Denver Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. said he’s pain-free after a second surgery on his back, and the 14th overall pick in the 2018 draft is hoping to be on the court near the start of the 2018-19 season. Porter told ESPN on Sunday at the NBA’s annual rookie photo shoot that, “I finally feel, like, good,” and he is hoping to be ready for game action around the time the season tips in mid-October.
"I don't have a date but I'm hoping to be back for the beginning of the year. Gotta heal up, but I feel great," said Porter. "I'm able to get on the court a little bit right now, do something different things. But my rehab has definitely been very conservative. They're really taking it easy with me, being patient with me."
Porter elected to have the second surgery last month with hopes of alleviating all issues with his back before the start of his rookie season. "[Doctors originally] only thought one of [the bulging disks] was symptomatic," said Porter. "They went in and fixed that one. Turns out that both were symptomatic. So my first surgery helped a lot but didn't fix the entire problem. Now that they did this one, I've got no pain or anything. I'm excited."
Former Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. has undergone his second back surgery in eight months, according to the Denver Nuggets, the team that drafted him No. 14 overall in June’s NBA Draft. But his father told The Star on Thursday that there was still a chance the 6-foot-10 scorer could be ready by the start of the NBA season.
“Mike’s feeling great,” MU assistant coach Michael Porter Sr. told The Star on Thursday. “The doctors got more insight into what was going on. Just cleaned up a bit of a herniation that was pressing on a nerve. ... The initial prognosis, it sounded like he could be ready at the start of the season. It’s a good deal all the way around.”
Lumbar spine surgery involves the lower back and is usually done to relieve nerve root pinching. Porter’s previous surgery involved the L3 and L4 vertebrates, and was to relive pressure on the spinal nerve column.
Shams Charania: Denver Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. underwent surgery of the lumbar spine. No timetable for his return to basketball participation.
Harrison Wind: Michael Porter Jr. has undergone surgery of the lumbar spine at The Carrell Clinic in Dallas, TX. The Procedure was performed by Dr. Andrew Dossett. There is no timetable for his return to basketball participation, Nuggets say.
Harrison Wind: Can confirm @AschNBA's report that Michael Porter Jr. had another procedure on his back but those close to the situation are encouraged/excited by his prognosis. I'm told this was a scenario that was on the table when the Nuggets selected him 14th overall.
Nick Kosmider: Tim Connelly, being interviewed on ESPNU, on the Michael Porter Jr. timetable: "The only thing we're certain of at this point is that we won't get him out there until he's 100 percent."
Since then, the organization has been in lockstep with one another on that message. "We understood the risk-reward situation with Michael Porter, and we felt at 14 he was far too great of a talent to pass up," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said during an in-game interview on NBATV during Denver's Summer League win over the Celtics Saturday night. "And we're going to to be patient. We’re not going to rush him back and that’s the luxury we have. "We have a very good team coming back, we have a very deep team so there’s no reason for us to say ‘Michael's got to play this year.’ We're going to give him all the time and treatment he needs to get better and hopefully he can get back and help us this year.”
Gina Mizell: MPJ, still shooting in socks at #Nuggets summer league practice. Once again, he won’t play in Vegas but has been here throughout the week.
Harrison Wind: As expected, draft picks Michael Porter Jr and Jarred Vanderbilt will not play at Summer League for the Nuggets. Here’s the team’s full roster including 2017 draft-and-stash Vlatko Cancar, who’s playing for Slovenia in 2019 World Cup qualifiers right now.
Will he play next season? If so, when? Will he ever truly be healthy? Nuggets president Josh Kroenke told The Undefeated he was uncertain about whether Porter Jr. would play in summer league or during the 2018-19 season. Before his post-draft news conference, Porter Jr. walked around with a slight limp as he took a congratulatory phone call from Kroenke and head coach Michael Malone. Kroenke, an ex-Missouri guard, was ecstatic to land Porter Jr. “Michael is an incredible talent and we were surprised to see him available at No. 14,” Kroenke told The Undefeated via text message. “We know the risks associated with him due to his recent back injury at Missouri, but he’s an incredibly hard worker, is an outstanding young man and we think he will fit in well with our up-and-coming group in Denver.”
