For the first time in 18 months, Jamal Murray is set to suit up for a Denver Nuggets home game when it plays the home opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.
Murray, who tore his left anterior cruciate ligament in April 2021, sat out Denver’s 128-123 win over the Golden State Warriors on Friday in San Francisco due to injury management. The plan was to have him ready to oppose the Thunder on the second night of a back-to-back set.
In the Nuggets’ season-opening loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday in Salt Lake City, Murray had 12 points, two rebounds and two steals in 26 minutes.
“We sat down and talked about how he felt coming out of Utah and he said he felt good,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said before the Friday game. “It’s about listening to his body and where he’s at. I want him to have a voice in this, and the decision is made for right now. We don’t want him playing in both nights of back-to-backs right now.”
Denver doesn’t have another back-to-back set until late November, and Malone said he expected Murray to be able to play on both nights of such situations later in the season.
“This is a work in progress and it’s going to require patience on everybody’s part,” Malone said. “I talked to Jamal about that. There will be tough nights for him, but he is our guy.”
Saturday’s game is just one of six at home in the Nuggets’ first 19 contests.
The Nuggets built a 20-point lead against the Warriors on Friday before the advantage dwindled to one in the final seconds. Denver held on for victory thanks to a floor-length pass by reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic to clinch his 77th career triple-double with the assist on Bruce Brown’s dunk.
With his next triple-double, Jokic will tie Wilt Chamberlain for sixth all time.
Denver and Oklahoma City split their four meetings last season. Over the past five seasons, the Nuggets went 14-4 against the Thunder.
Oklahoma City is coming off a 115-108 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday at Minneapolis in its season opener.
Oklahoma City will be without rookie guard Jalen Williams, who underwent surgery after sustaining a right orbital bone fracture in the season opener. Williams, the No. 12 selection in this year’s draft, is due to be re-evaluated in seven to 10 days.
- Asian Games 2023: India’s Divyansh shaken after missing shooting bronze, teammate Ramita counts on positives
- Indian sports news wrap, September 26
- Good for Chelsea owners to enter dressing room after games, says Pochettino
- Asian Games 2023 Quiz - Set 9
- Asian Games 2023 Quiz - Set 8