Denver Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr, who is recovering from two back surgeries, says he is finally pain-free. According to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg who spoke with Porter Sunday during the NBA’s rookie photo shoot, Porter is looking to be available for the start of the season in October.
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“I don’t have a date but I’m hoping to be back for the beginning of the year. Gotta heal up, but I feel great,” Porter said. “I’m able to get on the court a little bit right now, do some different things. But my rehab has definitely been very conservative. They’re really taking it easy with me, being patient with me.”
The Nuggets drafted Porter 14th overall as the Missouri product fell in the draft from where he was projected as a top 10 pick as his injury history negatively affected his draft stock.
Porter’s first surgery came in November when doctors performed a microdiscectomy of his L3-L4 spinal disks. The 20-year-old then underwent a second surgery in July, which was believed to possibly keep Porter from starting the year on the court for the Nuggets, but would help to ease some of the pain he continued to feel in his back.
“[Doctors originally] only thought one of [the bulging disks] was symptomatic,” said Porter. “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.”
Porter, before the surgeries, was expected to be a significant difference maker for his Mizzou Hoops team during the college season, making him an intriguing prospect going into his first NBA season. The Nuggets are on record in the offseason of saying they planned to take the rehab process slowly with their first-round pick. If he can play, the Nuggets will undoubtedly have plenty of reason to optimistic about their young core.