Exum, the No. 5 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, suffered the injury on Aug. 4 while playing for the Australian National Team in Slovenia. He was treated on the scene before being sent back to Salt Lake City for more tests. Initial reports correctly pegged the injury as an ACL tear:
Initial concern is that Dante Exum might have suffered a torn ACL in his left knee, per a source. Jazz will know more when he's evaluated.
— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) August 4, 2015
I am told Dante Exum was diagnosed with a torn ACL in the arena in Slovenia and the #Jazz will confirm that diagnosis ASAP
— Tim Montemayor (@TheMontyShow) August 4, 2015
The Jazz didn’t announce plans for surgery, but that’ll obviously happen sometime in the near future, after which a timetable for his return will likely be announced. Considering the timing and nature of the injury, there’s a very good chance Exum will miss the entire 2015-16 campaign, as there’s little reason to rush the 20-year-old back into the lineup.
This is a tough blow for Utah, who has high hopes heading into next year after closing out last season strong. While Exum remains a raw prospect offensively, he established himself as a potential lockdown defender in his rookie season. The hope was that his offensive game would begin to catch up to his defense next season, but that’s going to have to wait.
Trey Burke will likely slot into the starting point-guard spot, with Raul Neto and Bryce Cotton on the depth chart behind him. There are also some other players, such as Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood and Alec Burks, who can handle some of the ball handling duties.
But even so, this is a huge bummer for the team and a promising prospect, and hopefully he makes a quick recovery. The top of the 2014 draft class has dealt with a bunch of injuries thus far (Parker, Embiid, Gordon, Exum, Smart, Randle, Vonleh, McDermott), and hopefully this is the last of them for quite some time.