After losing 136-130 to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night at Ball Arena, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told reporters that Jamal Murray “wants to be back.”
Malone, when asked about Murray’s comeback this season, remarked, “Yeah, I mean keep hope alive, as Jesse Jackson (said)” during his postgame news conference.
Friend and Teammate Monte Morris Sounded Even More Upbeat.
For Morris, “his mental (acumen) is there” was clear in a statement made Friday. He wants to go back into action. He’s been looking quite sharp. He’s putting both feet in the air and dunking the ball. It’s just a matter of time before we can win him back, I suppose.
Since injuring the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against the Warriors on April 12, 2021, Murray has not yet suited up for the Nuggets in a game.
We’re not going to stop Jamal Murray from playing,” Malone said. This is not a simple yes/no issue. We are not involved in a timed competition. After only four games, who can predict how the seasons will look? What’s the deal, guys? Are we making the playoffs? Will we have enough time to make the play-in round? Just who knows? The verdict is still out on that.
Over time, Jamal’s status has only improved. Believe me, we could use him once again. And I’d like to like him again. With Jamal Murray in the team, we’re much better off.
That’s not all: he’s eager to return. In many ways, he is excelling. But I can’t say for sure that he’ll participate in any of the remaining four games. However, I can also assert that he will not.
Without Murray and with Michael Porter Jr. making solely 9 early season appearances — and none since Nov. 6 — because of again issues that required lumbar backbone surgical procedure late final fall, the Nuggets have posted a 46-32 report with 4 video games remaining within the common season, two in opposition to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Timberwolves (44-34) were two games behind the Nuggets (40-32) for the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference before Friday’s setback. The NBA’s play-in round is skipped by the sixth seed in the bracket.
Denver’s two best wing players, Murray and Porter, both worked out on the floor about half an hour before tip-off on Friday, but the intensity of their workouts couldn’t have been extra different.
While being defended aggressively and bodied up by Nuggets staff, Murray worked on his ability to pull off shots. Porter took his shots from behind the goal, with help from the staff shagging balls for him.
As Malone was exiting the podium, a reporter asked him if the same “hope” applied to Porter Jr. The Nuggets coach was briefer in his response.
Malone simply said, “No comment.”