Dante Exum Out Indefinitely with Knee Injury; MRI Shows Patellar Tendon Tear

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 19: Dante Exum #11 of the Utah Jazz brings the ball up court against the Golden State Warriors in a NBA game at Vivint Smart Home Arena on December 19, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

Utah Jazz point guard Dante Exum has been diagnosed with a patellar tendon tear after undergoing an MRI on Friday.

The team provided an update via Twitter:

Exum has been sidelined since Jan. 5.

After playing in all 82 games during his rookie season in 2014-15, injuries have taken their toll on Exum in recent seasons.

The 23-year-old tore his left ACL while playing for the Australian national team in August 2015 and missed the entire 2015-16 season as a result. He was limited to just 14 regular-season games in 2017-18 after undergoing shoulder surgery before the campaign began. He also missed the end of the playoffs' second round due to a hamstring strain.

Despite all of his injury concerns, Utah felt the No. 5 overall pick was worth the risk. The restricted free agent re-signed with the Jazz on a three-year, $33 million extension last offseason.

"I feel comfortable with this team, and they know what I can do," Exum told the Salt Lake Tribune's Kyle Goon in July. "It's just about getting comfortable doing that and getting the opportunity to do that."

Not only did Exum feel good entering the season, but his teammates and coaches saw a newfound "confidence" in him, resulting in success early on in 2018-19.

"It's not just on the offensive end," Jazz star Donovan Mitchell said of Exum in late December, per the Deseret News' Jody Genessy. "He's playing great defense, doing what he can to make it tough on his defender and then going ahead and running the show. That's not an easy job."

Exum is averaging 6.9 points and 2.6 assists in 42 appearances this season.

While Mitchell and Ricky Rubio may be the starting guards, the early-season trade for veteran Kyle Korver added backcourt depth while also addressing a glaring weakness (three-point shooting). 

Unfortunately for Utah, Exum hasn't been able to stay healthy throughout his career, a disappointing trend that continued this season. Given his lengthy history, the Jazz need to proceed with caution before clearing him to play.

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