Ty Lawson's smile is as wide as they come when he is asked how he likes his new life of playing additional minutes.

Then the Nuggets' starting point guard grabs at his back. Because, in the NBA, more minutes hurt.

"I love it. I love more minutes," Lawson said. "I'm just trying to maintain my body. Now that I'm playing like 40 minutes, I've got to know how to take care of (myself) — ice, massages. Different parts of my body are starting to hurt that didn't hurt before."

Lawson intends to get regular massages from now on. He said he has had just one in his five-season NBA career.

And while he's taking care of himself, coach Brian Shaw is keeping a keen eye on him as well, making sure not to overwork him.

"I always take that into consideration the next day at practice," Shaw said. "If he plays those kinds of minutes, I usually give him an option to usually try to get him to do stuff at the beginning of practice, which are team activities. And when we get into the up-and-down stuff, give him the option to sit out."

Lawson has averaged 37.8 minutes in the past five games, a period during which Shaw has begun to tighten his rotation. For the season, Lawson has averaged 34.9 minutes. His current average puts him on pace for 2,861 minutes this season, which would be the most of his career.