Porter Jr. anxious to get ball rolling with Nuggets

Michael Porter Jr. is excited about finally getting on the court for the Nuggets.

Though he missed his entire rookie season after undergoing a second back surgery last summer, Michael Porter Jr. remains very high in the Denver Nuggets’ plans.

According to Mike Singer of the Denver Post, the 14th overall pick in the draft last June, Porter has made quite an impression on Nuggets coach Michael Malone.

“What I’ve seen from Michael this year in flashes, is a guy with tremendous size and length, that’s got deep range, that can shoot the ball, that can put the ball on the floor and has great athleticism to finish at the rim,” Malone said. “This will be a really big summer for Michael.”

Porter is expected to make his professional debut for the Nuggets during the Las Vegas Summer League in July.

He said he remained engaged with his teammates during their playoff run, which came to a conclusion with a Game 7 home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in a second-round series.

“To be honest, going into the season, I didn’t really expect myself to be able to play at 100 percent if I was to come play,” Porter said, according to Singer. “But like, the way I feel now, it’s leaps and bounds beyond where I thought I’d be at this point. I feel so good. … I feel like I’m a better player than I’ve ever been.”

Porter had a microdiscectomy in November 2017 to repair one of two bulging disks in his back. After the Nuggets tabbed the 6-foot-10 forward June 21, had a second surgery on his spine in July. At the time, the Nuggets did not present a timetable for his return to basketball activities.

He made only three appearances during his one season at Missouri because of injuries, which played a part in the once-projected high lottery pick slipping in the draft.

Porter chose to have the second surgical procedure in July with the hopes of alleviating all problems with his back before his rookie season in the NBA began.

“[Doctors originally] only thought one of [the bulging disks] was symptomatic,” Porter said at the time. “They went in and fixed that one. Turns out that both were symptomatic.

“So my first surgery helped a lot but didn’t fix the entire problem. Now that they did this one, I’ve got no pain or anything. I’m excited.”