Wilson Chandler's season started late and is finishing early.
The Denver Nuggets' versatile forward needs surgery to repair a labral tear in his left hip and is done for the season.
Chandler arrived in Denver last February as part of the blockbuster trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. He played for Zhejiang Guangsha of the Chinese Basketball Association during the NBA lockout and rejoined the Nuggets a month ago, signing a five-year deal worth nearly $37 million.
The 24-year-old averaged 9.4 points and 5.1 rebounds in eight games, including six starts but spent more time on the sideline than on the court after hurting his hip.
Chandler returned to action Monday night against Houston after missing eight games, but he retreated to the bench after logging just seven minutes, saying his hip "tightened, it was really sore."
"Me and the training staff just wanted to see if there was any way possible to finish the season out," Chandler explained before the Nuggets' game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. "Sitting out is really not for me. It's the last option. Nobody wants to sit out, especially when your team starting to do really good making a playoff push and moving up in the rankings. A lot of positive things going on, it's tough to watch. I'm still happy for them, but I just want to be a part of that."
Further discussions with team doctors over the last two days, however, determined Chandler needed surgery as soon as possible.
"I think Wilson is disappointed, I think he's sad," coach George Karl said. "He came back here hoping to give us a big boost and he didn't get many games in. So, I think in general it's a disappointment to him, as it is to us."
Karl said it's his understanding that the post-surgical rehabilitation for this type of injury takes four to five months.
The goal is for Chandler to have the operation as soon as possible so he'll be healthy by the start of the 2012-13 season.
"Definitely. If I'm not playing for the rest of the season, I definitely don't want to wait until after the season to have it," Chandler said. "We're probably looking at sometime next week."