JaVale McGee injury: Nuggets center out indefinitely with stress fracture in tibia

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

The Nuggets center hits the bench for the time being.

JaVale McGee's start to the season took a downturn Sunday as the Denver Nuggets announced he will be out indefinitely due to a stress fracture in his left tibia.

The center's play early on has been indicative of the Nuggets' struggles to open the season. He is averaging seven points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a game so far, but has disappeared in games as often as he has shown up.

In the first two games of the season, McGee saw a combined 23 minutes. In the season opener against the Kings, foul trouble limited his time on the court. In the second game, he just didn't see much of it. He saw a bump in minutes in a 109-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks, and had his best game of the season in the process with 14 points.

McGee didn't see much playing time last season, averaging 18.1 minutes despite signing a four-year, $44 million contract in the offseason. The Nuggets talked about wanting to see McGee get a crack at more minutes this season, which is believed to be part of the reason why former coach George Karl lost his job.

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw will decide between Timofey Mozgov and J.J. Hickson to make the start on Tuesday against Utah. Mozgov is averaging 7.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 17 minutes a game this season, and Hickson is averaging 5.6 points and 7.4 rebounds in 21.6 minutes a game.

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