Coach Michael Malone updated Porter’s status before Monday’s game, telling reporters that the team plans to be careful as he deals with the injury. Malone added that Porter will undergo more testing before any decisions are made.
“This is a process where we’re being very cautious, talking to doctors, getting imaging all that kind of stuff,” Malone said.
The injury happened as Porter missed a breakaway layup early in Saturday’s game with the Rockets. The Nuggets’ medical staff conducted several tests on Sunday, and he was ruled out of Monday’s game.
The 23-year-old is off to a slow start after last year’s breakthrough season, which saw him average 19.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Through nine games, those numbers are down to 9.9 PPG and 6.6 RPG and his shooting percentages have dropped from 54.2% from the field and 44.5% from three-point range to 35.9% and 20.8%.
Back injuries are particularly concerning for Porter, who has already undergone two surgeries to relieve back pain. However, the team is confident that he will be able to return at some point this season and doesn’t believe another operation will be necessary, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. But Porter won’t try to play again until the soreness is gone and the Nuggets are sure that his back is structurally sound.
Denver is already playing without Jamal Murray, who is expected to miss most of the season while recovering from ACL surgery. Vardon expects Aaron Gordon to get a greater share of the team’s offense in Porter’s absence, while free agent addition Jeff Green may see his minutes increase.
“We all have to support Michael like we’re all supporting Jamal. … Michael could be back in a week,” Malone said. “It could be more than that. I don’t know. When I say foreseeable future, I don’t really know what that means. I just know he’s not playing tonight.”