Nuggets’ Will Barton not expected to return for Western Conference Finals

Photo: Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Despite some recent optimism about nearing a return, Denver Nuggets forward Will Barton is expected to miss the rest of the Western Conference Finals.

Barton, who has not played in the NBA restart, is continuing to rehab his nagging right knee injury.

The 29-year-old initially traveled to Orlando with the team, but left the NBA campus in mid-August to get a second opinion after his knee issues led to soreness in other parts of his body.

Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly recently gave an update on Barton’s status.

“He’s such a huge part of our team. He’s working his tail off to try to get right,” Connelly said. “We thought the resources that were available outside the bubble would be better suited to get him there. There’s no timetable, but even though he’s not here physically, he’s certainly here in spirit.”

Barton was a key contributor for the Nuggets in the regular season, averaging 15.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game in 58 games.

If the Nuggets were to overcome their 2-0 series deficit to the Los Angeles Lakers and Barton somehow got cleared for the NBA Finals, it would be hard to imagine him playing a key role after missing so many games.

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