July 3, 2022

Michael Porter Jr. injury update: Nuggets star suffers setback in recovery from back surgery, per report

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USATSI

The Denver Nuggets had held out hope for most of the season that their two injured stars, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., would return in time for a postseason run. The closer we get to the playoffs, though, the less likely it seems. The Nuggets have just six games left on their regular-season schedule, and neither Murray nor Porter is back on the court. Now, it seems like we’ll have to wait even longer to see one of them.

Porter has suffered a minor setback in recent weeks while rehabbing mid-season back surgery, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post. While one source described the setback as “nothing major,” the Nuggets have not reportedly decided what it means for Porter’s hopes of playing this season. With so little time left for him to ramp up, the window for Porter to return for the postseason appears to be closing. 

If Porter does not return, he will have averaged just 9.9 points in nine appearances this season due to that back injury. He signed a five-year max contract extension last offseason that will kick in next year, and if the Nuggets are going to get fair value on that deal, they are going to need him healthy when next season begins. Back injuries are tricky, and it appears as though Porter is on the right track, but without an exact timeline, there’s no telling what the star forward will look like when he comes back.

The Nuggets, at 45-31, are currently seeded No. 6 in the Western Conference despite getting only nine combined games out of Murray and Porter this season. Nikola Jokic is having an MVP-caliber season to keep Denver afloat, but beyond their stellar big man, the Nuggets simply lack the scoring to make a serious postseason run. If this setback keeps Porter out, any lingering hope of a real run for the Nuggets is likely gone.