The Denver Nuggets did not have star center Nikola Jokic for Friday night’s home game against the Phoenix Suns.
Jokic was suspended one game without pay for leaving the bench Wednesday night during an altercation between teammate Mason Plumlee and Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors, the league announced Friday.
Plumlee was fined $25,000 and Favors assessed $15,000. Both players were ejected. Jokic took steps off the bench along the baseline during the altercation but said he did not step on the court.
The 23-year-old Jokic leads the Nuggets in scoring (19.8 points per game), rebounds (10.3) and assists (7.7). He played in each of the first 46 games for the Nuggets, who entered Friday in second place in the Western Conference, two games behind the Golden State Warriors.
—The sprained wrist that has kept Philadelphia 76ers swingman Jimmy Butler from playing the past two games was scheduled to be examined by a specialist in Los Angeles, the team announced.
Butler, who has averaged 19.0 points in 28 games since Philadelphia acquired him in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, last played Saturday at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder, scoring 18 points in 38 minutes in a 117-115 loss. He did not suit up in victories against the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs this week.
Butler, who had surgery on his right hand this past offseason, is expected to rejoin the team for a game against the Nuggets in Denver on Saturday, but his playing status remains unknown.
—Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson will miss approximately two more weeks due to his sprained left foot, the team announced.
Thompson missed his fifth game because of the injury when the Cavaliers hosted the Miami Heat on Friday.
Thompson also sat out 10 games in December because of an injury to his left foot. He returned to play in eight games before suffering another injury to the foot against the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 16.
—New York Knicks point guard Emmanuel Mudiay will miss at least two weeks with a left shoulder strain, coach David Fizdale told reporters.
Meeting with reporters prior to Friday’s contest against the Brooklyn Nets, Fizdale said Mudiay will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Mudiay was injured during Wednesday’s 114-110 loss to the Houston Rockets.
—Chris Paul, sidelined for five weeks with a hamstring injury, should be back in the lineup on Sunday when the Houston Rockets host the Orlando Magic, said head coach Mike D’Antoni.
Speaking after the team’s shootaround, D’Antoni all but ruled out a Friday night return against the Toronto Raptors.
The injury is to Paul’s left hamstring, the opposite leg that caused him to miss Game 6 and Game 7 of the Western Conference finals last postseason. The nine-time All-Star is averaging 15.6 points, eight assists and four rebounds per game in 26 contests this season.
—Thumb surgery has been recommended for the Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie, but the guard might elect to postpone the procedure and resume playing this season.
Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson confirmed the surgery diagnosis before Friday’s game against the New York Knicks, according to multiple reports. Whether the surgery for torn ligaments on the right thumb takes place soon, though, has not been decided. Atkinson said doctors, Dinwiddie and his family will make the final decision.
On Thursday, Dinwiddie was trying to determine the severity of his thumb injury with specialists. He last played Wednesday, scoring 29 points in a 114-110 victory over the Orlando Magic. He was originally ruled questionable for Friday night’s game and has now been ruled out of that contest, according to the Nets.
—A change of heart has made Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. change his mind about the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
A source confirmed to ESPN that Smith will compete in the All-Star Weekend event after getting eliminated in the first round last year, then dissing it in September.
Heading into the 2018-19 season after his rookie year, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound guard from North Carolina State criticized the event and “the gimmicks and everything that go with it.”
—Field Level Media