Porter said at Monday's exit interview that he's full cleared and expects to play for the Nuggets' summer league entry, Harrison Wind of BSN Denver reports. The 14th overall pick in the 2018 Draft ended up missing the entirety of his rookie season while rehabbing after back surgery, but he said Monday that he's pain-free and has full medical clearance. Widely considered a top-three prospect in his high school class, Porter was projected as a potential No. 1 pick before injuring his back as a freshman at Missouri. Given that the injury sidelined him for most of the 2017-18 season, we're yet to see Porter against non-high-school competition for extended stretches, but he remains a high-upside prospect who could prove to be a valuable part of the Nuggets' future if he's able to stay healthy. Assuming he's given the green light to play summer league, the 6-10 Porter will be among the most buzzed-about names in Las Vegas.
Coach Michael Malone said Porter (back) participated in portions of Thursday's practice, but the rookie will remain out for Friday's game in Dallas and is without a timeline to make his NBA debut, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic reports. Porter has been a partial participant in practices for more than a month now, but until he gains clearance for full-court, full-contact scrimmaging, his return to game action shouldn't be viewed as imminent. Given their long-term investment in Porter, the No. 14 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, it might make sense for the Nuggets to effectively redshirt him this season before preparing him for a likely rotational role in 2019-20.
Coach Michael Malone said Jan. 16 that Porter (back) remains without a timeline for making his NBA debut, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic reports. "There are days [Porter is] able to go through parts of practice -- noncontact, of course-- and you see his size, his skill level, his shooting," Malone said. "The guy has a pure jump shot. You forget how long he is. When we do ballhandling and finishing drills, you see his handle and ability to finish, and it's impressive. When we do shooting drills and you see his stroke and how pure it is. It's really encouraging." While it appears safe to conclude that Porter won't be available until after the All-Star break, if at all, this season, Malone's comments illustrate the optimism the Nuggets hold for his future. Widely considered a candidate to go No. 1 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft prior to his freshman campaign at Missouri, Porter instead played just three college games after requiring a pair of spinal surgeries to address bulging discs in his back. That resulted in him falling to Denver at pick No. 14, a selection the team viewed as a worthy high-risk/high-reward decision. With the Nuggets already sitting in second place in the Western Conference standings sans Porter, the team is incentivized to continue taking it slowly with the 6-foot-10 forward before integrating him into the rotation in 2019-20. The 20-year-old should continue to be viewed as a prized asset in dynasty formats.
Porter (back) is still without a return timetable, but he's impressed the team in recent workouts, ESPN's Brian Windhorst reports. Windhorst included the report as a mere tidbit in a recent article, but it's nonetheless positive news for the 13th overall pick, who fell in June's draft amid concerns about his back. Porter has been slowly recovering from surgery that robbed him of nearly his entire freshman season at Missouri, but he's ramped up his activity in recent weeks and, per Windhorst, has surprised the Nuggets with how well he's shooting the three. It remains to be seen when Porter might be cleared to make his debut, but whenever that day comes, the banged-up Nuggets will welcome him with open arms.
Porter (back) doesn't have a timetable for a return to the court, Harrison Wind of BSNDenver.com reports. It was known since Draft Night that the Nuggets weren't going to rush Porter onto the court during his first year as a pro, so him not having a timeline for a return is perfectly on par with his other injury news so far. There's a chance that Porter could be worth a waiver-wire addition later in the season, but for now he's avoidable in most formats given the ambiguity of his injury situation and the Nuggets' early-season success without his help.
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