Nuggets' Michael Porter Jr. Isn't Ruling out Return from Injury for Warriors Series

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 17, 2022

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 1, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. said it's possible he returns to the court before the end of the team's Round 1 series against the Golden State Warriors. 

"Right now, I'm taking it game by game. I'm not ruling anything out," Porter told ESPN's Marc J. Spears. "This is a thing I don't ever want to deal with again, so I'm just taking my time. ... I'm playing it game by game. Every morning I wake up and I know I'm feeling good. Every day I'm getting closer."

Porter played in only nine games during the regular season after undergoing lumbar spine surgery. It's already the third back surgery of Porter's young career.

The Nuggets looked like a team on their last legs in Saturday's 123-107 loss to the Warriors, with Nikola Jokic struggling to prop up a strained supporting cast. Will Barton was the only other Nugget besides Jokic to score more than 10 points while the Warriors skated to an easy victory despite Stephen Curry coming off the bench.

It's unclear how much Porter's return would impact the result of the series. He's almost certainly not 100 percent back in basketball shape and would be on a minutes restriction until doctors are comfortable with his progress. 

A setback already caused Porter to push back his return timeline, which was initially slated for March. 

If the series looks like a lost cause after Game 2, it's very possible Denver shuts down all hopes of Porter or Jamal Murray, who's recovering from a torn ACL, making a comeback.