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Jamal Murray fires back at doubters

The former Wildcat has yet to return after tearing his ACL over a year ago.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Back in 2020, during the NBA bubble, former Kentucky Wildcat Jamal Murray had his breakout performance. Averaging 26.5 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.8 rebounds in the playoffs, Murray helped lead the Denver Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals, before losing to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Murray wanted to avenge the loss in 2021, putting up the best numbers of his career, 21.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.3 steals. Unfortunately, on April 12th, 2021, Murray suffered a torn left ACL just a month before the NBA Playoffs.

The injury has put Murray on the sidelines for now over a year. However, there have been recent reports that Murray may be close to a return.

During last Sunday’s edition of SportsCenter, NBA insider, Adrian Wojnarowski, said that Murray has been cleared and the team is willing to let him choose whether he plays:

“He has been scrimmaging with the Nuggets for a couple of weeks now. He’s looked good according to all eyes on him in Denver, but he’s going to have to make a decision that he’s going to play in this series. ... But for Jamal Murray, again, a little like Ben Simmons, the Nuggets hope if he were to play could they get 15 minutes out of him to start, could he be somebody off their bench who could come in and start to do a little more each time out. But the Nuggets are also content to allow Jamal Murray to simply just come back for training camp next year off this injury.”

With the Nuggets down 3-0 to the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, many fans and analysts have been calling for Murray to play. Yet, Murray insists he is not ready.

After the Nuggets’ loss on Monday to put them at an 0-2 deficit in the series, Murray tweeted, “Y’all don’t think I wanna be out there huh.. crazy.”

One of the most important things following an injury is for a player to be confident in his body and his ability. If Murray is not, he will not be of any benefit to his team at the most important time of the year.

The Nuggets seem to understand that as well with Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly telling a local radio show in Denver, “I wouldn’t be surprised at all [if Murray returned]. When Jamal feels like he is ready, he is going to sprint out there. He’s in the red zone of return to play.”

A return is still on the table, but Murray’s comments do not make it seem that he is ready. However, when Murray is ready to return, I know the Big Blue Nation will be cheering him on.

The Nuggets will play in a potential season-ending elimination game on Sunday, April 24th, at 3:30 pm ET on ABC.