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Nuggets' Nikola Jokic exits game vs. Bulls with left ankle sprain

DENVER -- Nuggets center Nikola Jokic left the Thursday's 111-110 win over the Chicago Bulls with a sprained left ankle.

X-rays on the ankle were negative. Further evaluation was set for Friday, but there is cautious optimism the injury is no more than a sprain, a league source told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Jokic went down in the final minute of the first half when he drove to the basket and stepped on Jerian Grant's foot. Coach Michael Malone said after the game that Jokic would get treatment, and his status for Saturday's game is unknown.

Jokic hit two free throws before heading to the locker room with an obvious limp. He joins Paul Millsap (wrist surgery) and Wilson Chandler (back injury) on the sidelines.

"We were already without Paul and Wilson, Joke goes down, it was like, 'Man, we just can't lose this game,''' Nuggets guard Will Barton said.

Barton capped a career-high 37 points with a driving layup with 3.2 seconds left to seal the win.

"I just wanted to step it up. It was definitely one of my biggest games here,'' Barton said.

When Jokic tried to walk to the locker room after getting hurt, Nuggets forward Richard Jefferson ran over and stopped him. The 16-year veteran told the 22-year-old center he needed to take his foul shots before leaving.

"It was chaotic. It was a timeout, and he was saying he was done,'' Jefferson said. "I was like, 'Dude, if don't go and shoot the free throws, one, the other team gets to pick who shoots them, and two, if you go back in the half and you start feeling a little better, you can't come back.'''

Jokic finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.