NBA

Report: Utah's Dante Exum expected to miss the entire season with shoulder injury

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After losing All-Star Gordon Hayward in free agency, the Utah Jazz have been dealt another major blow ahead of the new season.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, point guard Dante Exum could miss the entire year with a separated left shoulder.

The 22-year-old suffered the injury on a drive to the basket in Utah's 112-102 pre-season victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.

Speaking after the game, head coach Quin Snyder said: "If you saw his shoulder, it didn't look good."

Now the team's worst fears have been realised and the Australian looks set for another lengthy spell on the sidelines as an MRI revealed a separated shoulder and ligament damage, per Wojnarowski.

It is the second major injury of Exum's short NBA career after he missed the entire 2015-16 season with a torn ACL and managed just 66 contests last season after struggling with left knee tendinitis.

The Aussie was hoping to take on a more significant role with Utah following Hayward's departure and had looked good in pre-season.

Last year, he averaged 6.2 points and 2.0 rebounds and showed glimpses of his talent in the Western Conference playoffs but his progress will now be slowed down again.

The Jazz selected Exum with the fifth overall pick in the 2014 draft but are yet to see him fulfill his potential due to his health problems.

In his absence, the Jazz are likely to give an expanded role to rookie Donovan Mitchell as the backup point guard to Ricky Rubio.

The 21-year-old caught the eye in the Summer League as he put in a number of impressive high-scoring performances.

Utah also has Brazilian guard Raul Neto on their books and he could also receive extra minutes.

But the loss of Exum will come as a blow to coach Snyder as this was seen as an important year for the youngster's development.

The 6'6" floor general did well to overcome his previous injury but there's no telling how he'll react to this setback.

The Salt Lake City franchise's chances of making the playoffs have also taken another hit in an already hugely difficult west.

The acquisition of playmaker Rubio will now prove to be more valuable as he'll be tasked with playing heavy minutes at the point and dictating the team's offence.

Utah opens its season at home to the Denver Nuggets on October 19.

Topics:
Rudy Gobert
Utah Jazz
Northwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
Dante Exum

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