Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler will have season-ending hip surgery, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Chandler signed a four-year, $46.5 million contract extension in July and has not played since getting hurt in the preseason.
Denver had hoped that Chandler, who also had hip surgery in 2012, could build on his strong second half of last season. After the All-Star break, he averaged 14 points and 6.3 rebounds in 31.6 minutes per game, shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from 3-point range. He is a versatile defender and almost certainly would have slid back into the starting lineup had he been healthy.
With Chandler out, the Nuggets will rely heavily on Gary Harris and Will Barton on the wing. Those young players need playing time to develop, but surely the organization would have preferred to welcome the veteran back into the rotation. Chandler is the one who would normally be called upon to guard star wing players like Kevin Durant or LeBron James.
Denver was already caught between being a competitive team and a rebuilding one. This loss nudges the team toward the latter category.