Report: Nuggets Get $2.7M Disabled Player Exception After Michael Porter Jr. Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 31, 2022

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 21: Michael Porter Jr. #1 of the Denver Nuggets warms up against the Memphis Grizzlies at Ball Arena on January 21, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Mito/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images)
Ethan Mito/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets have reportedly received a $2.7 million disabled player exception for Michael Porter Jr., according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. 

The young forward underwent back surgery on Dec. 1 and doesn't have a timetable for his return, though disabled player exceptions are generally granted to teams for season-ending injuries. 

On Friday, ESPN's Zach Lowe reported that there remains a "chance" both Porter and Jamal Murray could return this season, and while Monday's development would seem to cast that in some doubt, it doesn't guarantee Porter won't return.

Hardwood Paroxysm @HPbasketball

Per another source: “Zero correlation” to whether MPJ returns this season.

Getting either back, let alone both, would be huge for a shorthanded Nuggets team that has managed to go 28-21 this season and is currently fifth in the Western Conference. 

Much of that comes down to the otherworldly production of defending MVP Nikola Jokic (26 PPG, 13.7 RPG, 7.8 APG, 37.8 percent from three), who has kept the team in the running, while role players like Will Barton, Aaron Gordon and Monte Morris have stepped up. 

Porter, 23, averaged just 9.9 points and 6.6 rebounds in nine games this year, though he had a breakout 2020-21 season, putting up 19 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while shooting 54.2 percent from the field and 44.5 percent from three. 

His scoring ability, especially from the perimeter, has been missed and makes Porter's potential sky-high. His injury history is very concerning, however. 

Porter's December back surgery was the third time he's had such a procedure. He missed his entire rookie season in 2018-19 after having surgery on his back and played in just 55 games in the 2019-20 season and 61 games last year. 

Despite those concerns, the Nuggets still signed him to a five-year max extension in September that could be worth up to $207 million. He's clearly a huge part of the team's future plans, though it's unclear if he will be able to return this year.