It had been a long season for Jamal Murray. He had missed the entire 2021-22 season recovering from a torn ACL, then he returned to the Nuggets last season, played 65 regular season games, and was brought along slowly so he would be healthy for the playoffs. Murray found his stride again late in the season and was the Nuggets second-best player on a run to the NBA title.
After all that, with concerns about overworking his knee, Murray will sit out the upcoming World Cup for Canada, the team announced.
“When I came into training camp, I wanted to see how my body would respond after a long and demanding season and if I would be physically able to compete at the highest level required for the World Cup,” Murray said in a statement released by the team.
“In consultation with medical staff and the team, it is clear that additional recovery is required, and I have made the difficult decision to not participate in the tournament. It’s still a dream of mine to represent Canada at the Olympics, and I will support the team every step of the way as they pursue this goal.”
Murray joins a long list of players sitting out the World Cup due to injuries or precaution, including Giannis Antetokounmpo for Greece, Kristaps Porzingis for Latvia, and Murray’s fellow Nugget teammate Nikola Jokić who will not suit up for Serbia this go around. There’s also a long list of Americans not playing in the World Cup but eyeing the 2024 Paris Olympics — Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Jayson Tatum, and possibly Joel Embiid (who also could play for France). While this is a blow to the Canadians, they still have tremendous depth at the point guard spot with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Cory Joseph. Also on the roster are RJ Barrett (who scored 31 in a win over Germany), Dillon Brooks, Kelly Olynyk, Luguentz Dort, Oshae Brissett, Dwight Powell and more.
Canada is still a threat to medal at the World Cup, which begins Aug. 25 in Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Canada is in a tough Group H with France, Latvia (without Porzingis) and Lebanon. The World Cup is also the primary qualifier for the Paris Olympics and the top two teams from the Americas in the tournament will qualify for the games automatically.