Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. returns to team; questionable for next game

Michael Porter Jr. Nuggets
Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Porter Jr. has returned to the Denver Nuggets and is questionable to play against the Phoenix Suns on Jan. 22, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

Porter must finish his health and safety protocol, pass a cardio exam and ramp up his conditioning.

At minimum, head coach Michael Malone said he’s optimistic that Porter will play at some point on the team’s upcoming five-game road trip that begins in Phoenix and ends in San Antonio on Jan. 29.

The 22-year-old has been out since Dec. 29, when he last played against the Sacramento Kings.

Porter was originally out for seven days due to contact tracing, but then he faced additional quarantine time after testing positive for COVID-19.

When he ultimately returns, Porter will likely be on a minutes restriction after missing so much time.

Will Barton has been starting in place of Porter, so it remains to be seen if Porter will replace Barton, or if he will be eased back into that role.