Nuggets' Jamal Murray Ruled Out vs. 76ers with Torso Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 10: Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets reacts after an injury in the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on December 10, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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 Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray was ruled out of Tuesday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers with a trunk contusion, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

Murray left the game after just five minutes following a collision with Ben Simmons, nabbing one rebound and missing his only shot of the contest.

Murray, 22, has been Denver's leading scorer this season, averaging 17.4 points, 4.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. He's shot 43.5 percent from the field and 33.6 percent from three. The Nuggets could have used him Tuesday night, as they struggled to generate consistent offense against Philly's tough defense in a 97-92 loss.

It was Denver's third straight loss and their fifth in the past six games, dropping them to 14-8 on the year and six games behind the Los Angeles Lakers (21-3) for the top seed in the Western Conference.

It's obviously too early for major concern out of Denver, which just played four road games in six days, a brutal stretch for any team. And it's unlikely that a trunk contusion will keep Murray out of action for the long term, especially considering he was originally listed as questionable to return in the second half before being ruled out. But it was telling that Denver just couldn't consistently generate offense without him in the lineup.

Will Barton gave a valiant effort, scoring 26 points, including 15 in the first quarter alone. But the Nuggets needed Nikola Jokic to carry the day offensively without Murray available, and he couldn't pull off the task, finishing with 15 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.

Murray's importance to Denver's offense was on full display Tuesday. When these teams first met, a 100-97 win for the Nuggets, Murray scored 22 points and added 11 assists. Denver missed his combination of scoring and playmaking in the rematch, even with Barton providing a spark.

The hope for Denver will be that Murray is able to return for Thursday's home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.