Injuries defining NBA playoffs, may play pivotal role in Nuggets Timberwolves Game 7

Apr 21, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27)
Apr 21, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, it’s hard to talk about these NBA playoffs without bringing up the injury bug and how almost every team has been hampered. Star players have been missing games left and right, and others have been playing through pain. The list of players that have missed games or played at less than 100% is too long to even go through.

At this point, it’s largely boiled down to a war of attrition and when the dust settles, the healthiest team may well be the last one standing. The Nuggets and Timberwolves have been two of the healthier teams throughout these playoffs as they haven’t dealt with injuries to major players that have caused them to miss time.

Nuggets dealing with injury to Jamal Murray

But it does seem like things are finally starting to catch up to them, and injuries are now playing a role in this Western Conference Semifinal series. On the Nuggets’ side of the equation, it’s been Jamal Murray who is dealing with some issues. He suffered a calf strain towards the end of the Lakers series but has been able to play through it.

He looked off in the first two games against the Wolves, but after the three-day layoff he came back and looked more like himself in the following games. But in the opening moments of Game 6, Murray took a blow on the elbow that appeared to cause him significant pain.

Murray played through the elbow issue but he had one of his worst games to date. The calf injury seems to be messing with his movement and lift and now the elbow injury may be impacting his shot and handle. He was seen getting attended to by trainers on the bench and it’s unclear how healthy he’ll be going forward.

Timberwolves dealing with injury to Mike Conley

On the Wolves’ side, they had been experiencing as good of injury luck as any team until veteran point guard and leader Mike Conley suffered an Achilles injury late in Game 4. The ailment forced Conley to miss Game 5 and the Minnesota offense looked completely out of sorts.

Luckily for them, Conley was able to return for Game 6 and the difference was night and day. Both Murray and Conley are expected to be in the lineup for Game 7, but it’s no sure thing how much either one will be able to contribute. This series-deciding game may ultimately come down to which point guard can show up and give their team more.