Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. participated in practice on a limited basis Monday for the first time since he suffered a heel injury, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets. Porter is unlikely to play Wednesday against the Wizards but the team is hopeful he can keep progressing at practice this week, including contact and live drills. He hasn’t played since Nov. 22.
We have more from the Northwest Division:
- Guard Gary Payton II is targeting his season debut in the next week or two, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. Payton signed a three-year, $26MM contract with the Trail Blazers as an unrestricted free agent in July, then had core muscle surgery during the offseason. Payton was a key rotation player on the Warriors’ championship team and the Blazers view him as a valuable reserve.
- Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups has invested more time with Anfernee Simons than anyone else on the roster and it’s paying off, Jason Quick of The Athletic writes. Simons, who signed a four-year, $100MM extension during the summer, is averaging 24.2 points and is shooting 39.2% from 3-point range. “He’s still like PlayDoh; we are still shaping him,” Billups said. “He’s still scratching the surface, in my opinion.”
- It’s been a rough rookie campaign for the Jazz’s Ochai Agbaji thus far, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News notes. The No. 14 overall pick has only appeared in 11 games, averaging 9.5 MPG, and has also struggled at the G League level. The Jazz are still sold on the former Kansas standout’s raw talent and athleticism.