DENVER (AP) — The struggling Denver Nuggets are expected to be without Michael Porter Jr. for a 10th straight game Tuesday night against Oklahoma City because of coronavirus protocols.
Coach Michael Malone said after practice Monday that Porter could join the team on their five-game trip that begins Friday in Phoenix.
The Nuggets (6-7) can certainly use a lift from Porter. He’s averaging 19.5 points and 6.8 rebounds over four games.
“Of course, we miss Michael,” Malone said. “He’s a big part of what we’re trying to do here. When we do get him back, he will be a welcomed sight.”
Porter’s last game was at Sacramento on Dec. 29, when he had 30 points and 10 rebounds.
The 22-year-old Porter was taken by Denver with the 14th pick in 2018. He sat the 2018-19 season because of a back injury.
He played a big role in Denver advancing to the Western Conference finals last season inside the NBA bubble.
This season, the Nuggets have gotten off to a slow start despite big man Nikola Jokic averaging a triple-double and point guard Jamal Murray turning in big performances even with a sore elbow.
Malone said there will be an adjustment when Porter returns, but his presence will help solidify the rotation.
“You always want to be whole as a team,” Malone said. “Not only are you whole, but you have a really talented player who’s a big part of your current team and also your future as an organization. ”