Despite previously expressed hope that he was nearing a return, Nuggets wing Will Barton is expected to remain sidelined for the rest of the Western Conference Finals, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
After initially accompanying his teammates on the Walt Disney World campus, Barton left Orlando in mid-August to rehab a nagging right knee injury in Miami. A report early in Denver’s second-round series vs. the Clippers indicated that Barton was doing “everything in his power” to make it back and hadn’t ruled out playing before the end of the Western semifinals.
However, Barton remains on the shelf, with Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly admitting last week that there’s still no timetable for the 29-year-old’s return. With Denver once again just a couple losses away from elimination, the door may be closing on the possibility of a Barton comeback this summer, though the club has shown in previous rounds that it’s capable of fighting back from a two-game deficit.
While the Nuggets have gotten by without Barton so far this summer, he was a valuable part of the team’s rotation during the regular season, averaging 15.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 3.7 APG on .450/.375/.767 shooting in 58 starts (33.0 MPG). Jerami Grant is currently occupying Barton’s spot in the starting lineup.