Michael Porter Jr. might have been the best prospect heading into this summer’s NBA draft. But a back injury limited him to just three games in his lone year at Missouri. Then he would almost fall out of the lottery entirely, dropping to the Denver Nuggets at No. 14. If he lives up to that potential, the Nuggets probably have the steal of the draft. But he needs to stay healthy.
Well according to Porter, via ESPN’s Chris Forsberg, he’s getting there.
“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,” Porter said following his second back surgery. “I’m able to get on the court a little bit right now, do some different things. But my rehab has definitely been very conservative. They’re really taking it easy with me, being patient with me.”
So, why did he need a second surgery?
“[Doctors originally] only thought one of [the bulging disks] was symptomatic,” Porter added. “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.”
That’s fantastic news for the Nuggets, sure. But it’s incredible news for Porter. Getting him back on the court relatively early could be the difference between making the playoffs and barely missing. Again. Last season, their postseason hopes came down to the final game of the year — a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. LeBron James, as we know, now plays out west with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Nuggets were already a fringe playoff team; now they’ve got to worry about LeBron.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets — at 46-36 — are coming off their best season since 2012-13 when they won 57 games. They haven’t reached the postseason since that campaign.
A healthy Porter certainly helps them get there this season.