Point guard Dante Exum injured his left knee today while playing for the Australian National Team, and the Jazz fear that he may have torn his ACL, Jody Genessy of The Deseret Times reports (Twitter link). The injury was a non-contact one, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for a quick recovery for the second-year player. If Exum were to miss significant time, the team will be forced to rely heavily on former lottery pick Trey Burke, who was expected to be Exum’s backup. Utah also has Raul Neto and Bryce Cotton in the mix at the one spot heading into training camp.
The Jazz issued a statement regarding Exum (on Twitter), saying, “Exum suffered a left knee injury today while playing for the Australian National Team in a game against the Slovenian National Team in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Exum was initially treated on site and will now return to Salt Lake City for further medical evaluation by the Utah Jazz medical staff and official healthcare partner University of Utah Health Care.”
Exum, 20, was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He appeared in 82 games as a rookie, including 41 starts. His numbers for the 2014/15 campaign were 4.8 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 22.2 minutes per contest. Exum’s slash line for last season was .349/.314/.625.
The injury to Exum is likely to rekindle the debate regarding whether or not NBA players under contract should be allowed by their teams to participate in National Team games during the offseason. Paul George was lost for all but six contests during the 2014/15 season after breaking his leg during a Team USA intrasquad scrimmage last Summer.