DENVER - Those four-guard lineups with which Nuggets coach George Karl has experimented might be used more often in the coming weeks. Center Marcus Camby had surgery Thursday on his fractured right pinkie, and he will be out indefinitely, according to the team.
The loss of Camby, who will be evaluated weekly, leaves a gaping hole for the Nuggets, who are already plagued by injury, especially in the frontcourt. “We’ve just got to get healthy,” Karl said. “And we’ve been saying that for three, four, five, six weeks now.” Camby sprained the finger during a Dec. 14 practice in Cleveland and then fractured it Monday against Golden State. He tried to play with pain Wednesday but lasted just more than six minutes in a loss to Philadelphia. Thursday he had pins surgically inserted into the finger. The oft-injured Camby, who never played more than 66 regular season games in his first nine years in the league, was well on his way to the best season of his career. He is averaging 16.3 points per game (1.5 higher than his best season average), a league-high 12.9 rebounds per game (1.4 better than his best season average) and 3.1 blocks per game (the second-best mark in the league). His play had sparked talk of Camby making his first All-Star Game. Now, that might not happen. “I still have a lot of years left,” Camby said. “I’m not so (hard)-pressed about making the All-Star team.” Denver already was without 6-foot-11 power forward Nene, who likely will miss the rest of the year with a knee injury he sustained in the season opener. And forward Kenyon Martin’s status has been dicey all season. He has missed 10 games and played sparingly in others because of soreness in his surgically repaired left knee and a bruised right thigh. The injury woes haven’t been limited to Camby, Nene and Martin — Denver’s top three big men. Carmelo Anthony, Earl Boykins, Greg Buckner and Francisco Elson all have missed at least one game this year. “We’re still OK, and we have plenty of time to be a good basketball team,” Karl said. “I think the thing right now is to stay confident and optimistic.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0365 or email@example.com