Michael Porter Jr.’s Season In Jeopardy?

Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. has been diagnosed with a nerve issue in his back, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post, who says Porter’s season could be in jeopardy.

As Singer writes, the Nuggets haven’t offered up many details on Porter’s status since shutting him down two weeks ago. He has been receiving daily treatment on his back in an effort to strengthen the area where he sustained the injury, Singer explains.

The Nuggets’ plan is to give Porter another week to show improvement before considering alternative treatment options, including a possible surgical procedure, sources tell The Denver Post. Head coach Michael Malone said on Sunday that Porter was in Florida, away from the team. A source tells Singer that the 23-year-old’s absence is related to him seeking more opinions on how to treat the injury.

Porter’s ailment is particularly concerning since he has a history of back issues, having previously undergone two surgeries — one during his first and only college season, and the other prior to his rookie season in 2018.

The 23-year-old enjoyed a breakout season in 2020/21, averaging 19.0 PPG and 7.3 RPG on .542/.445/.791 shooting in 61 games (31.3 MPG). The performance earned him a five-year, maximum-salary rookie scale extension, which goes into effect in 2022/23.

However, Porter battled back pain in his first nine games this season before the injury forced him to the sidelines. He has posted just 9.9 PPG and 6.6 RPG on .359/.308/.556 shooting in 29.4 minutes per contest this season.

We’ll have to wait to see what course of action Porter and the Nuggets take to treat his back injury, but losing him for the season would be a tough blow to a Denver team that’s already missing another one of its maximum-salary players — Jamal Murray is recovering from an ACL tear he sustained in the spring. Without Porter, Murray, and Nikola Jokic – who is dealing with a wrist injury – the club lost its fourth game in a row on Sunday to slip to 9-8 on the season.

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