BOULDER – Darrell Arthur walked out of the practice court and bounced down the stairs, heading toward the team bus after the Nuggets’ Wednesday morning practice at the University of Colorado. His knees were wrapped in ice, but while that may have been an unsettling sight in the past, it’s simply a mark of maintenance now.
The veteran says his legs feel as good as they have in some time.
“My hamstring is feeling great, my knee is feeling great,” Arthur said.
And as he heads into his ninth season in the NBA, those are two huge sighs of relief. He played in only 41 games last season, mostly dealing with knee issues, but a trip to Germany to undergo platelet rich plasma therapy has done Arthur a world of good.
“I felt that it worked two days after getting my first injection,” Arthur said. “It was a five-day thing where it was one injection a day and some dry needles, and then recovery throughout the day. But after the second day of getting shots I could tell the difference in going down stairs and just walking around. It was a lot less pain. I have an arthritic knee, so I would be having pain every once in a while, but after I got that injection I didn’t have any discomfort at all. So, it was great. I will go back next summer, and probably go back every year that I’m playing just to stay on top of it.”
As a result, Arthur has been a full participant in full-contact practices at the start of training camp, something he was not able to do in last season’s camp. A comprehensive maintenance plan put together by the Nuggets training and strength staff limits Arthur’s activity on non-contact practices, but he still gets plenty of work in on the side.
“It’s just not as much pounding,” Arthur said. “It’s just being smarter this season.”
And that should allow him to put more of the solid play on the court that he displayed last season. He had the best overall shooting season of his career, making 44.2 percent from the field, a career-high 45.3 percent from the 3-point line, and a career-high 86.4 percent from the free throw line.
Recently, however, Arthur has been dealing with an unknown stomach issue that has prevented him from keeping food down in the mornings. He said he’s had the ailment since returning from Germany in July, and tests so far have come back negative. More tests are to come.
“I have no idea what is causing the stomach issues that he has,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “We’re hoping that the test results will find something where we can at least identify the problem, and then once we identify it, find a solution to it.”
Because, as both Malone and president of basketball operations, Tim Connelly, emphasize, Arthur remains an integral part of the team.
“I thought he was fantastic last year, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to stay healthy enough to play more than 40, some odd games,” Connelly said. “In attempts to better his health he had some treatments done. It seemed to help him with his knee. He’s a huge voice in the locker room. D.A. is a huge part of what we do, both on the court and in the locker room, and is one of the more well-liked and respected guys in the room. … He’s a guy that we value for both his for his voice and his play.”
Notes: Point guard Jameer Nelson (toe) and forward Kenneth Faried (illness) did not participate in Wednesday morning’s practice. … The Nuggets are expected to scrimmage in the night session of Wednesday’s two-a-day practices.
Christopher Dempsey: firstname.lastname@example.org and @chrisadempsey on Twitter.