Porter Jr. has been out since November 6 when he seemed to injure his back on a botched layup attempt against the Rockets. The incident looked to have worsened a back injury that Porter Jr. has been dealing with all season. An injury that looks like it played a role in his unexpected struggles scoring just 9.9 points and grabbing 6.6 boards per game on 21 percent shooting from deep.
“He’s 23 years old,” teammate Austin Rivers told the Denver Post recently. “He’s gotta take care of himself and get himself right physically, and that way mentally he can come to the court playing the way that we know he can play. He’s playing hurt this whole season. It’s hard to do that. Hopefully, he comes back soon because he’s a huge part of our team.”
Porter Jr. has had a long history of back injuries, going under the knife twice for back surgeries. The first time happened during his one-and-done season at Missouri that kept him out for nearly four months. The second came during his rookie season, a surgery that forced Porter to miss his entire rookie season.
Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told the Denver Post Sunday after a loss to the Suns that Porter is away from the team and in Florida; League sources told the Post he was seeking more opinions on how to treat his injury aside from the reported daily treatment Porter receives to strengthen his back.
The Nuggets signed Porter to a five-year max contract in late September. At least $145 million in the max extension is guaranteed.
The Nuggets are also awaiting the return of reigning MVP Nikola Jokic from a sprained wrist, Jamal Murray from a torn ACL, and Zeke Nnaji from a sprained ankle. The next time Denver plays is Tuesday against the Trail Blazers on TNT at 10 PM.