Jamal Murray loses potential Olympics teammate to devastating injury

USA v Canada: 3rd Place Game - FIBA Basketball World Cup
USA v Canada: 3rd Place Game - FIBA Basketball World Cup / Yong Teck Lim/GettyImages

Most Nuggets fans and NBA fans, in general, are locked into the playoff race and the ensuing run to the finals. Basketball fans in a broader sense, may be focused on March Madness and the fast-approaching NCAA Tournament.

But a little further along the horizon is the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. One international basketball team on the rise recently has been Team Canada, who went on an impressive run to a Bronze Medal in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Team Canada up and coming

A big part of the hype around this team, and their chances to medal in the upcoming games, stems from the star players who have committed to the team, including MVP candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Thunder, and the Nuggets’ own Jamal Murray.

Murray didn’t play in the World Cup after the lengthy title run for the Nuggets weeks earlier, but he went to training camp with the team and has spoken about how he’s excited to compete for a Gold Medal this summer. 

Bennedict Mathurin injured

Unfortunately, on Saturday evening, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Indiana Pacers up and comer, and Team Canada prospect, Bennedict Mathurin will undergo surgery to repair a torn right labrum.

The promising 21-year-old wing is expected to make a full recovery and return for the start of the 2024-25 NBA season, but he is done for the rest of this season and will almost certainly now be unable to participate in the Olympics.

Mathurin wasn’t guaranteed a spot on the team, but Mathurin scored 16.7 points per game off the bench as a rookie last season and was following that up with another solid campaign this year with 14.5 points per game on a team with playoff aspirations. That included putting on a show and winning MVP of the Rising Stars event that was part of NBA All-Star weekend.

Mathurin would have been able to provide some length and athleticism on the wing, with a nice shooting and scoring punch for Team Canada. That won’t be the case any longer for 2024, but the young Montreal native figures to play a prominent role for his national team in the future.

Look ahead to 2024 Paris Summer Olympics

The Canada team will still have a strong pool of talent that includes SGA and Murray, along with guys like R.J. Barrett, Dillon Brooks, Kelly Olynyk, and more. They’re led by one of the best coaches in the world, Nick Nurse, who also has former Nuggets, and current Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez on his bench. The Paris Summer Olympics are scheduled to begin on July 26th.