“We’re not shutting down Jamal Murray. This is not a black and white issue,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, via the Associated Press. “We’re not running a race with a definitive finish line. Who knows what the season is going to look like after these four games? Are we going to be in the playoffs? Are we going to be in the play-in? Who knows? That’s to be determined.
“Jamal is getting better every day. Trust me, we all want him back. I want him back. We’re a better team with Jamal Murray. And he wants to be back. He’s making great progress. But I can’t sit here and say that he’s going to play in any of the last four games. But I also can’t say that he won’t.”
“He’s ready to get back out there. He’s looked good. He’s dunking and everything, (with) both legs. It’s a matter of time, I guess, but hopefully we can get him back.”
On the one hand, the Nuggets could use the ball handling and shot creation of Murray, who was a borderline All-Star player before his injury who averaged 21.2 points and 4.8 assists a game last season.
On the other hand, taking a player who has been out for a season and throwing him cold into some of the most intense, highest level games they are could spell trouble, both physically for him and on the court. There would be no easing back in.
“I told him, ’If you’re not 100% ready then don’t come back. It’s stupid,” Nikola Jokic told the AP. ”‘You risk (getting re-injured) if you’re not 100% ready to go, especially in the playoffs.’”
It still feels unlikely Murray will return this season, but the door is open.
That is not the case for Michael Porter Jr., with Malone refusing to discuss his status.