Despite what hints he throws out there, despite what you want to believe, don’t allow yourself to be convinced that Dejounte Murray will be back for the Spurs this season. We’ve been told by Gregg Popovich time and again that he WILL NOT RETURN this season after suffering an ACL tear during the 2018 preseason, “barring a miracle.”
And yet, Murray continues to torture us into believing on social media. Between constant video updates showing is rehab progress — from barely walking again to dunks — and now this . . .
. . . he’s making it harder and harder to stick to Pop’s words. When is “soon”? The playoffs are soon — 26 days to be exact (April 13) — but are they far enough away for Murray to make it back to the court and reintegrate himself? Long story short: no.
Pop will not risk re-injury due to an early return from an ailment that typically takes a year to fully recover from. While Murray’s return (combined with, among other things, the rise of Derrick White) has the potential to lift the Spurs back championship contention next season, that would not be the case this season. Even if he is physically ready to play, there is no such thing as being in “game shape” until you’ve played for an extended period of time, and odds are slim-to-none that there’s enough time left for Murray to get to a point where he can contribute meaningful minutes this season.
Also, as Tony Parker’s early return showed last season, coming back at 70% can make it even harder to reach 100%. He eventually hit a wall and couldn’t up his production anymore, and that was unfortunately the beginning of the end of his playing time as a Spur. Even though Murray is much younger and will have the off-season to keep recuperating instead of being under the pressure Parker was to produce now, it’s not worth the risk.
Finally, there’s the aspect of bringing Murray back now and messing up the good thing his team has going at the moment to consider. The Spurs’ rotation is funky, but it’s working. Now is not the time to mess with as close to perfection as this version of the team is going to get. (Or is it?)
So far, nothing besides Murray’s social media activity has pointed to that aforementioned “miracle” that would allow him to return now, and as much as we want to believe the 22 year-old with his infatuating smile, enthusiasm, and unwavering confidence, we’re only in for disappointment if we do.