DENVER - It's not much, but for the 76ers right now, any change of scenery is welcome.

Tonight, they begin a grueling five-game Western road trip against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.

One Nugget is expected to be missing from the lineup: star forward Carmelo Anthony, who is averaging 20.5 points and 7.4 rebounds a game.

Anthony has missed the last two games because of a bruised right elbow.

The 18-11 Nuggets are the first in a strong string of Sixers opponents, including the Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, and San Antonio Spurs. (The not-so-hot Los Angeles Clippers will follow the Jazz.)

The combined record of those five opponents was 77-65 entering last night's games. Other than the Clippers, who are 8-20, each is in the mix in the Western Conference.

The Sixers, who practiced in Philadelphia yesterday before flying to Denver, are 12-16.

The Nuggets lost at Portland, 101-92, on Tuesday, then had two days off.

The Sixers' Willie Green, who was starting at shooting guard before aggravating his sore left ankle Saturday against the Indiana Pacers, will be a game-time decision tonight. Green missed Tuesday's loss in Boston.

Against the Celtics, the Sixers started point guard Andre Miller, shooting guard Kareem Rush, small forward Andre Iguodala, power forward Thaddeus Young, and center Samuel Dalembert.

This trip could be a good opportunity for the Sixers to escape what has been a tough start to the season.

"That's the schedule. That's what we have to do," head coach Tony DiLeo said of these 10 days away from home. "But maybe there will be some team bonding. There won't be a lot of distractions. We'll be out there as a team."