Nuggets Notes: Porter, Murray, Jokic, Bench

Following up on ESPN’s report that Michael Porter Jr. (back) is hoping to play at some point in March, Sam Amick of The Athletic provides some additional details, citing a source with knowledge of the situation who says the Nuggets forward is on track to return in mid-to-late March.

Sources tell The Athletic that there’s a “strong sense” within Denver’s locker room that both Porter and Jamal Murray (ACL tear) will be back in time for the playoffs, if not sooner. However, Murray’s timeline is trickier to pin down than Porter’s, according to Amick. Given the severity of Murray’s injury and the sensitivity with which the Nuggets have handled his recovery, the team figures to “handle the final stages of his process with the utmost care,” Amick writes.

Here’s more on the Nuggets:

  • While Nuggets star Nikola Jokic would love to have his injured teammates back in the lineup, he’s not exactly seeking constant updates on their respective situations, as Amick relays. “To be honest, I don’t think about it,” Jokic said. “I’d rather them be healthy than to come back early, so I don’t even think about it. So I just wish them to get healthy, 100 percent.”
  • Mike Singer and Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post discuss the potential impact of Porter’s return, disagreeing about whether he’ll re-enter the Nuggets’ starting lineup. Kiszla doesn’t think that will happen until next season, while Singer believes it makes sense to start MPJ once he’s ready in order to move Jeff Green to the bench and decrease Jokic’s offensive workload.
  • The Nuggets’ second unit was a liability earlier in the season, but it has morphed into a legitimate weapon since the team traded for Bryn Forbes and signed DeMarcus Cousins, Singer writes in a separate article for The Denver Post. The club got a season-high 76 points from its bench in Sunday’s win over Portland, including a combined 39 points and 18 rebounds from Cousins and JaMychal Green.
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