After an up-and-down rookie season with the Utah Jazz in 2014-15, Dante Exum’s career suffered a major setback last year. During a summer exhibition game with the Australian national team, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2014 Draft suffered a torn ACL in his left knee and missed the entire 2015-16 season after undergoing surgery. Rehab from the injury also kept him out of the Olympics, where he surely would have made the team alongside the likes of Andrew Bogut and Matthew Dellavedova.
Fortunately, Exum says now that he’s fully recovered from the injury and should be good to go when the Jazz kick off training camp in October.
Here’s what he says:
I just passed a year since my injury. It’s been a long, tough year not being able to play, but I’m fully recovered now.
Regardless of what they get out of Exum (and even his biggest fans should go in with tempered expectations, since he just missed an entire season with a serious knee injury), the Jazz are pretty much everybody’s pick to take a huge leap this season. They’ve got a great core with Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert and Gordon Hayward; Rodney Hood is one of the most underrated young wings in basketball; 2015 first-rounder Trey Lyles came on strong late last season after a poor start; and veterans George Hill, Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw were added this summer.
Hill’s presence in particular will give the Jazz some insurance at point guard in case Exum is slow to return to form after the injury. Hopefully he’s able to stay healthy going forward.