Per the Denver Nuggets and Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic, the Denver Nuggets will be without star point guard Jamal Murray for the remainder of the season after he suffered a torn ACL to his left knee late in the team’s 116-107 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Murray was in the midst of the best season of his career after his breakout into stardom in the bubble during the NBA’s restart last season in Orlando.
Murray had established himself as the clear second star alongside Nikola Jokic while averaging 21.2 points, 4.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game with a shooting split of .477/.408/.869 that had him just on the outside of becoming an All-Star for the first time this season. Murray had been dealing with right knee soreness as of late that had caused him to miss some time, but he had been relatively healthy all year, missing just two games until that soreness cropped up in early April.
Murray’s injury is devastating for the surging Nuggets, as it now leaves them dangerously thin at guard with just Monte Morris, Facundo Campazzo, Markus Howard, P.J. Dozier and the recently added Shaquille Harrison to fill out the guard rotation. The team’s lack of depth at the position has been exposed in Murray’s absence of late, and it will be interesting to see who steps up to fill that gap to ease the burden on Jokic.
The team recently traded guards Gary Harris and R.J. Hampton at the deadline for forward Aaron Gordon from the Orlando Magic, which had looked like an excellent move and gave Denver a great opportunity to compete for the next two seasons before Gordon hits free agency in the Summer of 2022.
Murray’s surgery and rehab will likely have him out until at least the 2021-22 All-Star break if the season were to start on time next year, and he would likely still be on a minutes restriction once he returns anyway.
This is a painful loss for the Nuggets for so many reasons, highlighted by Murray’s improved play this season and continued track toward star status. He has been one of the two most important players on the team for several years, and this will be the first extended period of time the Nuggets have spent without him or Nikola Jokić. There’s no telling how that will affect the players or the organization.