Earlier on Tuesday, Jazz point guard Dante Exum suffered a left-knee injury playing for the Australian national team in an exhibition game in Slovenia. A few hours later, a report indicated that the Jazz were concerned that Exum had suffered a torn ACL. Unfortunately, Utah radio host Tim Montemeyer appears to have confirmed the worst:
This sucks, plain and simple. A second-half surge last season led to the Jazz already making noise as a sexy playoff sleeper pick in the Western Conference, and a leap from Exum, the fifth pick in the 2014 draft, would have been expected to be a big part of that. Now, he’s very likely out the entire season and the Jazz will be left without what they had hoped was one of their foundational players.
Dante Exum left today’s Australia-Slovenia exhibition game with a non-contact leg injury.
Just how bad is it?
Jody Genessy of the Deseret News:
A torn ACL would likely sideline Exum for the entire NBA season – which would just be devastating for him and Utah.
Exum became the Jazz’s starting point guard last season, playing a big part in their second-half defensive surge. His youth, athleticism and raw tools suggests an offensive progression could follow. A torn ACL could significantly alter his career arc.
Utah could challenge for a playoff berth this season, though that would become more difficult without Exum. Everything could finally click for Trey Burke, but it’s not comforting to have all your eggs in that basket. Alec Burks could spend more time at point guard, but that would leave shooting guard depth lacking. The Jazz have the cap room to sign another point guard, but the market is thin. There’s just no easy solution if Exum tore his ACL.
We’ll know soon enough whether these fears are founded.
Update: Jazz release:
Dante Exum, playing for Australia in an exhibition against Slovenia, suffered a bad-looking injury.
Damir Radenovic of Kosarka.si
With Exum, Utah projects to be strong contenders for a playoff berth this season. He overtook Trey Burke as the Jazz’s starting point guard last year, playing a key role in their strong second-half offense. Exum is 20 and athletic, so there’s plenty of time for his offense to catch up.
These international games aid his development. But, as we see, they also carry risk.
Hopefully, Exum is OK. He also left a summer-league game with what appeared to be a serious injury, and that turned out to be minor. That he returned to the bench is an encouraging sign.