NUGGETS

Jamal Murray is out again, injury could linger until playoffs

Mar 29, 2024, 5:53 PM

Michael Malone has made it clear over and over again that the Denver Nuggets are focused on health first down the stretch. And yet the team has sped to a 15-3 record since the All-Star Break, gaining the team first place. Friday’s game may be their biggest one left in their last nine—a matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are second in the West and just a half-game back of the Mile High City crew.

The Nuggets will again be without their star point guard Jamal Murray, who misses a fourth-straight game with right knee inflammation. If this were the playoffs, would The Blue Arrow fight through? Maybe not, and Michael Malone isn’t quite sure when Murray will be back—even putting to question possibly the beginning of the playoffs which are a little less than a month away.

“We have one more game this month against Cleveland on Sunday, then you get into San Antonio to close this five-game homestand. So he’s out tonight and I’m not sure for the matinee game against Cleveland but I do think he’ll be back on the court before the playoffs start,” Malone said Friday. “I don’t think this is a nine-game injury where he won’t play the rest of the season heading into the postseason. I think right now it’s managing the different bumps and bruises he has and from a training standpoint passing the certain thresholds he needs to, to be cleared to play and he’s just not there yet.”

So the good news is Malone is saying he feels as though Murray will be a go once Denver gets to the playoffs. And the knee that’s bugging Murray isn’t the one that was surgically repaired, costing him the 2021-22 season.

The bad news is if it wasn’t serious, Murray would likely be playing on Friday, in what could be a huge game for playoff seeding.

“They’re a half-game behind us. You have a very tight race in the Western Conference with the three teams in the Northwest Division battling it out: us, Minnesota, and OKC,” Malone said. “So yeah, this will be a helluva challenge. They have a lot of talent… Hopefully, our guys are up for the challenge because right now, it’s one-to-one head up, and it’s really important for us to win the head-to-head tiebreaker.”

Denver is also a half-game ahead of the Thunder, who are dealing with an injury to their star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at the moment. Denver also has Nikola Jokic on the injury report again on Friday but he’s been playing through low back and hip issues.

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