DENVER (AP) — The Denver Nuggets will be without Jamal Murray indefinitely after the dynamic point guard suffered a torn ACL in his left knee.
The Nuggets announced the diagnosis in a statement Tuesday. It’s a big blow to a team coming off a season in which it advanced to the Western Conference finals and is hoping to make another deep postseason run.
Coach Michael Malone expressed immense concern soon after Murray’s injury. Same with his teammates and players around the league, who posted their well-wishes on social media.
Before Monday, the 24-year-old Murray had missed four games with a sore right knee. He is averaging 21.2 points and 4.8 assists this season as the Nuggets sit in fourth place in the West.
Murray drew rave reviews for his postseason performance inside the NBA bubble in Florida last season. He averaged 26.5 points and 6.6 assists to help the Nuggets overcome 3-1 series deficits against Utah and the Los Angeles Clippers before losing to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the conference finals.
This was looking like another season in which the Nuggets could challenge the top teams in the West, with Murray running the show. They also have a bona fide MVP contender in big man Nikola Jokic, who is averaging nearly a triple-double. Plus, they have a potent outside weapon in Michael Porter Jr. and depth after the addition of Aaron Gordon, who moved into the starting lineup following his acquisition from Orlando at the trade deadline.
Facundo Campazzo or Monte Morris figure to step in for Murray.
The 5-foot-11 Campazzo is a brilliant passer who can efficiently run the offense. But he doesn’t quite have Murray’s long-range abilities.
Morris doesn’t make many mistakes, with an assist-to-turnover ratio that ranks among the top in the league.
Murray showed off his offensive flair at Cleveland in February when he erupted for 50 points — and didn’t even attempt a free throw. It’s the first time in NBA history that a player went for 50 and didn’t step to the free-throw line.
He now has three career 50-point games, including two in the playoffs. It’s the most in franchise history.
Murray was the seventh overall pick out of Kentucky in 2016.