The Nuggets earned a No. 2 seed and advanced to Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals this season without any contributions from their 2018 first-round pick, Michael Porter Jr., who missed the season due to a back injury. However, Porter said today that he has been medically cleared and expects to suit up for Summer League action in July, as Sean Keeler of The Denver Post details.
“My back doesn’t hurt anymore, and I feel good,” Porter told reporters on Monday. “Really, I want to show that I’m back, I’m feeling good, I’m ready to play, and everything’s good.”
Viewed as a potential top-five talent in the 2018 draft class, Porter slipped to No. 14 overall due to health concerns. He previously underwent surgery to repair herniated disks in his back, and suffered from hip spasms in the spring leading up to the draft.
If they expect Porter to be healthy and ready to go for the 2019/20 season, the Nuggets could have some additional roster flexibility this offseason. Trey Lyles, for instance, is facing restricted free agency, but Denver may not aggressively attempt to re-sign him if the club anticipates Porter being a part of the frontcourt rotation next season.
Still, while this is a positive first step for the former lottery pick, he still a ways to go. The next step will be the Nuggets giving him the green light to participate in Summer League, and seeing how he responds.