Jamal Murray ACL Tear: NBA Injury Watch & Return Timetable for Nuggets Guard

Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist here to provide NBA injury analysis on the Jamal Murray ACL tear.

Jamal Murray ACL Tear: NBA Injury Watch & Return Timetable for Nuggets Guard

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray suffered a left ACL tear in the final minute of the loss to the Warriors Monday night. He has since been ruled out indefinitely but there are bigger implications following his return to the court in 2021-2022.

The ACL is a ligament that runs diagonally to stabilize the knee, preventing the tibia from sliding forward under the femur and limiting rotational forces on the knee. ACL injuries occur as the result of a sudden stop, pivoting or landing improperly. This can also occur with direct contact. In Murray’s case, he tore the left ACL driving to the basket, pivoting hard to the right before jumping up and then falling hard to the floor.

An example of the ACL mechanism of injury. (Credit: Active Care Physiotherapy Clinic)

Fortunately, following an ACL tear, return to play is exceptionally high in the NBA. Research indicates upwards of 86 percent of players return to sport and re-tear rates are anywhere from 3-to-12 percent. In addition, the average return to play is 372.5 days from the initial injury.

Regrettably, the quality of play is greatly affected in the short term. In the first year following an ACL reconstruction, declines are noted in minutes and games played, leading to decreased statistical output across the board. However, performance does improve to preinjury levels after year two.

Looking at the calendar, that would place Murray to return in April of next year, though he could return as soon as January 2022. This would place him at a return time frame of midway through the season or around when playoffs begin should the season start in October as planned. Add in the decline in performance and availability following the first year, Murray may not be his normal self until the 2022-2023 season.


NBA Betting & Fantasy Basketball Analysis

In dynasty leagues, I’d strongly consider fielding trade offers for Murray. He has an excellent chance to return but he won’t be what he was until 2022-2023.  As for betting, the loss of 21 points a game will hurt as the Nuggets fight to stay in the playoff race. Denver may struggle to find another player to step up for a deep playoff run, but I’d be real hesitant to put any money on the Nuggets come playoff time. 

Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist who also works as an injury spotter for Dr. David Chao. Kyle has extensive experience in outpatient orthopedics, skilled nursing, acute care hospital, and home care. He’s also a member of Bills Mafia and runs the website Banged Up Bills.

Disclaimer from Kyle: My opinions are my own. Any thoughts I have on the injuries are based on media reports, my knowledge of the injury, and speculation based on the information currently available including video and print media. This information is subject to change based on the information released by the team.

After reading Kyle’s update on Jamal Murray’s ACL Tear: NBA Injury Watch, get more NBA betting and fantasy basketball tips

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