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Nuggets’ Jarred Vanderbilt Still “A ways away” From Making A Return

Denver Nuggets forward Jarred Vanderbilt is still “a ways away” from making a return to the court, according to head coach Mike Malone.

Vanderbilt has been plagued by injuries since before he even stepped foot on Kentucky’s campus and those nagging issues have followed him to the pros.

The second-round pick signed a three-year, $4 million deal back in July with the expectation that his rookie season in the NBA may be a lost one.

The foot/ankle problems that caused him to miss all but 14 games during his freshman year at Kentucky are still affecting him at the next level. It’s unclear at this point what type of player Vanderbilt will be when he does finally get to full health, but there is a sense that the Nuggets want to keep him for the long haul.

Vanderbilt averaged 5.9 points and 7.9 rebounds in 17.0 minutes per game when he was “healthy” at Kentucky and was one of the most unique prospects that has ever come through Lexington.

A healthy Vanderbilt could be perfectly molded for today’s NBA. Despite not having a consistent outside shot, Vanderbilt’s ability to run the floor and pass with both flair and accuracy for a big man is invaluable. He was an elite rebounder during his time at Kentucky and could pair perfectly next to Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic.

At this point, it doesn’t sound too optimistic that Vanderbilt is going to see the court anytime soon or even before the regular season ends. But, the Nuggets don’t necessarily need him right now and appear content with letting him return to full strength before they think about seriously incorporating him into their plans.

Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Recruiting reporter for KSR. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR

30 Comments for Nuggets’ Jarred Vanderbilt Still “A ways away” From Making A Return

  1. CoachCat
    7:21 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink


  2. BluejayK
    7:24 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

    He may be the only guy in the NBA that came through here that I will probably never real root for. I wish him nothing but the best, but as for following his career….. nah, I’m good….

    • BBNDan7
      7:29 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

      Thank you for this comment, we are all better knowing that you won’t root for him

    • dismore
      9:05 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

      And we are all better knowing that you cared about BluejayK’s comment.

    • KYJelly
      10:03 am October 29, 2018 Permalink

      It’s a forum … commenting on the topic or what other people post.

      I’m not going to hate the kid for being injury prone. He was clearly talented and the injury seems to have been serious, Cal was looking out for the kids future by playing coy in the subject. He is a Cat.

  3. jimmer
    7:32 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

    Good luck to him but dole this headline under “News that doesn’t surprise anyone .” At least he moved on and isn’t still a scholarship holder.

  4. Bobbum Man
    7:49 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

    Sheesh some fans are just pathetic… chances are calipari wouldn’t let him play and jeopardize his future regardless of if he wanted to play at UK or not. Most likely is he was just honestly too injured and something that could be made much worse by playing on it. As someone who’s dealt with a very long multi year multi surgery injury I can tell you it’s as tough mentally as it is physically, maybe he just wasn’t ready or didn’t know how to deal with it. Regardless I wish him all the best and hope he gets the chance to go at full strength he could be a very fun player to watch

    • Wade
      8:03 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

      Cal was challenging him but what I saw was he was fragile and tried to hide a bit but coulda been more to it. Either way I ain’t mad at him players first, get your money. Live your best life and all that. Move on to the guys that want to be here now!

  5. Wade
    7:53 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

    He’s really worth getting 100%, and I can’t believe people bashing him. He’s a elite rebounder. I wanted him to play too but whatever, revolving door. He won’t be remembered here. Unfortunately we will get used sometimes ,not saying he didn’t love ky. just not as much as us crazy’s do. Go cats.

    • zoupman
      8:09 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

      Not a team player. Don’t wish him ill will, but have no love for the guy.

    • JoeMoney333
      8:40 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

      What team did you play on with him?

    • philbo
      9:07 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

      I never knew him and didn’t play on a team he was on. So I can’t judge him as a teammate. I’m not a doctor either so I wont diagnose his medical condition.

      I think one of UK’s greats, Sam Bowie had chronic leg issues. But I’m not a doctor, just what I read.

  6. Eazy19035597
    7:56 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an Ankle sprain last a year and a half

    • syrin23
      9:35 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

      It’s longer than that, and then there were the pictures of him playing pick up games but then being out for 6 more weeks, his dad saying he was fine then being out a month. We still don’t know what his injury actually was.

  7. addyjaxlarkin
    8:12 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

    Wish him the best I just like most fans always knew there was more to his injury than what was made public. He’s right where he needs to be the NBA will give him the patient’s he needs. I think last year his injury became a huge distraction and was very frustrating to the fan base. Due to the lack of knowledge of the extent of the injury. I personally got sick and tired of saying comments and articles about if or when he was going to play. Absolute beast of a rebounder but a definite liability on offense.

  8. sprtphan
    8:24 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

    Good move Denver.

  9. kjd
    8:45 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

    No surprise here.
    Surprise will be if he actually plays for 75% of a NBA season.

  10. UKCatAttack
    8:54 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

    I was skeptical of his injury status while at UK but I think it’s clear something is really wrong with him or else he would be playing in the league. I hope he gets healthy and stays healthy. It’s certainly not fair to call him selfish.

  11. Wilfred Smith
    9:16 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

    This kid is lucky he’s not a horse.

    • Brutal Hustler
      9:44 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink

      Idk, I don’t think his injuries would keep him from doing what they do with horses with great genes.

  12. DelrayCat
    9:26 pm October 28, 2018 Permalink


  13. Irish son
    2:34 am October 29, 2018 Permalink

    Jesus, this guy will be drawing a social security disability pension by the time he’s 30. His nickname is the candle, one blow and he’s out

  14. michaelb
    2:41 am October 29, 2018 Permalink

    This has been the same news/status for this guy for the last 21 months

  15. michaelb
    2:48 am October 29, 2018 Permalink

    Why is this guys injuries the only ones that remain private ?

  16. Urincatland
    3:24 am October 29, 2018 Permalink

    Not surprising!

  17. Rise
    4:59 am October 29, 2018 Permalink

    I will be honest, I forgot all about Jared Vanderbilt until I seen this.

  18. chris43
    7:27 pm October 29, 2018 Permalink

    Truly hate it for him. Hell of a player but can’t seem to stay healthy. I would have loved to watch him play a full season healthy at UK but it just wasn’t meant to be. I can’t blame him a bit for getting the $$$$ considering his injury history.