The Associated PressDejounte 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 almost 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 second-team 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 two-year deal with the Charlotte Hornets — which means the only player who started any games at the point last season and remains on the San Antonio roster is Patty Mills.
Suns ax GM just before season
PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns fired general manager Ryan McDonough on Monday, nine days before their season begins.
James Jones and Trevor Bukstein will share the GM duties on an interim basis for the Suns. Jones is the team’s vice president of basketball operations and Bukstein was assistant GM under McDonough, who had been in Phoenix since 2013 and was under contract through 2020.
Suns owner Robert Sarver said in a statement announcing the firing that he made the decision “after much thought and a long evaluation of our basketball operations.”
“There’s no perfect time to make a change,” Sarver said in an interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM radio. “For me it’s just about making consistent progress and with any leader it’s an ongoing evaluation process. And, ultimately, I just decided we needed to make a change.”
The Suns took Deandre Ayton with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft and gave Devin Booker a $158 million extension during the offseason.
Phoenix has had four straight losing seasons and no playoff berth since 2010.