2023 NBA champion Jamal Murray has been ruled out of Canada’s exhibition games ahead of this month’s FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The standout name on Canada’s roster for the 2023 FIBA World Cup may not be a member of the squad after all.
Jamal Murray, who was sensational for the Denver Nuggets as the team won its first NBA title in franchise history in June, is just two years removed from major knee surgery that repaired a torn ACL he suffered in April 2021. The Kitchener, Ontario native played 65 regular season games and 20 playoff games – in which he averaged 40 minutes per game – in his first full season back from the injury.
It is understandable why Murray, who pushed his body likely beyond its limit in the 2023 NBA playoffs, needs extra time to ready himself for the World Cup, which begins on August 25.
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"He's coming very tired. So we've got to really watch him work with our therapy team and make the right decision for him medically as well, but looks good so far," Canada Basketball general manager Rowan Barrett said, per CBC.
From a Canada perspective, his omission from pre-tournament exhibitions is a disappointment given the national team’s largely irrelevant past in major competitions and ability to get their top players to commit to play in red and white.
The positive news is that Murray is dealing with fatigue rather than a recently suffered injury, and his participation in the World Cup has not been called off.
However, it is expected that Murray is monitoring his health to be ready for the start of the 2023/24 NBA season on October 24, 2023, as his Nuggets begin their title defense.
Canada are second-favourites to win gold at the World Cup at +750.