By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
After 539 days, Jamal Murray is back in the NBA.
Oohs and aahs started to fill the Denver Nuggets’ home floor after Murray did his pre-game ritual and stepped inside the hardwood of the Ball Arena.
Just like that, Murray is officially cleared to play in the NBA since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his knee last April 2021.
Murray was out for one whole year and missed the last full NBA season after the Nuggets decided to re-activate him when he already reaches 100 % and pass all of his rehabilitation tests.
In a familiar Denver gunning show together with Nikola Jokic, Murray delivered the first assist of their pre-season game against the Oklahoma City Thunder and fed the trailing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for an easy slam dunk.
Murray missed his first two attempts and finally scored his first bucket back in the second quarter after drilling the wide-open three-pointer in the left corner.
After making his shot, Murray smiled in excitement and was embraced by his teammates heading into their bench after an Oklahoma timeout.
Murray then followed it up with another highlight dish to Aaron Gordon after a perfectly executed pick-and-pop play that cut Oklahoma’s lead to just three points, 47-44.
After playing mostly in the first half, Murray ended his comeback game with 10 points, two rebounds, and two assists.
Murray scored Denver’s last two points in the second quarter after burying the buzzer-beating one-legged fade-away jump shot that made the whole Ball Arena explode.
“As a fan of the game, Jamal Murray being back is great for basketball. All the guys that have been out injured and able to play again, it’s a great feeling just seeing them out there,” said Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant.