Martin to play against Spurs
Nuggets acting head coach Adrian Dantley announced Martin's status Saturday ahead of Denver's night game against the Spurs.
"Yes, I expect him to play and try to get him minutes," Dantley said after the morning shootaround. "We're going to bring him along slow and see how it goes. Maybe 20-25 minutes, five minutes a quarter, maybe one quarter go seven minutes."
Martin was noncommittal about his status as he walked past the media into the Nuggets' locker room. Martin said the decision to play was up to him and declared himself a "game-time decision."
He said he didn't do much during the morning shootaround, but teammate Arron Afflalo said Martin looked good.
"I'm excited. I'm sure he is, too," Afflalo said. "He's been out a while and from him sitting on the sideline he really could see where he helps us be a better basketball team."
Martin, who is averaging 11.8 points and 9.6 rebounds in 55 games, hasn't played since March 3. He opted to undergo platelet-rich plasma therapy on the knee instead of having surgery.
In the procedure, a tube of a patient's blood is taken and put in a centrifuge and spun, producing concentrated platelets. Those contain growth factors thought to accelerate tissue repair and regeneration. The platelets are then injected into the injury site.
Martin said Thursday he had hoped to return to the lineup before the postseason.
"I just don't want to go out there rusty, right into a game situation," Martin said. "I've got to do one of these last three [before the playoffs] if I'm going to play."
Dantley said trainer Jim Gillen and strength and conditioning coach Steve Hess will help monitor Martin's minutes going against former MVP Tim Duncan.
"They have a certain time where he should [be] and certain minutes," Dantley said. "They don't want him to injure himself. Coming back and facing Duncan after missing  games, that's quite a task."
The Nuggets went 12-6 after Martin was shut down. They are a half-game ahead of Utah in the Northwest Division and can clinch their second straight division title by winning their last two home games.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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