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Volleyball Coach
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A roulette wheel could do as well as a Nuggets fan in guessing how many minutes Francisco Elson will play on a given night.

Elson has eight starts and six healthy scratches this season. He has played everywhere from one to 34 minutes. There are nights like Wednesday, when Denver pounded the Charlotte Bobcats 120-101, when he doesn't know he's starting until just before tipoff.

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Denver coach George Karl said he sees Elson make the occasional youthful mistake. Even so, Karl has repeatedly crowed about the kind of frontcourt depth Elson and Eduardo Najera provide. It has been needed with injuries to Camby, Martin and Nene, who remains on the injured list with a sprained left knee.

With Denver's forwards ailing, Elson has had to bite his lip and play through a sore right foot that has bothered him most of the season.

"He is hurting," Karl said. "Sometimes the other injuries get more attention than his injuries. He's been battling through it and been very effective."

But Karl concedes that once the other forwards heal, playing time may again become an issue for Elson, who is under contract through 2006.
Elson is very effective as the 5th big man for the 4/5 rotation. More often than not, he has also been effective as a spot starter, although, he did have a very poor game against the Suns.

Hopefully once Nene returns, Elson will be able to get some rest and the Nuggets can have 5 relatively healthy big men for the playoffs.
 
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