DENVER — As if a 15-game losing streak wasnt bad enough, the end of a four-game West Coast trip left the Charlotte Bobcats with a serious injury.
Near the conclusion of the Bobcats 110-88 blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets, Charlotte big man Byron Mullens got his feet tangled with other players and took a hard fall. An X-ray to detect a fracture was negative, but Mullens appears to have a severe sprain of his left ankle.
From my eyes its not good, said Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap.
Mullens wasnt available for comment following the game, but he had to be carried off the court by teammates, seemingly in heavy pain. He returned to the locker room, following the X-ray, on crutches, his ankle wrapped so heavily he could have been a mummy,
Mullens has started 25 of the Bobcats 26 games this season. He is their leading rebounder at 7.6 per game on a team with severe rebounding concerns. And hes fifth in scoring at 11.5 per game.
The Bobcats were already missing starting shooting guard Gerald Henderson (shin contusion) and reserve scorer Ben Gordon (sore knee). While its unclear if Henderson or Gordon will miss any more games, neither injury appears serious.
Shorthanded and tired from their fourth game in five nights, the Bobcats (7-20) didnt put up much resistance Saturday. At-the-rim defense has been a problem for this team from the start of last season, and the Nuggets scored a remarkable 78 points in the lane.
Seven different Nuggets scored at least 10 points on a variety of dunks, layups and finger-rolls. It was quite a show.
Dunlap said his team contributed to Denvers dances to the basket with some ill-timed turnovers, primarily in the second quarter (five).
We cant constantly give up easy baskets-off-turnover, said Dunlap, who was in a homecoming of sorts. He built Denver-based Metro State into a Division II basketball power before joining the Nuggets staff for two seasons as an assistant to coach George Karl.
The Bobcats could have been blown out by more Saturday, but backup point guard Ramon Sessions had a big game with 23 points off 8-of-13 shooting from the field. This was the second straight game when the Bobcats gave up at least 110 points and over 50 percent shooting.
Denver is always known as a team that spaces (the court) well, Sessions said. Our rotations were kind of late and they spaced us out all night.