The Golden State Warriors may be able to avoid one of the most dangerous players on the Denver Nuggets for the entirety of their first-round playoff series.
The Warriors host the Nuggets in the playoff opener on Saturday, the first time in three years that Golden State has made the playoffs. The Warriors may have caught an early break, with a new report indicating that Denver’s Jamal Murray will not be back from a torn ACL in time for this series — and potentially the entire playoffs.
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Murray Still Sidelined
Murray has been working his way back from a torn ACL suffered in April 2021, but a new report from The Athletic indicates that he is still not ready to return.
“Murray is very close in his rehab process, sources said, and the Nuggets are allowing him to determine his comeback timing,” the report indicated.
The Athletic’s Joe Vardon had reported in March that Denver was preparing for the likelihood that Murray would not be back in time for the playoffs. At the time, reigning league MVP Nikola Jokić said he and teammates were operating under the assumption that they would not play with Murray this season, easing the sense of waiting for his return and allowing them to focus on the team they had on the court.
“I just think he’s not going to come back – that’s the easiest,” Jokić said. “If (he comes) back, he’s gonna be great. So I think it is the best thing to think about it – he’s not coming back.”
The Nuggets will likely be even more short-handed as they face the Warriors. Michael Porter Jr. is in still in danger of missing the playoffs after undergoing back surgery in December.
Warriors Dealing With Their Own Injuries
There is a chance the Warriors could be without their own All-Star guard when the playoffs open on Saturday. Steph Curry is working his way back from a foot injury that wiped out the final month of the season, and could also be in danger of missing the start of the series. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said his availability could be a true game-time decision on Saturday.
“We’ll see how everything goes with Steph next week. There is a chance he could be ready for Game 1, there is a chance he might not,” Kerr said on Sunday, via ESPN’s Kendra Andrews. “It’s literally going to be a day-to-day thing as it unfolds this week. We’ll know a lot more after the next few days when he’s ramping up his work.”
As Andrews added, Curry has been working on individual shooting and is set to increase his workload over the next week. The team will be practicing in the days leading up to Saturday’s game, with a day of scrimmaging that Kerr referred to as a “dress rehearsal.”
The Athletic’s Anthony Slater predicted that there would be a more definite update on April 12, when the team practices for the first time since returning to the Bay Area from Sunday’s season finale against the New Orleans Pelicans.
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