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Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. says he will play Friday; Grizzlies could get Bane back

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Kurt Helin and Corey Robinson preview the NBA's Christmas day schedule, featuring 76ers-Knicks, Lakers-Mavericks, Bucks-Celtics, Grizzlies, Warriors, and Suns-Nuggets.

We could see teams get a couple of key players back in time for their Christmas Day games.

In Denver, Michael Porter Jr. says he will play Friday when the Nuggets take on the Trail Blazers.

Porter Jr has been out 13 games with a bruised heel, but he averaged 16.4 points a game and was an important part of the Denver defense before he was injured. Denver has been winning without him — they are 19-11 and tied for the top seed in the West with Memphis — but if the Nuggets are going to be a real threat in the playoffs they need a healthy Porter Jr.

Expect him to play Sunday for sure when the Nuggets face the Suns as the final game of the NBA’s Christmas Day slate.

Speaking of the Grizzlies, they could get Desmond Bane back. The Grizzlies’ second-best player has missed 17 games with a sprained toe but was upgraded to questionable for Friday’s game against the Suns. Bane averaged 24.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists while shooting 45.1% from 3 in the dozen games he played before his injury. He looked like a player making a leap this season, something the Grizzlies need if they are going to come out of the West and contend.

Memphis plays a reeling Golden State team without Stephen Curry on Christmas.