Denver Nuggets first-round pick Michael Porter Jr. said Sunday he is pain-free after a second surgery on his lumbar spine in July.
Porter, the 14th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, said he hopes to be ready around the start of the season.
“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 told ESPN at the league’s rookie photo shoot. “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.
“I finally feel, like, good.”
Dr. Andrew Dossett, who also performed Porter’s first back surgery last year, operated on Porter at The Carrell Clinic in Dallas.
Porter missed all but three games of his freshman season at Missouri after injuring his back last November, which required him to have surgery on his L3 and L4 spinal discs.
Nuggets head coach Mike Malone indicated to NBATV last month that the team wouldn’t rush Porter back to the court.
“We understood the risk-reward situation with Michael Porter, and we felt at 14 he was far too great of a talent to pass up,” Malone said. “And we’re going to be patient. We’re not going to rush him back, and that’s the luxury we have.
“We have a very good team coming back. We have a very deep team, so there’s no reason for us to say, ‘Michael’s got to play this year.’ We’re going to give him all the time and treatment he needs to get better, and hopefully he can get back and help us this year.”
Porter, who turned 20 on June 29, was kept off the Nuggets’ summer league roster but was in Las Vegas to watch games.
A week before the NBA draft in June, Porter canceled a second pro day workout due to a sore hip, prompting reports that teams were very worried about his long-term health. Porter said those concerns were overblown and offered to work out for teams during draft week upon request, but he still slid to the end of the lottery before the Nuggets drafted him.
Porter signed his rookie deal with the Nuggets on July 3.
–Field Level Media