Jamal Murray is nothing short of a warrior. He is a man who grew up doing pushups in the snow in order to train his mind to eradicate pain, but even that level of extreme training was not enough to eliminate his pain receptors from going berserk after rolling his left ankle when taking on the Charlotte Hornets in Denver.

That is why, when Murray collapsed to the floor in immense pain right in front of the Charlotte Hornets bench before halftime, it was clear that something was wrong.

As Murray writhed in agony on the floor with his teammates huddled over him collectively concerned, the reality that Murray is likely to miss some number of games finally began to set in.

While the Nuggets managed to escape with a 100-86 victory at home against the Hornets without him, Murray’s injury still loomed large which led to Nuggets head coach Michael Malone being asked about his status.

“I think the X-rays are negative; I do not know how long he is going to be out,” Malone explained during his postgame press conference after Denver’s win over the Hornets. “Obviously he has had an issue with ankle injuries. I just looked at it and it is rather large which is kind of scary. He rolled it and those are scary because those injuries — aside from being painful — you don’t want to have Jamal Murray miss extended period of time. Hopefully it is not as bad as it looks and we can get him back.”

For now, not much is known about Murray’s ankle injury, but here is what is known so far.

  • Murray rolled his left ankle and immediately reached for the top portion of his ankle which likely means it is a high-ankle sprain.
  • Murray was x-rayed after injuring his left ankle and they came back negative meaning no breaks or fractures.
  • There was no point where Murray, when on the court or when going to get an x-ray, put weight on his left ankle.
  • Murray has a history of dealing with troublesome ankle issues.
  • This injury has nothing to do with his lower back.

Beyond those five facts, his injury is a mystery, but as he gets more tests done over the next couple of days, a clearer picture will begin to take shape.

So now that it is clear that Murray will at least miss some games, where do the Nuggets go from here? Well, in the second half against the Hornets, Malone started Monte Morris at point guard in place of Murray as he did last year when Murray missed time.

“He did it last year at times and he has been a guy who you can rely on,” Malone said when asked how comfortable he is starting Monte Morris. “He is a tough kid who is never afraid and, with the way he has been playing as of late, I think it even helps him that much more. We will ask him to be our starter until Jamal gets back.”

Well, that is as clear as it gets. Until Murray returns, Morris will be the Nuggets starting point guard, but that means Denver will be a creator short. Where else could they look for players to pick up Murray’s slack?

Denver does have their 15th roster spot still vacant and ready to be utilized if they chose to find more guard help outside of their own roster. Players like former Nuggets guards Jameer Nelson, Devin Harris, and Raymond Felton are currently available to be signed as well as other names such as Jamal Crawford, Jeremy Lin, and others.

But if the Nuggets would rather keep that 15th roster spot open, they still have players on their roster who can help pick up the production that is lost without the services of Murray.

“Knowing that you have PJ Dozier, knowing that you have Will Barton, and Nikola Jokic is like a point-center so we have a lot of guys that can carry the load while Jamal is out, but I trust Monte 1000%,” Malone explained.

Once again, that is as clear as it gets, but the most interesting part of Malone’s statement above is that he mentioned Dozier as another creator to rely on.

Yes, Malone was asked that question right after Dozier had a fantastic debut with the Nuggets — he tied his career-high with 12 points to also go with four rebounds and two assists — but that does not take away from the fact that Malone feels that he can rely on Dozier to fill in some minutes as a point guard off of the bench if needed.

Malone even made it abundantly clear that he felt blessed to have Dozier available against the Hornets despite his less-than-ideal time to prepare for the game.

“I thought — when Jamal went down — that I am thankful that we called PJ Dozier up,” Malone explained. “PJ — who is an NBA player with no doubt in my mind — went out there and has a huge impact on the game.”

This is nothing new from Malone. Even going back to training camp, Malone has made it a point to remind anyone who will listen that PJ Dozier is unequivocally worthy of being a full-time NBA player.

So when he had an opportunity to heap praise upon Dozier after his debut, Malone did not hold back.

“I told him back when we had him that he is destroying the G-League; I don’t know what else PJ can do in the G-League,” Malone stated. “He goes down there and puts up big numbers every night, has an unbelievable attitude, and a great work ethic so I was not surprised by anything he did tonight — I mean that sincerely. I believe in PJ Dozier and he believes in himself. All he needs is an opportunity and he got one tonight and took full advantage.”

It seems that Dozier will have more and more opportunities to prove himself over the next however-many games Murray will be out, but regardless of Dozier’s chances to prove himself, one thing is now crystal clear: Dozier will always be ready to help out his team at any moment as he proved against the Hornets.

“I have been preparing for this my whole life,” Dozier re-emphasized. “I have been excited to have this opportunity, but I hate that they had to happen under this circumstances. But he will be alright so like I said, I have been trying to stay ready for this.”