Nuggets Notes: Jamal Murray Ahead of Schedule in Rehab

Nuggets guard Jamal Murray is “close” to being back to 100 percent following offseason surgery to repair core-muscle related injuries, president of basketball operations, Tim Connelly said on Tuesday.

“He’s close,” Connelly said. “Jamal is just chomping at the bit to play.”

Murray has been working his way back into form after having surgery in Philadelphia back in late April.

“His progression is ahead of schedule,” Connelly said. “He’s approaching his rehab with the same aggression that he approaches his competition on the court. We’re not surprised with how he’s rounding into form.”

In addition to getting healthier, Connelly noted Murray is also getting stronger.

“He’s losing the kid body and putting on the man body,” he said. “If you didn’t have a high threshold for pain, you couldn’t play through what he played through. We had a couple of guys play through some severe injuries. Jamal is a special kid. He’s an extremely focused kid. His mental toughness is off the charts.”

BELIEF IN LYLES. The Nuggets getting Trey Lyles was two years in the making. In 2015, they had just one pick in the first-round of the NBA Draft, and unsuccessfully tried to obtain a second first-round pick with which they could have selected him.

But better late than never. In 2017, the Nuggets got their man, trading for Lyles in a draft night deal with the Jazz.

“Sometimes you go with your gut,” Nuggets president of basketball operations, Tim Connelly said. “You’ve got to trade for guys sometimes when they are not as well-liked internally. Last summer, we couldn’t make this trade. We’re trusting what we’ve learned about Trey in the pre-draft process, what we saw as a rookie, and he had some good moments last year.

“Also, he’s a guy with no injuries. Availability is something very important to our team at the moment. So, he’s a good player and it’s amazing he’s 21 years old. We’ll trust in what we saw a couple of years ago, and in summer league and last year. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.”

No minutes will be carved out for Lyles, however.

“I don’t think (Nuggets coach Michael Malone) is going to carve out minutes for anybody,” Connelly said. “I think it’s going to be competitive. …You’ve got to make your own minutes. There’s a lot of good players on our team that are competitive and want to play. I think Trey is one of those guys.”

SIFTING THROUGH THE RUMORS. The Nuggets’ name has been connected to a number of recent trade rumors. Asked about his view on the various reports, Tim Connelly, president of basketball operations, chuckled.

“There’s so many conversations, especially around the draft,” he said. “For every rumor that hits the media, there’s 10 real conversations that happen. So, we kind of pride ourselves on being tight-lipped, but you can’t control how those things get out there. It’s flattering that other teams covet our players.”

QUICK HITS. Nuggets second-round pick Vlatko Cancar’s timetable for an arrival to the Nuggets remains fluid, president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said. “It depends,” he said. “We’ve had guys that we’ve brought over right away. It depends on how rapidly he develops, and it depends on what our roster looks like.” … Connelly was asked a couple of times about his post-NBA Draft demeanor on the podium when announcing the Nuggets’ transactions. He shrugged it off. “I apologize to those guys if I looked deflated,” Connelly said. “It was malnourishment and a lack of sleep.”

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