Jamal Murray tears ACL, putting Canada’s Olympic basketball hopes in jeopardy


Jamal Murray will be out indefinitely with a torn left anterior cruciate ligament.

The Denver Nuggets announced details of the injury to their star guard from Kitchener, Ont., on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Murray hurt his knee in the final minute of Denver’s 116-107 loss to Golden State on Monday night.

Murray grabbed his knee writhing in pain on the floor for several minutes. A wheelchair was brought onto the court, but the Canadian waved it off, and was instead helped off the court to the locker room.

With 50 seconds left in the game, Murray drove through the lane and made a move to the rim. His left knee seemed to buckle as he went up.

WATCH | Jamal Murray suffers knee injury: 

Nuggets’ Jamal Murray of Kitchener, Ont., needs to be helped off the floor after suffering a left knee injury in the 4th quarter of Monday’s game against the Warriors. 0:59

The injury also is bad news for Canada’s national team which must win its last-chance qualifying tournament in Victoria at the end of June to clinch a berth in the Tokyo Olympics.

“Some of the coaches said when they watched the replay, it looked like he hyperextended it,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said after the game. “It’s just an awful feeling.”

Murray is averaging 21.2 points, 4.8 assists and four rebounds a game this season.

We need Jamal … but we’re more worried about his well-being right now than we are the team.— Michael Porter Jr. on injured Nuggets teammate Jamal Murray

Murray drew rave reviews for his post-season performance inside the NBA bubble in Florida last season. He averaged 26.5 points and 6.6 assists to help the Nuggets overcome 3-1 series deficits against Utah and the Los Angeles Clippers before losing to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the conference finals.

This was looking like another season in which the Nuggets could challenge the top teams in the West, with Murray running the show. They also have a bona fide MVP contender in big man Nikola Jokic, who is averaging nearly a triple-double. Plus, they have a potent outside weapon in Michael Porter Jr. and depth after the addition of Aaron Gordon, who moved into the starting lineup following his acquisition from Orlando at the trade deadline.

“You all know what he means to us. He’s ‘the dude,’ you know what I’m saying — Nikola and Jamal,” Porter said after the 116-107 loss to the Warriors. “They’ve brought this team to new heights. You talk about their closing all the time, but we need Jamal. We all know that. But we’re more worried about his well-being right now — how he is individually — than we are the team. The team right now is an afterthought. We’re just worried about Jamal.”

Murray played 33 minutes and had 17 points against the Warriors before getting hurt.

Asked what was going through his mind when he saw Murray on the floor in pain, Jokic said: “It’s really sad to see anybody in pain. The guy who’s the warrior, who is going to fight through everything, was in pain.”

Murray showed off his offensive flair at Cleveland in February when he erupted for 50 points, and didn’t even attempt a free throw. It’s the first time in NBA history that a player went for 50 and didn’t step to the free-throw line.

He now has three career 50-point games, including two in the playoffs. It’s the most in franchise history.

Murray was the seventh overall pick out of Kentucky in 2016.

WATCH | Who were the trailblazers of Canadian basketball?:

North Courts is back for another episode and this week we’re talking all about the trailblazers and icons of Canadian basketball. Vivek, Meghan, and Jevohn give their starting 5 rosters for their all-time Team Canadas, and discuss the latest Canadian basketball news. 10:59

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