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Report: Michael Porter Jr. could miss rest of season with back nerve issue

Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr.

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 11: Michael Porter Jr. #1 of the Denver Nuggets smiles during the game against the Charlotte Hornets on May 11, 2021 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Michael Porter Jr. slid down the 2018 NBA Draft to the Nuggets at No. 14 because of concerns about his back — he had a microdiscectomy that forced him to miss all but three games of his one season at Missouri. The Nuggets then sat him his entire first season with the team after another back surgery.

Which is why the news that he has a nerve issue in his back that could cost him the season is scary. Michael Singer of the Denver Post broke the news:

Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. is dealing with a nerve issue in his back that could jeopardize his season, league sources told The Denver Post.

The Nuggets have been vague about specifics of the injury and when Porter might be expected back. They have given him a timeline of a week to show improvements before considering other treatment options. Another back surgery is a possibility, sources said.

Porter has struggled this season — 9.9 points a game on 35.9% shooting overall and 20.8% from 3 — and Austin Rivers said Porter has been playing through back issues the entire time. The Nuggets signed Porter to a max contract extension this offseason, five years at $172 million, with $145 million of it guaranteed.

The Nuggets, 9-8, are already without Jamal Murray, who is recovering from ACL surgery. Not having Porter Jr. would hurt Denver’s chances of a deep playoff run.