However, Murray rebounded in the next tournament, taking the title in Dubai in late February, Murray entered the 2017 BNP Paribas Open as a heavy favorite for the title, yet he was stunned in the opening round by Vasek Pospisil.
"Sadly due to my right elbow injury I will not be playing in Miami", Murray said on Saturday.
The tournament has already received a significant blow with world number one Andy Murray sitting out due to his own elbow injury.
Djokovic's withdrawal from Miami is just the latest setback for a player who endured a drop in form after completing the career Grand Slam with a long-sought French Open victory past year.
The 29-year-old has won the Miami Open twice, in 2009 and 2013, as well as finishing as a runner-up on two occasions, in 2012 and 2015, losing both of those deciders to Novak Djokovic.
Leishman two shots off lead in Florida
It was good to throw in one of the few bogey-free rounds on day one, and I kept it going well in tough conditions this time. Kisner is capable of going as low as anyone, something he proved by shooting 60 during Round 3 at the Sony Open in January.
The men's singles at the Miami tournament begins on Wednesday, with the event running until April 2. "The focus is on getting ready for the clay-court season".
Taylor Fritz now moves into the draw.
Reports claimed that the former world number one went back to Monaco to consult doctor.
The Serbian has won the tournament in five of the last six editions, including each of the past three, but he will not be present to defend his title this year.
Having also suffered an early exit at the Australian Open, Djokovic is struggling to replicate the form which swept all before him 12 months ago.