Michael Porter Jr. to miss Summer League after another injury setback

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/denver/" data-ylk="slk:Nuggets">Nuggets</a> forward <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/6025/" data-ylk="slk:Michael Porter Jr.">Michael Porter Jr.</a> suffered his latest setback in an injury-riddled start to his career. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. suffered his latest setback in an injury-riddled start to his career. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Michael Porter Jr.’s road to his first NBA game has been long and arduous, but it will have to wait just a bit longer.

The 14th overall pick in the 2018 draft missed his entire first season with a back injury but had been medically cleared to play in May. Unfortunately, according to a report by the Denver Post, he suffered a left knee sprain Wednesday night during a minicamp scrimmage.

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Although the injury isn’t considered major, it will hold Porter out for Summer League games, which run from July 5 to 15.

Michael Porter Jr.’s long injury history

Porter was ranked as the No. 1 or No. 2 prospect by nearly every major outlet coming out of high school, but his college career was immediately disrupted by a major back injury.

Just two minutes into his collegiate debut, he suffered a brutal injury that required surgery on two disks in his back. He was expected to miss the entire season but made it back for the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament and Missouri's first round NCAA tournament game against Florida State.

Porter was thought to be a potential top-three pick in the draft but slid on draft day with more health concerns. He eventually had a second back surgery in July 2018, which kept him out for all of the 2018-19 NBA season.

Nuggets are optimistic about Porter in 2019-20

Despite the latest setback, the Nuggets are still hoping Porter can be a third homegrown star to go with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.

The Denver Post had reported that Porter impressed in recent weeks during 5-on-5 scrimmages, and his back no longer appears to be an issue.

Of course, Porter still has other things to work through. During his recovery from the back surgeries, he developed a drop foot — a symptom of the surgery that makes it hard to lift the front part of the foot — and the team has had him wear a knee brace to stabilize the leg. Further leg injuries won’t help with that.

Porter has benefitted from a year on the bench, however, learning the ups and downs of a long NBA season. The Nuggets won’t be dependent on him to carry a large load from the start, but he could be a difference-maker in a rapidly changing Western Conference.

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