Jamal Murray will miss the remainder of this season – and possibly most or all of the 2021-22 campaign – after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the Denver Nuggets’ 116-107 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday.

Jamal Murray injury ACL
Jamal Murray suffered a torn ACL during Monday’s game against the Golden State Warriors, an injury that could sink the Denver Nuggets’ title hopes. (Image: Getty)

Murray went down in pain while clutching his left knee after driving to the basket with under a minute left in the game. There didn’t appear to be any contact during the play.

Porter: Murray ‘The Dude’ for Nuggets

Murray has suffered through a number of injuries this year. Recently, the 24-year-old guard missed four games due to soreness in his right knee.

“Obviously a very down locker room,” Nuggets coach Mike Malone said after the game. “Yes we lost the game, but everyone’s thoughts are with Jama and hoping he’s going to be OK … Keep Jamal in your thoughts and prayers, and hopefully we will get some good news.”

Murray is averaging 21.2 points per game, along with 4.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds a night. The young star emerged as a key player alongside MVP candidate Nikola Jokic in making the Nuggets into a leading contender in the Western Conference.

Currently, the Nuggets are 34-20 on the season, good for the No. 4 seed in the West. However, the Murray injury could sink Denver’s aspirations of making a deep playoff run. FanDuel Sportsbook now lists the Nuggets as a +3000 pick to win the NBA Championship this season.

“Y’all know what he means to us, he’s the dude – Nikola and Jama,” Denver forward Michael Porter Jr. told reporters. “They brought this team to new heights. You talk about their closing all the time. We need Jamal … but we are more worried about his well-being right now, how he is individually than the team. The team right now is an afterthought.”

Recovery could take year or longer

An ACL tear could keep Murray out for nine months to a year, Virginia Zakas of Inside Injuries wrote for The Athletic. Damage to the MCL or meniscus could keep him out even longer, Zakas added.

That timeline essentially makes it impossible for Murray to return this year, and calls into question whether or not he’ll play next season. At the earliest, he might return for the stretch run in 2022.

Murray played as well as anyone during the playoff bubble last season in Orlando. He averaged 26.5 points per game during the postseason, helping bring Denver back from two straight 3-1 deficits on the way to a run to the Western Conference finals.

After the Nuggets announced the ACL tear, a number of top players around the NBA took to social media to wish Murray a quick and complete recovery from his injury.

“Come back stronger @BeMore27,” Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry wrote on Twitter.

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