Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. is dealing with a nerve issue in his back that could jeopardize his season, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Porter has had two back surgeries already in his career, one while at the University of Missouri and another during his rookie season with the Nuggets. And now, according to Singer, another surgery is a possibility.
The Nuggets have set a one-week timeline for Porter to show improvement before considering alternative treatment options, according to Singer. Nuggets coach Mike Malone recently revealed that Porter is not with the team, but rather, is in Florida getting treatment.
The Nuggets are likely to be as cautious as possible with the 23-year-old Porter. They signed him to a five-year contract extension this offseason that guarantees him $145 million. That extension doesn't even kick in until next season, so his health is paramount for Denver's future as a championship contender. Thus far this season, he did not appear to be healthy even in the minutes that he did play.
Porter appeared in nine games for the Nuggets and averaged 9.9 points per game. He averaged 19 points per game last season in helping the Nuggets reach the second round of the postseason. With Jamal Murray out, the Nuggets needed a big season from Porter to help Nikola Jokic keep their offense afloat.
The 9-8 Nuggets currently occupy the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, but holding it is going to be challenging if they have to play without Porter and Murray, who is recovering from a torn ACL, for an extended period of time. Even Jokic, the league MVP, is nursing a wrist injury. Denver remains one of the more talented teams in basketball, but that won't do the team much good if its best players are not healthy.