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Michael Porter Jr. to miss first game of season Wednesday vs. Lakers

Nuggets forward is out to manage his back injury.

Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets celebrates a three point basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder on October 22, 2022 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.  Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Denver Nuggets SF Michael Porter Jr. has been ruled out for Wednesday night’s game vs. the Los Angeles Lakers to manage his back injury. It’s being described as “lumbar management” by reporters, so essentially load management. The Nuggets enter the game 2-2 on the season. Jeff Green is probable to play vs. the Lakers, dealing with a finger injury.

Through the first four games, MPJ has looked good, averaging 18 points with 5.8 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from 3-point range on limited attempts. Porter’s injury history is well-documented. He missed pretty much all of 2021-22 due to the back injury, something he’s been dealing with through most of his basketball career.

With MPJ out vs. the Lakers, expect Bruce Brown to start at small forward. Green could also slot there in the starting lineup. Brown and G Bones Hyland feel like the best fantasy basketball pivots with MPJ out. Nikola Jokic is almost always going to be a strong play, though the Lakers have done a decent job defensively down low with Anthony Davis.