Denver Nuggets point guard Emmanuel Mudiay suffered a sprained right ankle in Friday night’s pre-season game against the Golden State Warriors and would not return to action following the injury. He would appear in 20 minutes of action Friday, scoring nine points on 3-for-9 shooting and adding two assists.
Mudiay was the seventh overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft by the Nuggets. After originally committing to play his college ball for head coach Larry Brown at SMU, Mudiay withdrew and decided to play professionally in China with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, where he suffered a broken ankle that limited his exposure.
In his rookie campaign with Denver, Mudiay made the NBA All-Rookie Second team, starting in 66 games and averaging 12.8 points, 5.5 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game in just over 30 minutes of action per night for the Nuggets. Quickly handed the reins at the point guard position, Mudiay’s turnovers caused great consternation, averaging 3.2 per contest.
In addition to the turnovers, Mudiay shot just 31.9 percent from three-point range and knocked down just 67 percent of his free throws. But when considering he was just a 19-year-old point guard getting his first true taste of professional competition (sans the 12 games he played in China), he was given the opportunity to learn on the job.
An ankle sprain is a scary proposition for a player with a history of ankle problems, especially when Denver’s back-ups are veteran Jameer Nelson and journeyman Nate Wolters. Starting two-guard Gary Harris will already miss at least the first month of the season with a groin injury, leaving Mudiay as the only true ballhandler in Denver’s backcourt.