Beaten-up Denver Nuggets need Jamal Murray to step up

The Denver Nuggets’ 2016-17 season is still in its infancy, but already the team is beaten up.

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Nuggets NBA draft pick Jamal Murray speaks at a press conference on June 29, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Jamal Murray will likely receive more minutes with shooting guards Will Barton and Gary Harris both sidelined for Thursday's game against the Timberwolves. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Denver Nuggets’ 2016-17 season is still in its infancy, but already the team is beaten up.

Shooting guard Gary Harris has yet to play after suffering a partially torn groin in the preseason. Then on Monday, Will Barton — starting in Harris’ place — went down with a sprained ankle.

According to the Denver Post’s Chris Dempsey, neither will play against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday.

That leaves a massive hole at shooting guard, one that the Nuggets need rookie sharpshooter Jamal Murray to help fill. Murray, the No. 7 overall pick in last summer’s draft, has received double-digit minutes in each of Denver’s first three games. He’s yet to score a field goal, going 0-for-8 from the field.

There’s no reason to start panicking about that yet; it’s still extremely early in the season, and Murray is just 19 years old. But the Nuggets could really use a lift from Murray while Barton and Harris make their way back.

It sounds like Harris could be back soon. The Nuggets have been saying that for a while, though. We still don’t have a timetable for Barton’s return.

Reserve big man Darrell Arthur is expected to make his season debut against Minnesota. He had his knee scoped this summer and missed the entire preseason.

The Nuggets tip off against the Timberwolves at 6 p.m. Thursday. Murray should get plenty of chances to make his first NBA bucket.

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