Harrison Wind: Michael Porter Jr says teams at the top of the draft were telling him he was “their guy” until his hip flared up last week. Then, he started hearing he was going to drop. “Once one team gets scared, they all get scared,” he said.
Duvalier Johnson: Tim Connelly said "if we can get Michael Porter Jr. healthy we're going to be getting a special, special player." #Nuggets
Duvalier Johnson: Micheal Porter Jr. said he truly feels as if he will play to start the season. But said the decision is on the team. Will meet with the team tomorrow.
Harrison Wind: Nuggets Assistant GM Calvin Booth on Michael Porter Jr’s health: “I think Michael is feeling good. Obviously, his back has to be monitored but once we get him here and have our training staff, we’ll assess and come up with a plan of action and follow through with that plan."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Michael Porter's agent, Mark Bartelstein, is delivering more detailed and recent medical info to lottery teams on Porter's back, believes he's given execs more reason to feel comfortable in long-term prognosis. Tecent medical report circulated among teams caused major concern.
Jeff Goodman: Some teams have been told by their medical personnel to stay away from Michael Porter Jr., but there are numerous teams in the lottery who have been informed by their doctors that there isn’t nearly as much of a risk in selecting him. Varying degree of concern from doctors.
Kyle Neubeck: Since this now appears to be relevant: The Sixers were one of the teams in Chicago for Michael Porter Jr.'s pro day and received access to his medical information, I'm told.
Rick Bonnell: It will be fascinating if Michael Porter is there when the @Charlotte Hornets pick at No. 11. I asked Kupchak Tuesday if he had all the medical info to make a call if Porter is there. Kupchak said he does. What would that decision be?
Porter and Young appeared to be sure-fire Top 5 selections just days ago. But now there are grave concerns about Porter’s problematic back and Young’s willowy frame, concerns that could possibly drop them out of the top 10.
Adam Himmelsbach: Michael Porter Jr. on injury concerns surrounding him: "I think a few teams are probably still concerned, and I understand that. But they all have my medical records, my MRIs, and I feel like for the most part, most of them feel comfortable."
Porter was able to work out for teams on Friday after a hip injury scare, but the workout did not completely allay fears about Porter’s injury history. He had back surgery in November, and there is ample concern, according to front office sources, that Porter will be an injury question mark throughout his NBA career, at least in his early years.
Sam Amick: The Kings aren’t the only top five team wrestling with the Michael Porter Jr. question: I’m told the Grizzlies are still seriously considering him at No. 4 - health concerns and all - after today’s medical display for lottery teams. Like Sacto, trading down is a possibility too.
Sean Cunningham: The evaluation in Chicago with Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. was characterized as having gone well for the draft prospect. A specialist led teams, including the Kings through an evaluation of Porter's medical report. Haven't ruled out visiting teams prior to Draft, sources say.
Multiple NBA teams are, as one source put it, "comfortable with the risks'' involving drafting Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. despite his injury history, which this week caused the on-again postponement of a workout today in Chicago. And yes, the Dallas Mavericks, I'm told, are among those "comfortable-with-the-risks'' teams.
James Ham: Confirming news from this morning - the Sacramento Kings are one of the teams in Chicago meeting with Michael Porter Jr. again today.
Eddie Sefko: Mavericks are sending a crew to Chicago for Michael Porter Jr.'s second workout. Medical staffs from teams in the lottery are converging for the look-see this afternoon. With Porter's back, trusting the docs and athletic trainers is critical. He's a wild card.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Access for NBA lottery teams and doctors to evaluate Michael Porter's surgically repaired back is "trending" toward happening in Chicago on Friday, his agent Mark Bartelstein told teams in an email a short time ago. Teams are preparing to travel, and will get final word tonight.
