The Denver Nuggets got a bit of bad news days before they were set to begin play at the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2019.
Rookie forward Michael Porter Jr. reportedly suffered a left knee sprain in a minicamp scrimmage on Wednesday night and is unlikely to play in Summer League, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Denver selected Porter Jr. with the No. 14 pick in the 2018 draft but he did not play at all last season as he recovered from a back injury that cost him the majority of his freshman season at the University of Missouri.
The Nuggets will open Summer League play Friday against the Phoenix Suns (11:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Per The Denver Post, Porter Jr.’s injury is not expected to be a long-term one and the team is being cautious and not wanting to rush him back onto the court. Porter Jr. has taken part in scrimmages over the last few weeks and has looked solid, with the team often posting regular updates and video highlights of the big man’s participation.
Oh you were waiting for some MPJ highlights from tonight's scrimmage?
We got you. 😏 pic.twitter.com/OufYmmZKGc
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) July 4, 2019
Although Porter Jr. didn’t play at all last season, he was able to gain valuable experience on the sidelines in Denver.
“It was amazing for me to be able to spend this year to learn the game and be around these guys,” Porter Jr. told Nuggets.com on May 13. “I learned a lot. Just being around the NBA lifestyle, getting used to the travel, seeing how hard these guys play and the recovery involved. It’s been really good and I think it will really benefit me in the long run.”
The 6-foot-11 Porter Jr. has the tools and versatility to play either forward spot in the NBA. Denver took a calculated gamble in deciding to draft Porter Jr. after he surprisingly slid to No. 14 in 2018. Considering their strategic method in helping Porter Jr. rehabilitate from a severe injury, the team will likely take a measured approach in integrating him into the rotation once he is healthy again.