Spurs’ De­jounte Mur­ray di­ag­nosed with torn right ACL

Sun Star Bacolod - - Prime Sports -

DE­JOUNTE Mur­ray was driv­ing past James Har­den and on his way to the bas­ket, show­ing one of the skills that made the San An­to­nio Spurs con­vinced he’s the right point guard for their team.

And then Mur­ray’s knee gave out.

In an in­stant, the en­tire tra­jec­tory of the Spurs’ sea­son might have changed.

Mur­ray’s sea­son is ALJSY most cer­tainly over, af­ter the Spurs learned Mon­day that their start­ing point guard has a torn ACL in his right knee. The team hasn’t re­vealed when Mur­ray will have surgery, nor has it de­ter­mined a timetable for his re­turn, but ACL re­con­struc­tion and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion is a process that typ­i­cally takes around a full year.

“You just carry on,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, stand­ing in a cor­ner of the team’s prac­tice fa­cil­ity in San An­to­nio shortly af­ter the Mur­ray di­ag­no­sis was re­leased. “He’s go­ing to be out. Dev­as­tat­ing in­jury for him, for the team. But life goes on. Ev­ery­body will pick up and do the best job we can to carry for­ward with­out him.”

Mur­ray, who turned 22 last month, av­er­aged 8.1 points, 5.7 re­bounds and 2.9 as­sists last sea­son.

“I as­sume he misses the sea­son,” Popovich said.

In a tweet, Mur­ray thanked peo­ple for sup­port and said he’s “been beat­ing the odds and han­dling ad­ver­sity” through­out his life.

Mur­ray was a sec­ondteam mem­ber of the NBA’S All-de­fen­sive Team last sea­son, the youngest player to ever earn such a dis­tinc­tion. He was also go­ing to be the starter for a team that is chas­ing a 22nd con­sec­u­tive post­sea­son ap­pear­ance, which would tie the NBA’S record.

In­stead, the Spurs are likely go­ing to have to choose be­tween let­ting Der­rick White take the start­ing gig or find­ing help else­where.

“We were al­ready con­fi­dent in Der­rick,” Popovich said. “He’s done a good job for us and he was im­prov­ing quickly, just like De­jounte had. Whether De­jounte was healthy or not, Der­rick was go­ing to play.”

Mur­ray be­came the Spurs’ starter last sea­son, in­her­it­ing the role that Tony Parker held for the bet­ter part of two decades. Parker left the Spurs in the off­sea­son, sign­ing a twoyear deal with the Char­lotte Hor­nets — which means that the only per­son who started any games at the point last sea­son and re­mains on the San An­to­nio ros­ter is Patty Mills.

“It’s on us as lead­ers now, and me, to make sure we get ev­ery­body that’s go­ing to fill into De­jounte’s shoes ready,” Mills said. “We’re go­ing to need them.”

It has been an ab­so­lutely bru­tal pre­sea­son for the Spurs, who were en­ter­ing a tran­si­tion year any­way now that the Big Three era is of­fi­cially over and Kawhi Leonard was traded to Toronto. Tim Dun­can re­tired two years ago, Parker left for Char­lotte and Manu Gi­no­bili de­cided over the sum­mer to re­tire. And now on top of that, not only is Mur­ray hurt but rookie guard Lon­nie Walker IV will miss sev­eral weeks while re­cov­er­ing from a torn menis­cus./nba.com

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