Report: NBA deems Michael Porter Jr.’s back injury season-ending

Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr.
Ethan Mito/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images

The Nuggets were reportedly optimistic about Michael Porter Jr. returning this season.

Though it seemed his latest back injury would sideline him the rest of the year, Denver merely called him out “indefinitely” after surgery.

But we now (indirectly) have a clearer – unfavorable – timeline.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

This means an NBA-appointed doctor ruled it’s “substantially more likely than not” Porter will be out through June 15.

If he beats that timeline, Porter can return. But this is a strong signal he’s done for the season.

The good news for Porter: He just signed a five-year max contract extension.

The bad news for Denver: Porter just signed a five-year max contract extension.

Porter’s back issues scared teams as he entered the NBA, the biggest reason the talented scoring forward fell to No. 14 in the 2018 draft. He missed his entire rookie season after back surgery. Now the severity of this back injury adds even more reason for concern. The Nuggets’ massive financial guarantee to Porter could really bite them.

For now, Denver is still trying to win around Nikola Jokic, who’s having another awesome season. Jamal Murray is working toward returning from his ACL injury. The $2,629,368 disabled-player exception gives the Nuggets another tool if they want to further upgrade their roster.

But Denver’s ceiling is capped with Porter apparently highly likely to miss the rest of the season.