Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray sprained his ankle in the second quarter of Thursday's game against the Miami Heat. Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports Feb 29, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) on the court after play in the second quarter against the Miami Heat at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

While the Denver Nuggets went into halftime of Thursday’s NBA Finals rematch leading the Miami Heat 56-51, the health of Jamal Murray was the far bigger story.

Murray was injured late in the second quarter. He dribbled into the lane and left his feet before kicking the ball back to Nikola Jokić, who buried a jumper from just in front of the free-throw line. Below the hoop, though, something was clearly wrong.

Murray was down, favoring his ankle. He initially tried to get up and walk it off but quickly fell back to the ground. Eventually, Murray gingerly walked off the floor and into the locker room.

Reggie Miller, broadcasting the game for TNT, quickly noted that it was “The last thing, if you’re Michael Malone and the Nuggets fans, you wanted to see.”

There’s something to that. Murray is averaging 20.9 points and 6.4 assists per game, both second on the team to Jokić.

Fortunately, the early reports suggested that disaster might have been avoided.

Chris Haynes quickly reported that Murray had sprained his ankle and was questionable. Shortly after halftime, he noted that Murray had been ruled out.

Beyond his stats, the last two postseasons have shown Murray’s value to Denver. He missed the entire 2021-22 season. And while the Nuggets made the playoffs that year, they were eliminated in the first round by the eventual NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors.

Conversely, Murray was healthy throughout the postseason in 2023 and helped the Nuggets win the first NBA Championship in franchise history.

[Chris Haynes on Twitter/X]

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