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Confusion around Otto Porter Jr.’s injury status: Is the Jazz’s newest player healthy?

Toronto Raptors forward Otto Porter Jr. (32) guards Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield during a game, Nov. 12, 2022, in Indianapolis, Ind.

When the Utah Jazz acquired Otto Porter Jr. in the trade that sent Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji to the Toronto Raptors, it wasn’t clear what, if any, role he would have with the Jazz.

Could he be a buyout candidate? Would the Jazz waive him? Or would he be playing for the Jazz? Those were all legitimate questions.

But, now that Porter is in Utah, it seems that his health status is the biggest question.

Porter has had a number of injuries throughout his career, but in November 2022, just eight games into the season after signing a two-year deal with the Raptors, he had season-ending surgery on his left foot.

This season, it seemed that he would be a part of the Raptors’ regular rotation, albeit brought along slowly — not playing back-to-backs and ramping up his play at the start of the season. But then in December he suffered a right knee sprain.

After being cleared to play once again, the Raptors had seemingly already moved on and Porter racked up DNPs. He has not played in a game since Dec. 30.

Following the trade to the Jazz, I asked general manager Justin Zanik about Porter’s status.

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“He’s not fully healthy right now, which we knew,” Zanik said. “We’ll see how that goes. Love having him around so if he’s healthy and returns, that’s OK. I think he’s a good veteran influence. It just kind of depends, we’re still trying to figure out how healthy he is.”

I then asked Porter about his health and got a very different answer.

“I’m OK, health-wise,” Porter said. “Few things here and there from being with Toronto, but for the most part, pretty decent.”

Porter even said that he felt like he was ready to play in the Jazz’s next game. That was a pretty big departure from what Zanik had said, so I mentioned that to Porter and things got even more confusing.

“Just got to figure some things out as far as my health,” Porter said. “There’s some things that I just can’t go into detail with, but with the new training staff here, they should be able to get me back.”

That was on Saturday.

On Monday, Porter was listed as questionable for the Jazz’s game against the Golden State Warriors with left foot soreness before ultimately being ruled out.

Why, if there are so many health concerns, was Porter even listed as questionable for that game? I really don’t know.

On Tuesday, Porter went through practice with the Jazz, but it was not a contact practice, so it’s still unclear how much he’s able to do.

With two games left before the All-Star break, hopefully we can get a little more clarity, but as things stand, there seems to be some missing pieces to this puzzle.

Toronto Raptors forward Otto Porter Jr. (32) dribbles the ball during a game against the Indiana Pacers, Nov. 12, 2022, in Indianapolis, Ind. | Marc Lebryk, Associated Press
Toronto Raptors forward Otto Porter Jr. (32) dribbles the ball during a game against the Indiana Pacers, Nov. 12, 2022, in Indianapolis, Ind. | Marc Lebryk, Associated Press