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Nuggets announce Jamal Murray has torn ACL in left knee, will be out indefinitely

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The Jamal Murray injury is as bad as everyone feared. The Denver Nuggets announced on Tuesday that Murray has suffered a torn ACL in his left knee and will be out indefinitely. 

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Murray hurt his knee in the Nuggets' 116-107 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night, going down with what looked to be a non-contact injury. 

Murray, 24, is in his fifth NBA season, and in the first year of a five-year, $158 million deal. He's averaging 21.4 points, 4.8 assists, and four rebounds while shooting a career-high 48% from the field this season. 

Murray has struggled with injuries. He'd just returned from a four-game absence on Monday, which was due to right knee soreness. Facundo Campazzo started in Murray's place during those four games, and while he was shifted to the bench when Murray started on Monday, he's likely to shift back to being a starter while Murray recovers. 

How Murray injured his knee

Murray went down with less than a minute left in the Nuggets' game against the Golden State Warriors on Monday. He was headed toward the rim to make a layup, but appeared to hurt himself when he started to jump. He barely made it off the ground and crashed to the floor, in serious pain and clutching his left knee. 

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While at least one Warriors player was near Murray when he jumped, it looked to be a non-contact injury. He was on the ground for several minutes, and while he was offered a wheelchair, Murray declined and limped off the court with the help of two Nuggets staffers. 

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Murray's absence will be felt

The attitude in the Nuggets' locker room after Murray's injury was bleak. Head coach Michael Malone said that everyone was focused on Murray, hoping that his injury wasn't as bad as it looked. 

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"Obviously a very down locker room," Malone said after the game. "Yes, we lost the game, but I think everybody's thoughts are with Jamal and hoping that he's going to be OK."

But players know that non-contact injuries can be very dicey. Some appeared to be mourning the loss of Murray before the MRI results were available.

"Everybody knows Jamal is a huge, huge piece to this team, alongside Nikola [Jokic]," Nuggets point guard Monte Morris told ESPN. "Averaging bunch load of points and just his leadership out there, he does everything. Seeing him go down like that, never, never that you could even think that was going to happen. He lifts so much, his body is strong. It is something that is a touchy subject. I don't even like speaking about injuries."

The 34-20 Nuggets have been playing their best basketball of the season lately, and despite his injury struggles, Nuggets players know how important Murray is to their team. 

"Y'all know what he means to us, he's 'the dude' — Nikola and Jamal," Michael Porter Jr. told ESPN, describing what Murray means to the Nuggets. "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."

Players watch as Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray remains on the floor after being injured during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco, Monday, April 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Players watch as Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray remains on the floor after being injured during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco, Monday, April 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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