SAN FRANCISCO — Jamal Murray sat out the Nuggets’ 128-123 win over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night as Denver opens the season with three games in four nights, including a back-to-back.
Murray was sidelined for the last 18 months after tearing his ACL at Golden State in April 2021 and was resting for the Nuggets’ second game of the season.
In Denver’s season opener against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, Murray played 26 minutes and scored 12 points to go along with two rebounds and one assist.
« We sat down and talked about how [Murray] felt coming out of Utah and he said he felt good, » Nuggets coach Michael Malone said before tipoff. « 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.
« [We’ll] reintegrate him back into it to make sure his knee is going to allow him to get through the season and then he’ll be available [Saturday] night at home against the Thunder. »
Malone said it is not the plan for Murray to rest on one end of back-to-backs for the entire season, as the Warriors did with Klay Thompson last season as he returned from ACL and Achilles injuries.
Malone hopes that Murray’s workload will gradually build throughout the year, specifically naming Christmas, the New Year and All-Star break as times of the season for jumps.
« 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. I have his back. »
Malone continued: « I know everyone thinks they are back and Jamal is back to being where he was in the bubble a few years ago … but physically coming back from those injuries doesn’t happen that easily. »