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Nuggets' Jamal Murray 'Not Close' to Return from Knee Injury, Mike Malone Says

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMarch 21, 2022

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told reporters that point guard Jamal Murray, who has been sidelined since last April with a torn ACL in his left knee, is "not close" to returning to the lineup.

Murray, 25, averaged 21.2 points, 4.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game last year. He suffered the injury April 12 in a game against the Golden State Warriors.

Per ESPN:

"Murray suffered what appeared to be a noncontact injury during the Nuggets' 116-107 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. He crumpled to the ground in pain, clutching his left knee and pounding the court with his hand after trying to split two Warriors defenders on a drive with 50.6 seconds remaining and the Nuggets trailing 111-104."

Murray has played with the Nuggets since they selected him with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft out of Kentucky.

Murray practiced with the Nuggets' G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Gold, last week before returning to Denver, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports.

He also spoke with Adam Caparell of Complex in an interview published March 3 to provide an update on his health:

"I'm too far to tell. I'm obviously progressing every week. But I have my bad weeks where I can't do the simple stuff and then I'll have weeks where I feel like I can jump out of the gym. It's just getting the stress pain down. Adding tolerance right now and trying to ramp it up. I don't know. I'm in a good spot, I just don't know the exact time right now."

Without Murray, the Nuggets have leaned on Monte Morris and Facundo Campazzo at point guard.

Likely back-to-back NBA MVP Nikola Jokic remains the team's best distributor, and his efforts have led to Denver sitting sixth in the Western Conference standings at 42-29 despite Murray's absence.

Still, the Nuggets are obviously a better team with Murray, whose breakout performance in the 2020 playoffs led to a Western Conference Finals appearance. He averaged 26.5 points and 6.6 assists in those playoffs.

For now, the Nuggets will be without Murray for the time being. Their regular season ends on April 10, with the postseason starting shortly thereafter.

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