DECEMBER 1: Porter underwent lumbar spine surgery on Wednesday at the Carrell Clinic in Dallas, the team announced in a press release. He has been ruled out indefinitely.
NOVEMBER 29: Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. is undergoing surgery on his lower back and will be ruled out indefinitely, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links). The procedure is expected to take place on Wednesday.
While Wojnarowski says a timeline for Porter’s return will be determined after the surgery, Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) reports that the 23-year-old is expected to miss the rest of the 2021/22 season.
A recent report indicated that Porter, who is dealing with a nerve issue in his back, wanted to avoid going under the knife again. However, Charania says Porter and the team ultimately decided to take a “big-picture approach” to his health, with the young forward’s five-year, maximum-salary extension set to go into effect in 2022/23.
Porter previously underwent two surgeries on his back — one during his first and only college season, and the other prior to his rookie season in 2018, which delayed his NBA debut by a year.
Those back issues caused his draft stock to drop, allowing the Nuggets to nab him with the No. 14 overall pick in ’18. Denver appeared to be reaping the benefits of rolling the dice on Porter when he 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).
However, MPJ battled back pain in his first nine games this season before the injury forced him to the sidelines — he posted just 9.9 PPG and 6.6 RPG on .359/.308/.556 shooting in 29.4 minutes per contest. Having already invested significant money in the former Missouri Tiger, the Nuggets will be counting on him to make a full recovery, and the expectation is that will happen, according to Wojnarowski.
The injury-plagued Nuggets will now be without three key players for the foreseeable future. Jamal Murray continues to recover from a torn ACL he suffered in the spring, while PJ Dozier recently sustained a torn ACL of his own. Nikola Jokic has also recently missed time with a wrist ailment, though he’s expected to return to action soon.
Denver will likely apply for a disabled player exception in the wake of Porter’s surgery. As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), a DPE would be worth about $2.6MM (half of Porter’s 2021/22 salary) and the Nuggets are only currently about $1.9MM below the tax line, without an open roster spot, so its usefulness would be limited.
39 thoughts on “Michael Porter Jr. Undergoes Back Surgery, Expected To Miss Rest Of Season”
It’s over for Denver. Time to blow it up.
Hardly. Still have the best player in the NBA. Everyone forgets how good Jamal Murray is. Jokic-Murray-Barton-Gordon is plenty good enough to get back to a WCF. And we’ll see whether they inserted language into Porter’s contract if this turns out to be career ending. They very likely did.
Did he know of back pain and injury before he signed the max extension?? Regardless, Nuggets front office and Porter’s assistant coach dad have a lot of explanations to do. This basically ties up Nuggets financially going forward, and shuts the “title window”.
God damn him for securing his future!
He has every right to secure his future, but he is contractually bound to tell the truth about your health. There is ethics in sports believe it or not. At the end of the day, let’s just all hope he comes back next year at full strength and he has a great career.
If only professional sports teams had well-paid doctors to examine these athletes prior to them signing big contracts…
He has always had back issues is why you shouldn’t sign a player like that to a long term max deal.
They should just tank the rest of the year, come back next year with a top draft pick and hopefully a healthy Jokic, Porter, Murray, Gordan, and Barton. This year wasnt gonna be their year anyways!
I Denver wants to tank, they have to shutdown Jokic. I don’t see that happening.
Sad to see. When fit he is a great young player and you can see why he got his contract. Back issues aside someone would have offered him the payday so it was either keep him or lose him. They took the risk
I do think tank is the right call. Without Murray and Porter it will cost them any chance at a deep play offs. Wrap up and restrict Jokic for the season. tank and reset with a new high prospect next year. A fully fit roster Denver are contenders.
Nuggets had no risk whatsoever of losing him. He would have become a “restricted” FA which means Nuggets had every right to match. THIS is a major major screwup by the front office. Everybody figured they had inside info on the back issues, but instead it showed that they were incompetent and/or duped. They need to get all fired.
And as an RFA someone would offer a max which would have been matched and then they’re in the exact same situation 100%.
They took a risk. Keep him and it pays off or let him go and have someone else benefit. The risk went the wrong way. I’m not saying it’s not bad business. But if he had of overcame it and had a full injury free season he would be a top player and then everyone would be saying the opposite.
They’d be slightly better off (as their base offer can exceed the market, and they are also allowed to include the Rose language).
But even if it was the same, that’s a good enough reason to wait. Same deal with another year to evaluate. A risk implies upside and downside; not the case in jumping the gun here. Only downside.
The way you put it I can’t really argue it. I appreciate the input.
It’s very odd to say the least. It just doesnt add up what the FO did.
Only thing I can assume is trying to show loyalty. Either that or they were planning some kind of trade in the future. But that’s not likely either.
