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Jamal Murray progressing from torn ACL but Nuggets’ Canadian star ‘can’t rush time’

Jamal Murray is conflicted.

The Nuggets’ star guard can’t wait to get back to playing basketball like he did before that awful night in San Francisco last April when his left knee buckled as he drove past Andrew Wiggins, ending his season and ultimately quashing Denver’s championship aspirations.

Yet, the native of Kitchener, Ont., insists he’s in no hurry to rush back into action from his torn ACL lest he risk a setback and extend his hiatus from competition that weighs so heavily on him.

He’s given fans some tantalizing tidbits of what the future may hold during his slow rehabilitation from his torn ACL.

He drained 3-pointers during warmups before playoff matches, then cheered, coached and cajoled teammates from the bench and sometimes even bolted past coach Michael Malone to give officials an earful.

The Nuggets recently tweeted a video of Murray draining a corner 3, then slow-motion prancing down the baseline with a big smile and stepping deliberately so as not to stress his sleeved left knee.

“Just five months ago, I couldn’t lift my leg off the bed,” stated Murray. “So, I’ve come a long way. But even when I do certain things, I’ve got to remind myself that I can’t do it to the speed or the level that I want to do it.

“That’s the biggest thing for me coming back, is having confidence in it. You’ll see a lot of videos of me playing 1-on-1, me scoring at a high clip, but that doesn’t mean it feels the way I want it to feel,” Murray said. “That’s just going to come with time. And I can’t rush time.”

And the Nuggets won’t rush Murray.

“He’ll come back when he’s ready,” said Tim Connelly, the team’s president of basketball operations. “Not when we tell him, not a date on the calendar.”

So, the Nuggets enter the campaign with the same mindset they adopted the day after Murray got hurt they’ll all share the load until their sparkplug returns. It worked last year as they went 13-5 after Murray’s injury, then defeat Portland in the playoffs before losing to Phoenix.

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