Nuggets Forward Set To Return After A Month-Long Absence

The Denver Nuggets are getting their oft-injured forward back in time for Christmas. Michael Porter Jr. is set to make his return to the lineup Friday night, for the first time since his latest trip to the injured list back on Nov. 22nd. 

Porter has played just 16 games this season due to a heel injury, after suiting up for only nine games last year after undergoing yet another back surgery. 

As noted by Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla, however, "as fine and fragile as crystal, MPJ should be treated as a beautiful extravagance rather than a cornerstone piece of the Nuggets’ championship pursuit." Ouch.

That's a harsh comment, but the numbers don't lie. The 6'10" forward has played just 141 games out of a possible 348 (40%) since being selected by the Nuggets with the No. 14 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.  

He signed a five-year contract extension, worth $179M guaranteed, in September 2021. He's played in 25 of a possible 117 games since then.

In the 16 games that he has played this season, he was at or above his career marks, averaging 16.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, and shooting a sizzling 42.7% from 3-point range before the heel forced him to the sidelines.

“Our defense with Michael Porter on the floor this year has been great,” head coach Michael Malone said. “It obviously will be nice to have a 6-foot-10, long, lanky player that can shoot the lights out and help us out on the glass at the same time.”

Photo:  Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports