NUGGETS

Nuggets fans need to brace for possibility Jamal Murray is out for the year

Mar 21, 2022, 11:03 AM
Jamal Murray...
(Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)
(Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)

343 days.

It’s been nearly a year since Nuggets star point guard Jamal Murray tore his ACL late in a blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors, and Denver has sorely missed him.

Sure, MVP Nikola Jokic has done a remarkable job of keeping the team afloat in Murray’s absence, but the cracks are starting to show. The Nuggets are just 2-4 in their last six games and were embarrassed in a 124-104 loss to the Celtics on Sunday night. The fact the team is still a very respectable 42-30 is a testament to Jokic’s greatness.

But with just 10 regular season games left, fans are understandably starting to worry about Murray’s status. On Sunday night before the Boston game, reporters took the task of asking Malone for an update. The answer was not promising.

Because some freak NFL athletes are now coming back from ACL tears in 9 or 10 months, some fans thought Murray would be back by now. But every recovery is different, and this isn’t Murray’s fault. When he’s ready, he’s ready.

Right now the Nuggets are the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference and if the season ended today, they’d be in the NBA’s play-in tournament just to make the playoffs. Is is really worth rushing a rusty Murray back and potentially risking further injury for just a few postseason games? Like it or not, a championship probably isn’t happening this season. For as great as Murray is, he isn’t returning to his old form overnight.

Throw in the fact that Michael Porter Jr. has also been out since November after back surgery, and this season is getting awfully close to feeling lost. As 104.3 The Fan’s Zach Bye likes to say, it’s the year before the year. If Murray and Porter can continue to get 100 percent healthy over the summer, the Nuggets can be legitimate title contenders next year. Hurrying either back for this season and stunting their rehabs would be a waste.

And while Malone didn’t say it that clearly on Sunday night, you have to wonder if the coach is starting to feel the same way. It’s an unfortunate reality, but Nuggets fans need to brace for the possibility we don’t see Murray back this season.

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