Golden State 97-95 despite getting outrebounded 55-45.
“Whoa, I didn’t know that,” Faried said Sunday after declaring he’d be back in action Tuesday night in Game 2. “That can’t be happening. It’s playoff basketball and that’s one of the biggest keys. … Every possession counts and they’re that much more valuable in the playoffs. You need to secure rebounds and lock the ball down and make sure we can start our break and have that fun and flair that the Nuggets play.”
The Nuggets haven’t been winning as handily as they did before Faried went down with a sprained left ankle on April 14. He wanted to play Saturday but by keeping him on the bench, he’ll get another 72 hours of rest and rehab.
“He’s our hustle guy, he’s our rebounder,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “Last night I think we missed him. You’ve got two teams that like to run and when you take your best runner off the court it’s going to affect the flow of the game. And his offensive rebounding is probably the reason why we’re No. 1 in offensive rebounding, point blank. He’s the guy that always goes and is always there.”
The matchup of Lee and Faried was billed as a headliner in this first-round series pitting two high-octane teams that like to get up and down the floor.
“It would have been exciting,” Faried said.