Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. Could Miss Rest Of Season

Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The Denver Nuggets have begun the 2021-22 NBA season without their star point guard in Jamal Murray as he continues he rehab from a torn ACL suffered last April and now they may be without Michael Porter Jr. for the remainder of the year. 

Mike Singer of The Denver Post reported Sunday night that forward Michael Porter Jr. is dealing with a nerve issue in his back that could wind up jeopardizing his season.

The young wing has been sidelined since November 6 when he missed a wide-open layup attempt against the Rockets, immediately grabbed at his lower back, and then walked around the court gingerly before heading to the locker room. 

Coming into the league in 2018, Michael Porter Jr. was a highly talented prospect, but concerns surrounding the health of his back caused him to fall all the way down to 14th overall after being in discussion for the No. 1 overall pick when he enrolled at the University of Missouri. 

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In November 2017, Porter underwent a microdiscectomy that repaired one of two bulging disks in his back and he only ended up playing a total of three games at Missouri. 

Early on in his NBA career with the Nuggets, Michael Porter Jr. missed the entire 2018-19 season due to back surgeries and these injuries definitely drew a cause for concern within this Denver organization. Ultimately, Porter made his debut with the team during the 2019-20 season and has begun to transcend as a key scorer on the wing in the NBA, but now he faces yet another monumental setback due to back issues. 

Originally, the Nuggets had said that Michael Porter Jr. was dealing with back tightness after his apparent injury on November 6, but as the days and weeks went on, more and more bad news began to surface about this injury. From back tightness to being out indefinitely to now potentially dealing with nerve problems that could end his season, this is the last thing the Denver Nuggets wanted to be dealing with. 

Since suffering this injury against the Rockets a few weeks back, Porter has been receiving daily treatment to try and strengthen the area of the injury and he has been seeking more options on how to treat his injury, according to Singer

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Prior to the start of this season, the Nuggets signed Michael Porter Jr. to a new five-year max contract with $145M of this contract being guaranteed. Back injuries have seemed to be apart of Porter’s career since he entered the league and if this injury does in fact keep him out for the rest of the year, this will be a huge blow to a Nuggets team that has not only played well, but are looking to prove that they are championship contenders in the Western Conference. 

In the 9 games he has played in so far this year, Michael Porter Jr. has averaged 9.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals and has shot just 35.9% from the floor, 20.8% from three-point range, drawing a lot of cause for concern. Something looked wrong for Porter to begin the year and it seems like every road points towards his long-term back issues. 

With him likely out indefinitely moving forward and his status for the rest of the season in question, it should be interesting to see what kind of moves the Denver Nuggets possibly make.

Being right under the tax line for the 2021-22 season, Denver does not have much room to make a substantial trade and they only have two trade exceptions worth $2.2M and $1.6M stemming from trades involving R.J. Hampton and Isaiah Hartenstein, respectively, last season. 

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Will Barton’s role is expected to continue increasing with Porter out, as will the roles of Jeff Green, P.J. Dozier and veteran guard Austin Rivers. At 9-8, the Denver Nuggets are still led by Nikola Jokic, so we should not count them out just yet, but losing Michael Porter Jr. potentially for the year definitely puts the Nuggets’ championship hopes in question.

About Brett Siegel 1870 Articles
Brett Siegel joined NBA Analysis Network as an NBA Insider and Journalist in 2020 after previously working with Louisville Basketball and FanSided covering the NBA. He was a member of our staff until April 2022.