Shams Charania: Teams have been informed that Michael Porter Jr. is feeling better and MRI returned clean, with "positive review," league sources told Yahoo. Workout assessment could be rescheduled on Friday, sources said, but decision likely comes later today. twitter.com/ShamsCharania/…
Porter is expected to be re-evaluated by his doctor again Thursday night, league sources said. Porter’s training has been ramped up over the past three weeks, causing the spasms in his hip. He appeared returned to his normal status on Thursday.
A quick note on Michael Porter Jr. In the KMOX interview, Porter Sr. said his oldest son has not yet released his medical information to NBA teams but underwent a physical by the Chicago Bulls medical team last Thursday. He’ll host a pro day this Friday in Chicago that’s open to any team that’s interested in watching him work out. The following week the teams drafting in the top 10 will have another day to see him up close and inspect his surgically repaired back. The Porters will share the Bulls’ medical report with every other NBA team, Porter Sr. said. The Bulls have the seventh overall pick.
Mike McGraw: Porter Jr.: "They had me the No. 1 player in high school, but I didn't even feel like I was 100 percent, and I do now. So I'm just excited to show everybody the player I am and that I'm still the best player."
Mike McGraw: Porter Jr. on back: “I feel better than ever, actually. That injury happened a couple years ago and it had just gotten worse. So I feel pain free and I feel better than I've felt in a long time." #NBACombine
The camp who felt Porter helped himself brought up an interesting perspective. One veteran executive pointed out that the grit to play hurt means more than his milquetoast performances. Being willing to play when you aren’t 100 percent is a big part of NBA life, the executive reasoned. Another scout added that simply playing in the games will be important for a general manager in convincing an owner to take a player that they’ve likely tanked their season to draft. “Obviously the medical records will be key, but the fact that he simply showed he can play, and it’s unlikely that he has a debilitating back injury is very important,” the scout said.
Jeff Goodman: Source confirmed that Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr., has been cleared for full contact. Source also told ESPN: "Not sure if he will play this season."
Jon Rothstein: Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. has been fully cleared for all basketball activities, per a source.
Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr., a projected NBA draft lottery pick who has played just two minutes this season because of November back surgery, remains hopeful of playing again in 2017-18 for the Tigers. "There's a good chance," Porter told reporters Friday afternoon. "I think doctors are going to be amazed at my progress. "I'm feeling better every day. I'm hoping the doctor feels the same way."
Six-foot-10 Michael Porter Jr was considered by many NBA executives as a candidate to be the No. 1 pick in June's draft thanks to his combination of size, length and skill. However, many NBA executives told ESPN they are concerned about a lingering back injury, which necessitated surgery in November. "It depends on the medical reports," one general manager told ESPN. Porter said he doesn't have any concerns about coming back and risking further injury, but multiple NBA executives have told ESPN it's not something they would advise because he is still likely a top-10 draft pick even if he doesn't play another college game.
Adam Zagoria: I'm told by a source close to the situation that reports that Michael Porter Jr. could return in 4 weeks for Mizzou are inaccurate. No timetable on a return, but he is going through the rehab process. pic.twitter.com/R8vh43hZWr
I asked a dozen personnel people how concerned they were with Porter, Jr.’s surgery and if it will impact where he’s picked. The responses were mixed. “If it’s a standard microdiscectomy, it shouldn’t be much of an issue (lots of those procedures on NBA players),” one general manager said Sunday via text. “If it’s more than that, the result could be of greater impact. If he can do a few draft workouts, he should be just fine. It may play out like the (Joel) Embiid draft where Joel was affected by a couple picks (because of the foot), but not much beyond that.”
But another executive had a different view. “No doubt it hurts him,” the exec said. “Obviously the medical evaluation will be more important and often times as we know, the agents with players at this level withhold information from most of the teams so it will be an interesting decision as to how they handle. Backs are like knees and serious foot/ankle injuries. Tough ones.”