Back issues don’t show up easily on MRI or xrays. If they weren’t aware of the severity prior to then why should the medical staff be fired?
He’s had 2 back surgeries previously, and there is verifiable report that Porter tweaked his back last postseason. They could have waited another year before offering him a max extension for further evaluation. He would have become “resticted” FA at the end of this year, so there was no chance of losing him in FA.
I’m glad MPJ got his max contract before this injury came out, but never liked the decision from Denvers point of view.
True. Denver offered the deal, so everyone is at fault.
I think they need to mini-tank. Take the year to develop the younger players and get a high pick.
Such an unlucky sequence of events.
Aaron Gordon has looked very good though.
Vlatko is a solid player and should get more burn anyway. Same with Zeke.
Jeff Green has been good, JaMychal not so much.
Campazzo is a situational guard, to be played only with strong offensive players. He’s not able to get his shot off the way a back up point needs to, a la Monte Morris.
Rivers has been totally nondescript and Will Barton is so inconsistent.
They look woefully outmatched these past few games and Jokic has to be insanely good to even keep them in games so far this season.
Mini tank or bust.
Disheartening. Can’t watch haven’t been watching since Jok sat. Such a waste for fans to only get to see Jok MVP with such terrible roster. Bad for the NBA. NBA has lost it’s most interesting team.
Worst FO in league
I think the New Orleans front office would have something to say about that
I nominate MPJ for the Chandler Parsons Award.
I really liked Parsons, too bad about his injuries.
Three Back Surgeries
And he is only 23 years old
He better work towards getting a college degree during this down time
While he may have the smarts and heart for the game, his body is betraying him
Probably not a long term future in Pro Basketball
Denver committed too many NUGGETS to this guy
OOPS ….. not worth a 1dt rd pick. Denver went for it. Then gave him another contract. Not a smart move. It’s too bad but it’s not like you didn’t see it coming. They should retire him. And get their money back thru the insurance. Back problems that young. It’s Over.
Real sad for such a nice young man & a super exciting talent!
Just hoping he comes back strong as soon as possible!
For all the naysayers out there, he ain’t getting paid a cent out of the extension this year, so the new contract is absolutely & totally irrelevant, which means that the new contract was a great decision from the FO until proven otherwise, which hasn’t & it can’t at least until next year, that’s all folks!
The Don can use a calculator. You are absolutely clueless lol. Drafting him was a mistake. Nuggets could of added talent to a good team. Instead they got nothing. Cause they swung for fences. MISTAKE see only real Ballers like me can call that. Then they made it worse by giving him a new contract. 3 back operations at 23. He is DONE. Look up Larry Bird. Johnson from Knicks. Basketball and back issues never mix. NEVER. A franchise should know that. They rolled the dice and it came up craps lol. I’m not a hater. I’m a knowledgeable baller. He’s not the first to steal NBA money. Not my money
Dwight Howard has done alright, and he has had atleast 3 back surgeries
Not by age 23, but it can be managed
Larry had back problems to start & end his career, but I wouldn’t say he should have never played, or Boston was dumb to pay him
MPJ is not Larry, but the jury is also still out on whether he can put a few solid seasons together, making the pick well worth it
13 teams passed on him in the draft, as they all did their due diligence with the top back experts and specialists. Sure enough, Porter had another back surgery and missed all of his rookie year and now the 3rd back surgery. And, apparently he tweaked his back last postseason. So why not wait for another year before extension?? Why not let him be a “restricted” FA or at least get a discount in the extension?? Why offer him max years and max $$ like he is #1 draft pick??! He played great the last couple yrs, but it wasnt even like he was the guarantee super star. Something doesnt add up here. Very very fishy to say the least ….
What a lot of fans dont understand is that if Porter is unable to live up to his max contract, Nuggets are in serious danger of eventually losing Jokic. Think about it, would he want to play for a losing team forever?? Mind boggling judgment error by front office.
My only point is. Denver was a good team on the rise. When they took him. It was a gamble they didn’t need to take. That’s all. Like you said other teams didn’t trust it either. But then you give him a 140 mill guaranteed max contract. WHY ????
I’m all for talent getting paid. But a guy with back issues. WHY???? I’m the owner I fire who’s responsible for this.
It’s more like $173m for 5 years! If it’s just money, it’s no big deal. But Nuggets have to deal with salary cap and luxury tax going forward with a guy having 3rd back surgery. Hopefully, Porter can come back and play well. Porter’s agent and his dad must be some genius to convince the FO to give him max extension.
Who are nuggets fo now?garpax? I like mpj.but with his back injuried history, it isnt worth to gave him max.
FREE BOL BOL !!!
Where is Enes Kanter-Freedom on this one? Guy is locked in jail in Denver
Half the team is injured, and Jeff Green gets 40 minutes?
Malone is being a bum about this…