Throughout the past few weeks, Denver Nuggets fans have been anxiously awaiting news regarding the status of their injured point guard Jamal Murray. It’s become clear recently that Murray is nearing the final stages of his rehab process, and so fans have had one question on their mind: Will he play this season?

As the regular season came to and end and Murray had yet to make his debut, fans begin to react in various ways. Unfortunately, some of those reactions were critical in nature towards Murray, as fans wondered why he wasn’t suiting up to play even though he had been medically cleared. During game 2 of their first round matchup with the powerhouse Golden Stare Warriors, emotions of the players boiled over in another blowout loss. After the game, it would appear emotions got the best of some fans as well, as the criticism towards Murray seemed to reach a new, and disappointing, level. Murray must have been aware of the anger and doubt directed at him, as he sent the below tweet.

It’s fair and understandable for Nuggets fans to feel upset at the situation and the hand they’ve been dealt for the second year in a row. Watching your team struggle to match up against the playoff competition merely because of injuries to significant players is frustrating.

However, in my opinion, Murray should not be the recipient of any criticism. If there’s one thing Nuggets fans should know, it’s that Murray is one of the most competitive players in the entire league. This is the player whose spirit and sheer determination propelled the Nuggets to TWO back-to-back series wins after being down 3-1. If Murray felt ready to play and as though he could contribute in a high-intensity playoff series, then he would be out there. Even if Murray’s hesitations were completely centered around his own health and well-being, and had nothing to do with how much or little he thought he could help his team win, he still would not deserve the criticisms. He has a long and hopefully prosperous career ahead of him, and his long-term health should absolutely be prioritized by him and the rest of the franchise.

All of that being said, Murray not being active for two straight playoff series is an extremely tough pill to swallow. With the very likely possibility of an early offseason for the Nuggets, it’s time for fans to appreciate what Nikola Jokic and the rest of the squad was able to do in Murray’s absence and look forward to next season when the Blue Arrow will be activated.