Storyline: Michael Porter Injury

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Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. told CBS4 he still hopes to play in the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas despite a knee injury he suffered Wednesday in practice. “It really wasn’t that big of a deal,” said Porter Jr. when asked about the injury. “Just landed a little bit funny. Nothing crazy, but I got up with a little bit of a limp. They just decided to give me a few days to rest. But I told them I’m still going to try and get out there at some point during summer league.”

“You feel bad, because the kid has been putting in a lot of work, and he was excited to play,” Nuggets assistant coach Jordi Fernandez said. “But obviously the most important thing for him is to be ready for the NBA season. Again, it’s nothing major.” Before Porter’s latest setback, Fernandez was impressed by his play. “I’ve been fortunate to be around really good players, and what I see from him is special,” Fernandez said. You see things and you don’t want to say, ‘Whoa’ too loud, but, yeah, you see it. He’s pretty special.”

Still, the Nuggets do not plan to rush Porter back into action. “While we are all very excited about the potential impact that he can have, we also don’t want to put too much pressure on him,” said Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly. “He’s really hard on himself because he holds himself to such a high standard. Convincing him that this is going to be a process has been challenging. Which speaks to his competitiveness and love for the game. He wants it so bad.”

No Michael Porter this season?

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.”

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.”

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.

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.
2 years ago via ESPN

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.

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.”

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