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News » NUGGETS Karl glad to have Carter available Denver's coach points out the veteran guard is still a key contributor.

NUGGETS Karl glad to have Carter available Denver's coach points out the veteran guard is still a key contributor.

NUGGETS Karl glad to have Carter available Denver's coach points out the veteran guard is still a key contributor. Two days before Anthony Carter is to return to the Nuggets' lineup, his coach took a moment to defend the veteran guard.

"I'll be honest with you," George Karl said. "I think sometimes the fans have been too hard on A.C. The man has been a big part of what this team has become and is built on. And not to respect what he does is I think fanatically fanlike."

Carter has taken heat from Nuggets fans over the past couple of seasons as they clamored for a change at backup point guard, behind starter Chauncey Billups. Ty Lawson, a rookie from North Carolina, has played well for the Nuggets and, at least for the moment, is the 8-3 team's first point guard off the bench.

Carter hasn't played in the Nuggets' past two games because of a strained hip, an injury that bothered him last season. After practicing some Wednesday, Carter plans to go through a full practice today and be available to play Friday night against the Clippers in Los Angeles.

"I'm ready to roll," Carter said. "Everything is good. I'm playing."

Karl said Carter was close to suiting up for Tuesday's home game against Toronto, which the Nuggets won 130-112.

"I think he's ready to go," Karl said. "I thought he was ready to put a uniform on (Tuesday). I think we're going to have a good practice today, and we'll know."

Carter has averaged 17.1 minutes in the nine games he has played. He has averaged 3.0 points, 2.1 assists and 1.9 rebounds and shot 33.3 percent from the field, including 27.3 percent from 3-point range.

Karl reiterated the Nuggets' logjam at backup point guard is a good thing. Lawson has been one of the best rookies in the NBA so far, averaging 9.7 points, 3.4 assists, 1.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals and shooting 51.9 percent.

Lawson has averaged 5.6 assists and 1.6 steals in the past three games.

"I think the situation we have is we have a great point starter, we have a great backup and we have the best third point guard in Basketball," Karl said. "No matter how Ty and A.C. pan out (in playing time), they are the best third point guard in Basketball.

"I look at it as an asset. They are all good leaders. They are all good teammates. Everybody seems that they want to make this ugly, and it isn't ugly. It's good. It's good for this team."

Footnotes. Nuggets forward Chris Andersen had an MRI on his right knee Wednesday and no structural damage was found. He is listed as day to day with patella tendinitis. ? Karl said he's starting to settle in with the rotation, both with who is starting and who is coming off the bench. "I think Arron (Afflalo) and Ty have done a great job for guys that we didn't have last year," Karl said. "J.R. (Smith, who scored 29 points Tuesday against Toronto) has turned it up to a high level probably faster we thought he would. But we still have our problems and our windows we got to grow in."

Chris Dempsey: 303-954-1279 or

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Added: November 20, 2009


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