Denver Nuggets SF Michael Porter Jr. will undergo surgery on his lower back and is out indefinitely, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Porter is expected to make a full recovery but it’s unclear when/if he’ll return this season. The Nuggets are already without PG Jamal Murray, who is recovering from ACL surgery. C Nikola Jokic is also dealing with a wrist injury and has been in and out of the lineup this season.
While Woj states that Porter’s agent has no timeline, The Athletic’s Shams Charania is running with Porter will be out for the remainder of the regular season.
Sources: Denver forward Michael Porter Jr. is expected to miss the remainder of the season due to back surgery. Tough blow, but with Porter’s five-year extension kicking in next season, he and the Nuggets take big-picture approach to his health.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 29, 2021
This injury is problematic for Denver. Porter has a history of back issues dating back to when he was a prospect in college. It’s part of the reason he dropped to the Nuggets in his draft year in 2018. The Nuggets just signed Porter to a max 5-year, $172 million contract this offseason. So the worst case scenario may be taking place. All of the worries about Porter and the injuries are happening at the worst possible time for Denver.
The Nuggets enter Monday night against the Miami Heat on a six-game losing streak. Denver will still have a shot at the playoffs and play-in tournament. By that time, who knows, maybe Murray and Porter are both back. At least with Murray’s return the Nuggets should be able to get in. The issue is without all three healthy, the Nuggets really don’t have a shot at title contention. Will Barton and Aaron Gordon can only take you so far and the other role players haven’t panned out well.
Bones Hyland may end up being a solid addition but is still just a rookie. Monte Morris has underperformed having to fill in at PG. Zeke Nnaji doesn’t appear to have much upside. The Nuggets just lost G P.J. Dozier to a torn ACL. So things are kind of falling apart for the Nuggets. It may be time to look at them potentially missing the playoffs. It really depends how much the team wants to stretch Jokic in a season that could be lost.