Nuggets’ Will Barton exits game with sprained left ankle

Denver Nuggets guard Will Barton suffered a sprained left ankle during Monday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors and did not return to action. Prior to leaving the game, he scored 16 points, chipping in four rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes of action. The Nuggets fell to 1-2 with a 105-102 loss.

Barton exploded onto the scene last year, developing into the Nuggets’ primary offensive threat off the bench with an average of 14.4 points per game. He also had career-highs in rebounds (5.8) and assists (2.5) while playing in all 82 games in the season for the first time in his career.

Now in his fifth NBA season, the former second-round pick by the Portland Trail Blazers out of Memphis has gone from a marginal bench player while with Portland from 2012-14, to a key cog in the Denver rotation, especially in the absence of starting shooting guard Gary Harris.

A former five-star high school basketball recruit who played at four different schools, the 6’6″ swingman chose to play his college ball at Memphis. He made the Conference USA All-Freshman Team in his first season, before going on to win the conference’s Player of the Year Award in 2012, averaging 18 points and eight rebounds per game. He departed from Memphis after his sophomore season, opting to enter the NBA Draft.

He has scored at least 16 points in each of the first three games of the season, picking up right where he left off last season in terms of the scoring column. Upon Harris’ return, he’s expected to return to coming off the bench, but also still act as the primary scoring option on Denver’s second unit.

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