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Canadian basketball star Jamal Murray will sit out FIBA World Cup

Murray, Nuggets decide he needs more time to recover from long and demanding season
Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray gestures during the second half of Game 5 of basketball’s NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, Monday, June 12, 2023, in Denver. Murray will not suit up for Canada in the upcoming FIBA World Cup, Canada Basketball announced on Wednesday.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Jack Dempsey

Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray will not suit up for Canada in the upcoming FIBA World Cup, Canada Basketball announced on Wednesday.

Murray, who attended Canada’s training camp earlier this month in Toronto, stated that, after consulting with his team and medical staff, it was decided that he needed additional recovery following a long and demanding season.

“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,” said Murray.

Murray is two months removed from the end of his NBA season after the Nuggets won their first title in franchise history in June. Serbia’s Nikola Jokic, the two-time NBA MVP and Murray’s Golden State teammate, is also skipping the World Cup to rest.

The Kitchener, Ont., guard sat out the 2021-22 season while recovering from surgery for an ACL tear.

The World Cup takes place from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10 in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.

In order to secure a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics, Canada must achieve a top-two finish among the Americas teams. Canada hasn’t qualified for the Olympics since 2000.

The Canadians, who have been placed in Group H at the World Cup, will play France on Aug. 25, Lebanon on Aug. 27 and Latvia on Aug. 29 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The final phase of the 32-team tournament will be played in Manila, Philippines.

“It’s still a dream of mine to represent Canada at the Olympics, and I will support the team every step of the way as they pursue this goal,” said Murray.

While losing the services of Murray, who averaged 20 points and 6.2 assists for the Nuggets last season, is a big blow, the Canadians still boast a stacked roster that includes All-NBA selection Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder, along with Nickeil Alexander-Walker of the Minnesota Timberwolves and RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks.

Canada is in Spain this week to play exhibition matches against Spain on Thursday and the Dominican Republic on Friday.