Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. Expected To Miss Rest Of Season

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

The Denver Nuggets received some brutal news when it comes to injured starting forward, Michael Porter Jr., who has been sidelined since November 8th as they have been figuring out how to handle the back ailment that had flared up. The rising NBA star appears to have hit another roadblock in his career.

Head coach Michel Malone gave very few details, as he had hoped that Porter would return to the lineup after a few days off. A few days turned into a week and a week turned into a few weeks.

Now three weeks removed from the last time he played, the devastating news has become official. Porter will undergo back surgery and is expected to miss the remainder of the 2021-22 season as a result.

Porter played in only nine games this season and was not very productive. The back ailment could very well have been playing a part in his struggles, as he averaged 9.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. His shooting numbers were poor, as he made 35.9 percent of his shots overall, 20.8 percent of his 3-pointers and 55.6 percent of his free throws.

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It is a tough break for the Nuggets and Porter, as he broke out last season, his third in the NBA but first as a full-time rotation player. He averaged an extremely efficient 19 points per game, making 54.2 percent of his shots overall, 44.5 percent of his 3-pointers and 79.1 percent of his free throws. He grabbed 7.3 rebounds with 1.1 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.9 blocks in 31.3 minutes per game as well.

Back injuries have been a red flag for Porter since he declared for the NBA draft. He played only three games collegiately at Missouri as he dealt with a back injury. He sat out the entire 2018-19 season after being drafted 14th overall because of back surgery.

He was the No. 1 ranked high school player in his class and widely expected to be the first overall pick when he declared for the NBA Draft. He has league-leading scoring upside, but the back injuries pushed him down the draft board as many teams removed him from their draft boards completely because of the back injuries.

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Porter signed a five-year max contract prior to the 2021-22 season kicking off. That extension begins next season, so the team has decided to take a long-term approach and hope that this surgery can help get him back 100 percent healthy on the court.

With Michael Porter Jr. sidelined for the remainder of the season, the Denver Nuggets could change their approach with Jamal Murray as well. Murray tore his ACL in April, which was going to make this season an uphill battle already. Without two of their Big 3, the Nuggets are not legitimate contenders this season.