Home Nuggets Michael Malone: Nuggets Keeping Options Open On Jamal Murray Return

Michael Malone: Nuggets Keeping Options Open On Jamal Murray Return

The Nuggets have to determine whether shooting guard Jamal Murray will be able to return this season, particularly when it comes to the playoffs.Jamal Murray

“I don’t think it makes any sense to (say) … ‘We’re shutting him down,’” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, via Mike Singer of the Denver Post. “Who knows where the season’s going to go? A lot of crazy things can happen with six games to go, as well as into the postseason.”

Murray suffered a torn ACL last April. That injury usually leads to a full year away from the game. Some players bounce back later than that, others sooner — albeit not much sooner.

“I don’t think we need to paint ourselves into a corner and make any definitive decisions right now because this is not a mile race where it’s four laps and it’s over,” Malone said. “We have no idea where the finish line is. Until we have a better idea of that, let’s leave all options on the table and see what happens on a day-to-day basis.”

Murray suffered the torn ACL in game against the Warriors. At the time of the injury, he was averaging 21.2 points, 4.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds. Clearly, he’s a key part of everything the Nuggets do. But there is not yet a a clear answer on his return.

“I think the question on everybody’s mind is, ‘Will he play this year?’” Malone said. “I’ll be honest, we still don’t have an answer. There’s been zero pressure from me to him about him coming back this year. Now we have (five) games to go, and it’s kind of a weird time to come back because every game is so important, so the balance of trying to work a guy back in as well as understanding that, ‘Hey man, every game matters.’ That is a tough dynamic to balance.

“But if Jamal Murray says to me, ‘Hey coach, I’m ready, man, I’d like to play,’ and he’s been cleared, then we’d figure it out. I think, like anybody coming back, there are good days, there are great days, and there are some tough days. I think that’s kind of what he’s been dealing with probably the last month as he’s ramped up a little bit. And certain days I’m sure he feels great, and the next day he might feel like, ‘Man, I don’t know if I can do this.’

“The biggest part for him, right now, is the confidence to go out there and be able to play without thinking about everything he’s doing. That’s the hardest thing when you’ve been away from the game for almost a year like he has been.”

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