The Denver Nuggets might be getting some help soon as they continue to jockey for playoff positioning in the Western Conference. Forward Michael Porter Jr. is expected to be cleared for on-court contact within the next week, per Porter's agent, Mark Bartelstein. According to Bartelstein, that means Porter could return some time in March.
However, ahead of Denver's Sunday night game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Nuggets coach Michael Malone did speak about the comments from Porter's agent, neither confirming or denying them.
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"I would say don't listen to those reports," Malone said. "They didn't come from me, they didn't come from Tim Connelly, they didn't come from anyone within the Nuggets. Be careful what you listen to."
That makes Porter's status a bit hazy after hearing those comments from Malone. But the most recent update we do have from the Nuggets came in mid-February when team president Tim Connelly suggested that Porter, as well as Jamal Murray, could be cleared in the "not too distant future."
It's been several weeks since those comments from Connelly, and given Bartelstein's comments suggesting that Porter could be cleared soon, it sounds as though a potential return is at least on the horizon, which is more than promising for the Nuggets.
Porter played only nine games this season before undergoing back surgery, and he was originally expected to miss the remainder of the season. Getting him back in the starting lineup would be a huge boost right as the Nuggets try to climb up the standings in the West. Denver is tied with the Dallas Mavericks for fifth and is only three games back of the Utah Jazz for the No. 4 spot. Nikola Jokic's MVP-caliber play has been the primary reason the Nuggets have been able to maintain their high level of play without Murray and Porter, and getting one -- or perhaps both -- of them back would only improve this team.
While the timeline for Porter is no less murky than it was before his agent's comments, it's positive news that he's progressing toward a potential return this season.