Gary Washburn: Kyrie Irving offers his take on the Michael Porter situation and some advice: "It's tough for any young kid to go through that, especially if they haven't been through any real injury in his life.... I'm pretty sure NBA scouts have enough on him--or have seen enough of him--to know whether he's gonna be in the top 3 or 2 [of the draft].... He's a 3/4-man who's able to handle, crazy athletic and can shoot from the outside. He's a talent."
May 19, 2022 | 12:59 am EDT Update
Jones told Burns & Gambo on Wednesday that he believes Deandre Ayton will be back with the Suns next season. “Deandre had an amazing season and he’s progressed every year and improved every year,” the GM said. “He’s been here and so he’s a big part of what we do. His future with us is something we will address at the proper time which is in the future. He’s a free agent and I’ve said all along, he’s about the same things we’re about which is winning. We’ll address it at the proper time.”
On possible supermax deal for Devin Booker and rookie extension for Cam Johnson. If Booker makes All-NBA this year, he’ll be eligible for a four-year deal worth $211 million while Johnson is up for a rookie extension heading into his fourth NBA season: James Jones: “That’s a part of the business. As your team improves, typically your payroll increases. We’re focused on improving the team and those guys, they deserve the credit. They deserve the accolades and the financial rewards that come with being good players and productive players. It doesn’t preclude us from doing anything. We’re not talking about a luxury tax issues or avoiding those things. That’s not something that’s going to prevent us from continuing to build this team and keep this team together.”
“Had a great year, just one of those nights,” said O’Neal as Ayton finished in Sunday’s Game 7 against Dallas with a career playoff-low five points on 2-of-5 shooting. “Phoenix had a great year, just one of those nights. This is a classy organization. This is a classy team. Can’t say bad things about them. They played hard. Again, even great players have one of those nights.” O’Neal, and fellow TNT NBA analysts Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley discussed Ayton’s future with the Suns after the top overall seed was eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks in Sunday’s Game 7 in Phoenix. “You’ve got to re-sign Ayton,” Barkley said.
“(McGee) played well, he was a great addition to the team, but it all hinges on Deandre Ayton,” Barkley said. “It’s him and Booker. They are the guys going forward. Chris is going to be 38 (years old). He’s going to get the ball to the right person, but it’s time for Booker and Ayton. You can’t have a bad game like they did. Chris, he had a tough night, but Ayton and Booker, they’ve got to play well.”
Once Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson slowed down, caught their breath and stopped rushing shots, the Splash Brothers got on a roll that proved too much for Dallas to stop. Especially because Andrew Wiggins worked end to end to make sure Luka Doncic couldn’t get going. Curry had 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, Golden State held Doncic in check and the Warriors beat the Mavericks 112-87 on Wednesday night for a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. “Just make him work, that was the main thing,” Wiggins said.
Doncic scored 20 points but shot just 6 for 18 and 3 of 10 from deep. He made back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first half to get his team within 54-45 at the break, but Curry and Thompson heated up and helped the Warriors pull away in the second half. “A great job. That’s it,” Doncic said. “They did a great job.” Jalen Brunson scored 14 points but missed all five of his 3s for the surprising Mavs, who stunned the top-seeded Suns in a 123-90 thumping in Game 7 on Sunday in Phoenix.
“They did a really good job. Wiggins picking him up full court,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “They went box-and-one, they went zone. We understood coming into the series that we were going to see that. We’ll go back and look at the video and see what we can do better.” Stopping Doncic, who was averaging 31.5 points in the playoffs, is the tall task this time after the Warriors already handled two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic of Denver in the first round, then Ja Morant early last series before his knee injury. “I thought Wiggs was fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Doncic is as difficult a cover as there is in this league. … It’s important to make him work. He’s so good. Any great player in the league you’re trying to limit the damage that they do.”