The Manimal is down but not out.
Within two hours of spraining his left ankle Sunday, Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried vowed to be ready when the playoffs start within the next week.

“I know I will be out there,” he said. “I don’t care what’s going on. If I can walk, I can play.”

Faried was injured 2:40 into the first quarter when he stepped on the foot of Portland Trail Blazers rookie Will Barton while driving to the basket. He was helped off the court by teammates Quincy Miller and Anthony Randolph.

“Extremely scared,” Faried said of his initial reaction. “I never felt a pain like that a day in my life.”

Faried and the Nuggets received some good news when X-rays came back negative. An MRI is scheduled for Monday, and Faried didn’t travel to Milwaukee for Denver’s game against the Bucks.

Fighting for the No. 3 seed in the West, the Nuggets can ill afford to lose Faried, who has 31 double-doubles and is averaging 11.5 points and a team-leading 9.2 rebounds in 80 games.

Denver lost starting forward Danilo Gallinari to a season-ending knee injury on April 4. Starting point guard Ty Lawson also is recovering from a plantar fascia tear in his right foot.

“I felt we were snake bit or bad luck had come our way,” Nuggets coach George Karl said when asked about Faried. “Our karma had turned the wrong way. When he stayed down, I was worried but I don’t think anything is broken. We will find out much more (Monday).”