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Kings vs. Nuggets gameday: Keegan Murray, Jamal Murray injury updates and scouting reports

The Kings will face one of their toughest tests yet when they face two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets on Saturday at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, but help could be on the way.

The Kings (10-7) have upgraded second-year forward Keegan Murray to questionable after he missed the past four games due to a back injury that has been described as sacroiliac (SI) joint irritation. Murray was a full participant in practice Friday and is progressing toward a return to competition, a league source told The Sacramento Bee. He also participated in Saturday’s morning shootaround.

The Nuggets (14-6) won’t submit an injury report until Saturday, but Jamal Murray (right ankle sprain) and Aaron Gordon (right heel strain) were ruled out for Friday’s game against the Phoenix Suns. Murray returned earlier this week after missing almost a month with a hamstring injury.

The Kings will be coming off two days of rest while the Nuggets will come to Sacramento on the second night of a back-to-back. Denver is 4-0 this season on the second night of a back-to-back.

Scouting Sacramento

The Kings are sixth in the Western Conference, 3 ½ games behind the conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves. They came back from a 24-point deficit to win West Group C in the NBA’s in-season tournament with a 124-123 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday before suffering a 131-117 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

De’Aaron Fox is averaging 30.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists while shooting 36.3% from 3-point range this season. Fox is fourth in the NBA in scoring behind Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant and Luka Doncic. Domantas Sabonis averages 18.7 points, 11.6 rebounds and 6.9 assists, but he is coming off two subpar performances against the Warriors and Clippers.

The Kings are 10th in the NBA in scoring at 116.1 points per game. They are 21st in scoring defense, allowing 116.7 points per game.

Scouting Denver

The Nuggets are second in the Western Conference, 1 game behind the Timberwolves. They have won four in a row with victories over the San Antonio Spurs, Clippers, Houston Rockets and Suns.

Jokic is averaging 29.0 points, 13.2 rebounds and 9.2 assists for Denver. Michael Porter Jr. is averaging 17.6 points and 7.9 rebounds while shooting 39.7% from 3-point range on 7.9 attempts per game. Jamal Murray (16.3 ppg), Gordon (13.1 ppg), Reggie Jackson (12.9 ppg) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (11.1 ppg) are also scoring in double figures for Denver.

The Nuggets are 13th in the NBA in scoring at 114.2 points per game. They are seventh in scoring defense, holding opponents to 109.7 points per contest.

Status updates

Keegan Murray has been cleared to return and will be available for Saturday’s game.

Kings guard Davion Mitchell missed shootaround and has been ruled out due to a non-COVID illness.

Rookie guard Colby Jones will be active and available for Sacramento.

Jamal Murray (ankle) is listed as questionable for the Nuggets.

Gordon (heel) is listed as questionable.

Nuggets at Kings

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Golden 1 Center

TV: NBC Sports California, NBA TV

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140

Odds: Kings -4.5

Over/under: 232.5

Injury report

Nuggets: PROBABLE — Reggie Jackson (quad). QUESTIONABLE — Jamal Murray (ankle); Aaron Gordon (heel). OUT — Vlatko Cancar (knee); Jay Huff (G League); Jalen Pickett (G League); Hunter Tyson (G League).

Kings: QUESTIONABLE — Keegan Murray (back). OUT — Alex Len (ankle); Davion Mitchell (non-COVID illness).

Upcoming schedule

Dec. 2 vs. Denver Nuggets

Dec. 4 vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Dec. 7-9 TBD

Dec. 11 vs. Brooklyn Nets

Dec. 12 at Los Angeles Clippers