Denver Nuggets shooting guard Rudy Fernandez (5) goes up for a layup past Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee (10) February 9, 2012 at Pepsi
Denver Nuggets shooting guard Rudy Fernandez (5) goes up for a layup past Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee (10) February 9, 2012 at Pepsi Center. (John Leyba/The Denver Post)

Nuggets swingman Rudy Fernandez is headed back to Spain today to start rehabilitation on his back. He had back surgery on March 29 after spending much of the season trying to play through the pain.

According to Fernandez, rehabilitation time should take 10 weeks. He'll work with doctors and trainers associated with Spain's national basketball team.

He played many games this season while battling through a lower back strain, including pain that he called "probably the worst feeling I feel in my life. I was in pain when I slept, everything."

Now, after surgery, he said things have improved.

"Right now I don't have the pain, so I'm feeling better," Fernandez said. "And right now I'm so happy that the surgery was good. I know the doctors were very happy with the procedure."

When he played, Fernandez was a key reserve. He averaged 8.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and a steal in 21 games this season. Fernandez was counted on to help provide perimeter scoring punch from the bench, a role J.R. Smith had a season ago.

He said the Nuggets have never pressed him to come back quickly.

"I think right now my focus is the recovery," he said. "Right now, it's go to Spain, recover there with good professionals from the national team in Spain. I think it's good for me and for the team too."

Chandler has hip injury. Additional tests and evaluations — including two MRI tests — revealed that Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler has a left hip strain. The team originally called his injury a groin strain. Chandler, who has played in just seven games, is listed as day to day.

Christopher Dempsey, The Denver Post