With the NBA returning to a full 82-game season for the first time since 2019, the San Antonio Spurs are bound to be impacted by their own injuries. The same will be true for every other team in the league, as it is every season.
But there are an unusual amount of more long-term injuries than normal in the Western Conference this year. From rehabbing after serious injuries to recurring issues, there's some real star power that will be seeing the bench for extended periods in 2022.
Fortunately, the Spurs are one of the healthier squads in the league (*knock on wood) in the young season, as only Zach Collins is out until around Christmas time. Other teams, however, aren't so lucky.
Here's a look at some of the key injuries in the Western Conference and to what degree they might have an effect on the Spurs this season.
Jamal Murray - Denver Nuggets
A torn ACL is one of the worst injuries you can have in basketball, and players are rarely themselves even after fully recovering from one. The fact that Murray's was a non-contact injury makes it extra tricky.
Jamal Murray's injury came in April and has no timetable yet, given its severity. Still, the blossoming guard was upbeat at Media Day as he works to get back to the court one day. “Just five months ago, I couldn’t lift my leg off the bed,” Murray said. “So, I’ve come a long way."
The Denver Nuggets won't be in any kind of rush to bring him back and should be near the middle of the playoff seeds in the Western Conference on the back of Nikola Jokic. San Antonio is still yet to find someone that can remotely slow down Jokic, so they're already a tough matchup even without Murray, as the first game of the season's series showed.
The Spurs will face Denver on December 9th and 11th and one last time on April 5th. Although Murray is a primetime player and they're in the West, they'll probably be too far away in the standings for this to have that much of an impact.
Impact on Spurs: Low