Injuries are coming at the absolute worse time for the Denver Nuggets and it could keep a former ‘Cat off the floor.
Starting point guard Jamal Murray is currently listed as questionable for the Nuggets opener on Saturday with the team citing left hamstring tightness as the issue. The former Kentucky Wildcat sat out the first two exhibition games for Denver but did play 23 minutes in the third and final preseason game this past Monday.
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) July 31, 2020
The cause of Murray’s injury is unknown, but its something that has been nagging at him ever since he arrived down in Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort for the NBA’s restart. Murray isn’t the only Nuggets player on the mend, either; starters Gary Harris and Will Barton are listed as out for the opener against the Miami Heat. Meaning there is a good chance that three of the Nuggets five starters will miss Saturday’s game. Denver didn’t even have its entire roster in Orlando until this past Tuesday.
With so much talent sidelined, head coach Michael Malone isn’t concerned with wins and losses right now, rather ensuring that his players–Murray especially–are healthy and ready to go once the playoffs begin. Denver is currently the three-seed in the Western Conference and can’t fall any lower than sixth. In this unique circumstance where any homecourt advantage is practically irrelevant, these eight regular-season games don’t mean as much to the Nuggets as they do the Portland Trail Blazers or New Orleans Pelicans.
“Right now, to be honest, I am not concerned about our seeding,” Malone said, according to Kendra Andrews of The Athletic. “Having clinched a playoff spot, my No. 1 concern is health. That continues to be a huge concern for me, a huge point of emphasis. So, can we find a way to get healthy come August 17? With that being said, we have to find ways to start improving.”
There have been high expectations for Murray and fellow teammate Nikola Jokic to perform at All-Star caliber levels while in the Bubble. Murray came down to Orlando in tremendous shape and eager to get back on the floor; he might just have to wait a bit longer to prove it.
“He (Murray) definitely came into this bubble with a killer’s mentality,” Nuggets guard P.J. Dozier said about Murray on Friday, according to Nuggets.com. “Even prior to arriving at the bubble, back in Denver just seeing him working really hard day in and day out. Just being able to see that and see the confidence he’s brought here has been great.”
The Nuggets will take on Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and the Miami Heat at 1 p.m. on Saturday live on ESPN. Even if Murray doesn’t play, it’ll be must-watch television.
In the meantime, watch this video of Murray playing “Heads Up!” with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks and try not to laugh.
Today’s guest on ‘Games in Orlando’ is Jamal Murray ? pic.twitter.com/OoIGkeR2r5
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) July 31, 2020