Nuggets' Martin rests tender knee, misses practice

DENVER (AP) — Forward Kenyon Martin missed the Denver Nuggets' final practice before Friday night's Game 3 of their first-round matchup with Utah, resting the balky left knee that caused him to miss 18 games late in the season.

Martin was held out of Thursday's workout as a precaution. The team said his availability for Friday night's game will be determined at game time.

"The knee feels good but we want to use him for the game," acting head coach Adrian Dantley said Thursday. "He's not practicing today. He's just resting the knee."

Martin has played in five straight games for the Nuggets, including the first two playoff games, since returning April 10 from platelet rich plasma therapy to treat a severe bout of tendinitis in the knee.

Martin followed up a 12-rebound, seven-point performance in the Nuggets' 126-113 series opening win against Utah with 15 points and three rebounds in nearly 32 minutes in Monday night's 114-111 loss to the Jazz.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets flew Thursday afternoon to Salt Lake City, where they have lost five of their past six meetings with the Jazz.

Before departing, Dantley said he had a chance to meet Wednesday with coach George Karl, who continues to recover from an aggressive treatment regimen in his battle against neck and throat cancer.

"We talked some basketball and he gave me some opinions on things, what we need to do," said Dantley, who is 12-9 filling in for Karl this season, including 1-1 in the playoffs. "He feels like we'll be OK. It was a pretty good visit."

And what was Karl's biggest piece of advice?

"We can't let (Deron) Williams hurt us," Dantley said. "We have to take the ball out of his hands. That means when he comes down the court on the left side, we don't have three guys over here hugging on the guy on the weakside. That means sprint back to the paint, keep vision on Williams at all times."

Williams, helping to make up for the absence of injured Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko, sparked the Jazz in Game 2 by getting 33 points and 14 assists.