Jamal Murray of the NBA champion Denver Nuggets announced Wednesday that he will not play for Canada in the World Cup, citing a need for ongoing recovery after a long season.
Murray was in camp with the Canadian team earlier this month, but he did not accompany the team to Germany and Spain for its exhibition games that will precede the World Cup while weighing his options.
“When I came into training camp, I wanted to see how my body would respond after a long and demanding season and if I would be physically able to compete at the highest level required for the World Cup,” Murray said in a statement distributed by Canada Basketball. “In consultation with medical staff and the team, it is clear that additional recovery is required, and I have made the difficult decision to not participate in the tournament.”
Murray said he still considers it “a dream of mine to represent Canada at the Olympics.” The Canadians would qualify for the 2024 Paris Games if they are among the top two finishers from the FIBA Americas region at the World Cup; otherwise, they’ll need to go through additional qualifying games to try to make the Paris field.
Murray joins a long list of NBA players who considered playing in the World Cup but could not because of injury issues or other rest-related concerns. Among them: his Denver teammate and NBA Finals MVP Nikola Jokic of Serbia, Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Latvia’s Kristaps Porzingis of the Boston Celtics and France’s Victor Wembanyama of the San Antonio Spurs.
Canada will play France, Latvia and Lebanon in the group stage of the tournament that starts Aug. 25 in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. The Canadians — who will be led by All-NBA guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder — will play group games in Jakarta.
Murray missed the 2021-22 season because of an ACL tear. The Nuggets’ title run lasted until this past June, and the World Cup medal rounds are about three weeks before NBA teams will open training camp for the coming season.