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Denver’s Jamal Murray gets choked up while leading the crowd in a cheer before Game 1 in Round 1 of the NBA playoffs at Ball Arena on May 22, 2021. Murray was out for the season, but felt the love from the crowd. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette

There’s been plenty of time for Jamal Murray to explore other interests, but the Denver Nuggets guard has found little desire to do so.

“The funny thing is you would think I have (new interests), but I just go back and watch more film. I just go back to the gym and put some more shots up,” Murray said Monday before the team headed to San Diego to start training camp Tuesday. “I haven’t really found a talent outside of basketball yet.”

Five-plus months after surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the time has seemingly passed for Murray to get into other hobbies. These days, he says he’s around the Nuggets facility more than other teammates. He said a regular day includes lower-body lifting, upper-body lifting, a little running and some shooting.

“My day is kind of full,” Murray said.

While he’s lifting, running and shooting, there’s no return date circled on the calendar. Murray said he wanted to have no doubts that he is 100% before a return. Most timelines for recovery from a torn ACL range from 10 to 12 months. Murray would be at or close the midway point of the early side.

“I can’t see myself playing right now. I’m too far away,” Murray said. “Five months ago, I could barely lift my leg off the bed. I’ve come a long way but still have a long way to go.”

Coach Michael Malone and president of basketball operations Tim Connelly sounded like they were on the same page as Murray.

“It’s unfortunate we’re not entering the season fully healthy, but Jamal has attacked rehab like we thought he would. We can’t wait for him to get back whenever he feels fully ready to get back on the court,” Connelly said.

“He’ll come back when he’s ready. Not when we tell him, not a date on a calendar.”

“On all accounts, both physically and mentally, Jamal is doing well. I’m proud of him, because this is not an easy road. He’s definitely attacking it the way he needs to,” Malone added.

Murray said he plans to travel with the team to most games before he’s ready to return, though he added he might skip some of the short, one-game trips because flying still affects his knee and what he’s able to do the following day. He’ll assume something of a player-coach role until he can focus solely on playing.

“For the most part I’ll be with the team,” Murray said. “I’ll be doing some scouting reports for the team pregame and stuff.”

So far, he’s scratched his competitive itch with shooting competitions. He claims to have beaten Nuggets rookie Bones Hyland in a free-throw contest with his left hand, something he’s worked on in his spare time. Getting cleared for one-on-one action is another milestone Murray looks forward to.

“Once I’m cleared to play one-on-one, we’ll definitely get things more competitive,” Murray said.

The Nuggets starting point guard, when healthy, added that he can do a lot of things right now, but he can’t do those things at full speed or with complete confidence in his knee. He plans to return when that’s no longer the case, but there’s no definite timeline.

“That just comes with time,” Murray said. “And I can’t rush time.”

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