Denver Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. won’t play in Summer League.
Porter Jr. is still recovering from the back surgery he underwent in college.
Coming out of high school, Porter Jr. was projected to be a top-three pick in the draft, but his stock dropped tremendously after the back surgery and hip spasms that forced him to cancel a pre-draft workout in Chicago.
Porter Jr.’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, delivered more-detailed and recent medical info to teams on Porter Jr.’s back on draft night. The medical report circulated among teams caused major concern and that’s why Porter Jr. fell to the Nuggets.
No one questions Porter Jr.’s talent. He is widely regarded as the best pure scorer in the draft. His athleticism, which was off the charts in high school, might not be there at the beginning of his NBA career because of the back surgery. It usually takes athletes a full year to return to their old performance and recapture that vertical after undergoing a back procedure.
The Nuggets might be cautious with Porter Jr. and there’s a chance he could sit out the majority or all of his rookie season, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports.
Nuggets president Josh Kroenke told ESPN he’s unsure if Porter Jr. will play in 2018-19.
“Michael is an incredible talent and we were surprised to see him available at No. 14,” Kroenke told ESPN. “We know the risks associated with him due to his recent back injury at Missouri, but he’s an incredibly hard worker, is an outstanding young man and we think he will fit in well with our up-and-coming group in Denver.”