Dante Exum has a torn ACL in his left knee, the Jazz announced, confirming initial fears in the wake of the injury he suffered Tuesday while playing for the Australian national team. He’ll inevitably require surgery, notes Jody Genessy of The Deseret News (Twitter links), even though the team hasn’t said so. The Jazz didn’t specify a timetable for recovery, either, but it seems likely that the point guard will miss all of the 2015/16 season.
Utah will probably replace Exum in house rather than acquiring another player, as Tony Jones and Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune wrote earlier this week, with Trey Burke seemingly poised to become the starting point guard in Exum’s place. Utah also has draft-and-stash signee Raul Neto at the position, as well as Bryce Cotton, who’s on a non-guaranteed contract. Shooting guard Alec Burks, who’s coming off an injury of his own that prematurely ended his 2014/15 season, also has experience at the point.
The Jazz are ineligible to apply for a disabled player exception since they’re under the cap. Utah has close to $7MM in cap room as it stands and can open more than $10MM if they waive their players with non-guaranteed salary, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders notes.
Exum, the No. 5 overall pick from 2014, played in all 82 games as a rookie, starting precisely half of them. His numbers weren’t eye-popping, as he averaged 4.8 points and 2.4 assists in 22.2 minutes per contest. The injury doesn’t do much to threaten his next contract, since his rookie scale deal runs through 2017/18, provided the Jazz pick up their team options on the final two seasons, a likely scenario. It does thrust Burke into the spotlight in the final season before he becomes eligible for a rookie scale extension next summer.
What do you think the Jazz should do in the wake of the injury? Leave a comment to tell us.