The Denver Nuggets finished the 2020-21 season without Jamal Murray, and the point guard is still unavailable for selection. Based on the injury Murray sustained, he might be out until March 1, at the earliest, according to CBS Sports.
Although he is not fit to play, he has been present at every Denver Nuggets game this season, cheering for his teammates from the sidelines. In a game against the Chicago Bulls, Jamal Murray was mic'd up, and he had some interesting things to say.
He started cautiously, commenting on how he could not say anything crazy. But as the game progressed, Murray started to get a bit more comfortable. In all, he gave his team kudos for how well they have played so far, stating that they are fine without him on the floor.
"If we play like this, I won't need to come back."
While it was all fun and games, Bol Bol was having none of it. On hearing that, he immediately turned and gave Jamal Murray a look, which clearly shows he was not in support. Although the Denver Nuggets played well in that matchup, they lost the game 114-108.
Can the Denver Nuggets make a deep run in the playoffs without Jamal Murray?
In the 2020 playoffs, the Denver Nuggets overcame the Utah Jazz and LA Clippers to reach the conference finals but only managed one win against the LA Lakers.
Led by MVP Nikola Jokic, they attempted to make another deep run in the 2021 NBA playoffs but failed. After fending off the Portland Trail Blazers, they were swept by the eventual finalists, the Phoenix Suns, in the conference finals.
Given the team's setup, it is highly unlikely that they will go further than the second round in the 2022 playoffs without Jamal Murray. While Jokic is an incredible player, they do not have the right pieces to stay competitive. Most notably, Michael Porter Jr. will also be unavailable for an extended period due to a back injury.
So far this season, it has been a struggle for the Denver Nuggets. Although they are not below the .500 mark, they are not playing their best brand of basketball.
The Nuggets went on a five-game win streak to go 9-4 earlier this season. Disappointingly, they have lost their last five games and are ranked eighth in the Western Conference.
One could argue that those five games were against formidable opponents. But those exactly are the kind of games they need to win if they hope to contend for the championship.
Jamal Murray tore his ACL late in the 2020-21 season, and seven months in, he is still not healthy enough to play. Before the injury, he was averaging 21.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.8 assists.
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The key to their success lies solely on Jokic, and that might be a burden too heavy for the Serbian to bear single-handedly. It is worth noting that Jokic is having another MVP-caliber season, however. He currently leads the Denver Nuggets in points (26.4), rebounds (13.6), assists (6.4), steals (1.2), and blocks (0.9).