Nuggets' star leaves game early with concerning injury

Feb 29, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27)
Feb 29, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets got the win Thursday night in a finals rematch against the Miami Heat, 103-97, but it wasn’t all good news. Nuggets’ guard Jamal Murray landed awkwardly on teammate Aaron Gordon, turning his ankle in the second quarter.

Murray stayed down for a couple of minutes, nursing his ankle before exiting to the locker room. He was ruled out shortly after and obviously didn’t return to the game. Murray, of course, has a long history of injuries, and this is the absolute last thing the Nuggets want to see as the team gears up for another playoff run.

Murray has missed time for an ankle sprain in the past, and missed more than a season with an ACL injury, but has been able to stay mostly healthy the past two seasons, and was an integral part of Denver’s title run last season.

The Western Conference is loaded this year, but even as other teams have come on, the Nuggets have been steadily rolling, and have risen to the occasion for statement wins when needed. They haven’t been consistently at their best every night, but they’ve shown enough to be the favorites in the conference. 

For the most part, this season has felt like a long, slow ramp-up as the team tries to get in the best possible position to make a run at another championship. For the most pat, everything has been going according to plan, but health is alwasy the biggest thing lingering in the background.

There has been no update on Murray’s ankle yet, and even if he has to miss a few weeks it shouldn’t impact his playoff status. But this is a stark reminder of how easily and quickly everything can go astray.

Nothing is guaranteed in the NBA, and teams that have appeared destined to be dynastic, have fallen apart in the blink of an eye. We’ll hope for the best while we wait for an update on Murray. But remember to enjoy the ride, and everything along the way.

As good as this team has been, and as amazing as Nikola Jokic is, trying to win a title without a player like Jamal Murray would be an uphill battle, to say the least, one that may prove too difficult to overcome.