In the worst possible news, Jamal Murray is out for the rest of the season.
The Denver Nuggets announced on Twitter on Tuesday morning that the Nuggets guard has torn his left ACL. Mile High Basketball fans were bracing for the worst, but this is just brutal news.
When you consider how well Denver was playing, absent the last two games of course, it seemed this team was on the verge of something special. The trade for Aaron Gordon was the catalyst for that. Prior to the last two games against the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors, the Nuggets had won seven-straight. And people around the NBA were buying in. Heck, even Stephen A. Smith said the Nuggets were for real.
Now they have to brace for Murray’s absence in a stacked and talented Western Conference. Prior to the injury, Denver was in fourth-place in the Western Conference, one game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers who are about to get Anthony Davis and LeBron James back from injury.
Sportsbooks adjust their odds
And as you would imagine, the sportsbooks have adjusted the NBA betting odds.
Before the injury to Murray, the Nuggets were +1,900 at FanDuel to win the NBA Finals. Almost immediately after the injury was announced, the sportsbook adjusted the odds to +3,000. BetMGM moved their odds from +1,600 to +3,000. The same move happened at William Hill. At PointsBet, the odds shifted from +1,500 to +3,000. Perhaps the biggest move came from the SuperBook. Before the injury, the sportsbook had Denver at +1,400 and now its at +10,000.
It’s not just the championship odds that could take a hit, either. Nikola Jokić is the betting favorite to win the NBA MVP this season. How does Murray’s injury impact that? A lot of that lay in how the Nuggets respond to the loss of one of their stars.
Will Denver show resiliency and play for their leader? Teams have been able to find the motivation to play even better when guys like Murray go down. There’s an adage used in the NFL for situations like this, “Next man up.”
That’s a tall ask for a team when you lose a guy like Murray.
As StatMuse pointed out on Twitter, he was a having a career season.
- 21.2 points per game
- 4.8 assists per game
- 2.7 3-pointers per game
- 47.7 field-goal percentage
- 40.8 3-point goal percentage
Denver just doesn’t replace that.
It’s always been a battle for the Nuggets. Over the course of their history, it seems like they’ve had to cross one hurdle after another. The injury to Murray is the latest chapter.
Can Denver overcome it?