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News » NUGGETS Rest, practice time top priorities now After a tough stretch of games, the goal is to get players healthy and fix mistak

NUGGETS Rest, practice time top priorities now After a tough stretch of games, the goal is to get players healthy and fix mistak

NUGGETS Rest, practice time top priorities now After a tough stretch of games, the goal is to get players healthy and fix mistakThe Nuggets are not an excuse-laden bunch, but they are realists.

And the reality of the situation is when struggles came on the road before Denver's eye-opening win at home Friday night over the Lakers, the Nuggets needed to get on the practice court.

Now, they'll get that chance.

"We probably practiced twice in about 16 days," guard Chauncey Billups said of the long stretch at the start of the season.

The schedule - which had the Nuggets play seven games in 10 days, six of those on the road and those six split up into three sets of back-to-backs - settles down a bit.

The Nuggets have three days' rest before their next game Tuesday night against Toronto at the Pepsi Center.

"It's well-needed," Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin said. "We need to get the practice in. We need to get better. We need to work on the things we need to work on. At the same time, we need these couple of days to get bodies healed."

Martin ought to know. He's one of them.

The big man has been dealing with a bruised leg for the past few days. He's played through the pain in order to help the Nuggets keep some sort of stability on the defensive end.

"I'm still hurting a little bit," Martin acknowledged. "But I'm going to play, though. My teammates need me, so I'm going to be out there. I'll be all right. We have a few days where I can rest."

Guard Anthony Carter is resting a hip strain.

He did not dress for Friday's game against the Lakers but is working to be available for Tuesday's game.

The Nuggets took Saturday off, part rest and part reward for playing inspired Basketball in a 105-79 win over the Lakers, who were held to eight points in the third quarter. Kobe Bryant didn't score a point in the second half, though he did not play in the fourth quarter because the game was out of hand.

But Nuggets coach George Karl is ready to get his team back into the gym. The team last practiced Monday before the game at Chicago.

"You don't get pretty with that type of schedule," Karl said. "In this league, when you make mistakes, you've got to go to the practice court to fix them. We haven't had that opportunity. We will this week."

The team gets back to practice today.

"It'll be cool," Karl said. "I think everybody is wanting to tune up our priorities that have been weakened a little bit and tune up our offensive flow a little bit.

"I never want to be the best team in November. I just want to have a good record in November."

According to Billups, the 7-3 Nuggets still are working toward hitting their stride.

"We've got a long way to go," Billups said. "We don't really know what our rotation is, as far as who is going to play what minutes. It will fall in place at some point, but right now it really hasn't.

"But one thing we know is we're going to play extremely hard every night. And we will continue to be one of the elite teams in the league."

Chris Dempsey: 303-954-1279 or

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 17, 2009


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