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Nuggets’ Gary Harris to make season debut on Saturday against Pistons

Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris (14) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 8, 2016, in Denver. The Nuggets won 102-98. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Denver Nuggets’ shooting guard Gary Harris unfortunately suffered a groin injury during the team’s first preseason game back in October. A little over a month later, Harris has finally been cleared to make his regular season debut on Saturday against the Detroit Pistons.

“He’s been cleared to play, which is great,” Nuggets’ head coach Michael Malone told the Denver Post. “He had a great session in here yesterday and looked fantastic. Obviously we’ve been really cautious with him.”

The return for the 22-year-old is surely bittersweet, given the Nuggets play in Detroit. Harris played his collegiate ball nearby in East Lansing for the Michigan State Spartans. In his final season in 2014, he averaged 16.7 points, four rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals in 32.3 minutes per game. The Nuggets scooped him up with the No. 19 overall pick in the draft while Harris forewent his final two seasons of eligibility.

Though he is chomping at the bit to eat up some minutes, the staff expects the up-and-comer to see the court, but perhaps more in a decreased role, just for safe measure.

“If we can have Gary Harris out there for 15 or 20 minutes I think that helps us,” Malone added. “Whether he starts or comes off the bench, it doesn’t really matter because of his ability to play both ends of the floor. So, it will be exciting to have Gary out there.”

Harris and the Nuggets will enter Saturday’s game versus the Pistons with an even 2-2 record to start the 2016 campaign. Both Denver wins have come on the road while the Pistons are off to a perfect 3-0 start at home.

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