Dante Exum may already be lost for the NBA season, potentially crippling the playoff hopes of the Utah Jazz. The Utah Jazz point guard injured his shoulder Friday night in a preseason game against the Phoenix Suns. Exum will miss a significant amount of time for the Jazz.
Dante Exum was reportedly taken to the hospital, as reported by Deseret News, during the game after landing on his shoulder while driving to the basket. The Utah Jazz point guard was slated to have an MRI at the hospital and the results from Dante Exum’s MRI were not favorable.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Dante Exum suffered a separated shoulder in the fall. Not only is Exum dealing with the left shoulder separation, but there is ligament damage in the shoulder as well. It is the latter which could cost Dante Exum the entire season.
Luck has not been on the side of the Utah Jazz over the past few months. During the offseason, the Jazz lost Gordon Hayward and George Hill to NBA free agency.
Hayward and Hill, both starters on last year’s Jazz team, which finished fifth in the Western Conference, went to the Boston Celtics and Sacramento Kings respectively. Dealing with the potential loss of Dante Exum stings the Jazz.
Dante Exum potentially loses a full season, which he needed to establish himself as more than just a mere rotational player for the Utah Jazz. Missing an entire season stunts Exum’s development as a player and hurts the Jazz’s already difficult road to a second consecutive playoff appearance.
The knock on Dante Exum has always been his shooting. Suffering from a shoulder separation limits the opportunities he will have to work on his shot, as he rehabs.
Not only does it take time for Dante Exum’s shoulder to heal, his ligaments require time to heal also. Elevating his arms in a shooting motion will become a restriction until Exum is cleared by the Utah Jazz medical staff.
The Utah Jazz have not made an official announcement on Dante Exum and his injury status. Exum could recover without having surgery. However, if both he and the Jazz medical staff determines that having surgery is the best course of action going forward, Exum will be on the mend. Either way, the Australian-based guard will miss a considerable amount of time for the second time in his NBA career.
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) October 7, 2017
Dante Exum missed all of his second season with a torn ACL. That injury was a huge setback for Exum and the Utah Jazz.
With Exum slated to miss significant time, and possibly the entire season, the Utah Jazz must rely on offseason acquisition Ricky Rubio to pick up more of the slack.
The Jazz dealt for Ricky Rubio a couple of days before Gordon Hayward revealed his free agency destination. The Jazz added Rubio after it was rumored that Hayward said he wanted to play with the star point guard. Hayward eventually left for the Boston Celtics.
Dante Exum—14.6 PTS/9.4 AST/1.7 BLK per 36, .581 TS%, 27 PER
Ricky Rubio—9.1 PTS/5.7 AST/2.3 STL per 36, .359 TS%, 4.1 PER
— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) October 7, 2017
The Jazz trading for Rubio now looks great in the wake of Dante Exum’s shoulder injury.
With Dante Exum out for several months, Ricky Rubio will spend a lot of time in the backcourt. His role shifts to not only the facilitator of the Utah Jazz offense, he must be more aggressive himself.
Over the course of his career, Ricky Rubio has been lauded as a terrific passer and a solid defensive player. If the Jazz have any hopes of a second consecutive playoff appearance, Rubio will have to step up as a scorer in Dante Exum’s absence.
[Featured Image by Gene Sweeney, Jr./Getty Images]