Nuggets Will Be "Very Cautious" With Porter

Lottery pick Michael Porter Jr. underwent back surgery last week – his second since November

July 20, 2018 - 8:51 am

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Denver Nuggets lottery pick Michael Porter Jr. underwent back surgery last week – his second since November – leading many to question his durability and longevity in the NBA.

Two back surgeries? For a guy who just turned 20? Aren’t the Nuggets concerned?

“I think they’ve been very transparent and very open about the fact that they know that the reason why Michael Porter slipped to them at No. 14 in the draft is because of those health concerns,” Denver Post Nuggets writer Gina Mizell said on Ferrall on the Bench. “(He had a) very shortened career at Missouri because of back surgery, he obviously had some hip spasms before the draft and had to reschedule a multi-team Pro Day-style workout, and this procedure happened last week during the offseason.”

There is no timetable for Porter’s return.

“Tim Connelly, the president of basketball operations, has been very upfront about saying they’re going to take the long view with Michael Porter,” Mizell said. “They’re not going to put him on the floor until he’s perfectly healthy – not 80 percent, not 90 percent, but 100 percent that they feel good about him being on the floor. So I think Nuggets fans need to kind of temper their expectations. I’m not saying he’s going to redshirt this season and not play at all, but certainly I feel like anything that he does this upcoming season is kind of gravy just because of the long process of making sure that back is all right and that he’s 100 percent before they put him on the floor.”

The Nuggets have missed the playoffs by one game each of the last two years. Last year, they went 46-36, with 23-year-old Nikola Jokic leading the team in scoring (18.5 points per game), rebounds (10.7) and assists (6.1).

This team will compete in the Western Conference with or without Porter, who is already up and walking around again.

“It’s not like he’s bedridden right now and can’t move and all that stuff,” Mizell said. “I think that’s a good sign. But this is a kid that's 20 years old and has already had two back surgeries. We’ve seen from other guys that that can be a tough thing to recover from – not just in normal life, but to try to be a professional athlete. They’re going to be very, very cautious with him and make sure that he’s 100 percent because they believe in this core that they have right now as far as their other players and they don’t need a quick fix or a guy to come in and be a savior of the franchise right away.”