Denver Nuggets: When will we see Michael Porter Jr.?

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) warms up before the game against the Golden State Warriors at Ball Arena on 10 Mar. 2022. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) warms up before the game against the Golden State Warriors at Ball Arena on 10 Mar. 2022. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) /

A few weeks ago, we heard that Michael Porter Jr. was going to return before the end of the 2021-22 NBA season. A month has passed and not much had changed for the Denver Nuggets, so where are we?

Three weeks ago, Michael Porter Jr.’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, told Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN, that the wing will return to on-court exercises within a week. From there, MPJ was assigned to the Nuggets’ G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Gold.

After the initial reporting, the Nuggets scraped the plans to send him to the G League for practices and he remained with the team according to Mike Singer, The Denver Post:

"“Both Porter and [Jamal] Murray were set to fly to Grand Rapids and practice with the Gold on Friday, but logistical concerns, in addition to the fact that they’d only be there for one practice, altered the plan, sources said. Neither player has had any kind of setback, and there was also a sense that some of the work they would’ve done in Grand Rapids could get done in Denver.”"

It was a little all over the shop with duelling reports coming from different publications and Denver Nuggets fans stuck in the middle trying to figure out when MPJ is coming back.

The Porter news was paired with Jamal Murray updates as the guard is nearing the 12-month timeline since first tearing his ACL.

We hadn’t heard anything about their possible return until yesterday, Joe Vardon, The Athletic reported that neither player is close to returning:

"“But on Friday night, when asked about Murray practising, Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, ‘I’ve cautioned like probably three different times this year for everybody to calm down,’ and ‘as of right now, there is no immediate return on the horizon for either one of those players.'”"

Malone throwing water on the issues doesn’t exactly scream confidence in a return but Vardon added in his article that Michael Porter Jr. is aiming to return before the playoffs.

It adds that Porter may be more conditioned to accept a bench role when he returns to the court. That’s great news for Denver Nuggets fans as we honestly don’t know what to expect from the 23-year-old who had back surgery on 1 Dec. 2021.

The Denver Nuggets, who are sitting in the seventh seed in the Western Conference, have ten games remaining on the season so there isn’t much time for the wing to return, play himself back into conditioning, and find a rhythm.

Denver Nuggets: So when can we expect Michael Porter Jr. to return?

The answer is extremely vague but if we’re going off what has been reported: very soon.

With not many games remaining across the league, two-week injuries are turning into “season-long” injuries. Additionally, since conference seedings are looking more solid, some teams aren’t pushing as hard for outcomes.

Unfortunately for the Denver Nuggets, they’re tied with the Minnesota Timberwolves (losing the tiebreaker) and need to win games now to avoid the play in tournament. Denver would almost definitely be the best team in the play in, but the single-game eliminations would add a little too much stress to the team.

The original reporting was that MPJ will come back this season and all we can do is go off that.

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