Nuggets' Martin suspended indefinitely

Updated: April 27, 2006, 1:13 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

DENVER -- Kenyon Martin was unhappy about his limited playing time in Denver's playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers. Now, he won't be suiting up for the Nuggets at all.

 Kenyon Martin
Martin

The Nuggets suspended their forward indefinitely Tuesday night for what they called detrimental conduct.

"This is an internal matter that we will deal with in-house," coach George Karl said in a statement.

Sources told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith that Martin went into a profanity-laced tirade against Karl during halftime of Game 2 on Monday night.

Martin, who has been bothered by knee tendinitis all season, was dejected over his limited playing time. He played sparingly in the first half and sat out the second half of Denver's 98-87 loss to the Clippers.

Martin didn't get to the Nuggets' bench until several minutes into the third quarter and then sat with a towel over his head. He left the arena without comment, but teammate Ruben Patterson suggested Martin felt he could have played and was frustrated that he had been held out.

Hours before suspending him, Karl seemed miffed that Martin was upset over his benching.

"I will talk to him and see what's happening," Karl said Tuesday afternoon. "He told me and the staff at halftime that he couldn't go. Now, there's stuff filtering out that there's frustration there. We'll see."

Martin apparently banged his bothersome left knee in the first half while going against Elton Brand.

"He's got a heck of a matchup," Karl said. "The guy is a very physical player. I don't think people understand how big that man is. He's 260, maybe 270 pounds. I'm sure he not only hit Martin's knee, but probably hit a lot of other parts of the body."

Besides, "it's been a year of frustration for everybody," said Karl, who watched forward Nene go down for the season with a knee injury in the opener, then had to juggle his lineup all season with injuries to Martin and center Marcus Camby.

"We've always worked through it. We've always picked ourselves up," Karl said. "I trust this team is going to do the same thing on Thursday."

Before deciding to suspend Martin, Karl was asked why he wasn't giving him more minutes.

"Well, it is hard for me to visualize him actually playing 20 minutes of basketball again because he doesn't participate in practice very often. He just wants to play in the games," Karl said. "That philosophically doesn't make any sense to me. I think he has a big-time heart. I think he is a big-time competitor and he did a heck of a job in the second half against Brand for Game 1.

"Right now I evaluate all my players. I think Carmelo [Anthony] is going to go a lot of minutes, Andre [Miller] is going to get a lot of minutes, Marcus is going to get a lot of minutes. After that, I have no idea who is going to get the minutes. It's the guy who earns the minutes and who plays the way we want him to play."

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Thursday night at the Pepsi Center.

The Nuggets are accustomed to playing without Martin, who has been bothered all season by his surgically repaired left knee and began regularly sitting out games over the last month in hopes he'd be better for the playoffs, where he has traditionally stepped up his game.

He had six points and two boards in the Nuggets' 111-109 loss in Game 1, and was scoreless with one rebound in just under seven minutes in Denver's loss in Game 2.

The Clippers arrived in Denver on Tuesday to acclimate themselves to the mile-high altitude.

"I guess it's true," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said of the effect of the thin air on visiting teams. "But [as a player] I never felt it. I was in great shape. I never thought about it."

He's not taking any chances, however, as the Clippers seek their first playoff series win since moving to California in 1978.

The Clippers will practice in Denver on Wednesday to get used to the elevation.

"It's different," point guard Sam Cassell said. "But if you're going to use that as an excuse, you shouldn't play. Is it that big of a difference? We'll see."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.