Nuggets optimistic Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. will be back for playoffs

Jamal Murray has been out all season after tearing his ACL in April. Michael Porter Jr. has missed most of the season due to a back injury.

Jamal Murray in a file photo, Image credit: Twitter
By Amruth Kalidas | Mar 1, 2022 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Nikola Jokic has largely been left to carry the Denver Nuggets on his own this season, and he’s done an admirable job of it. The MVP candidate has Denver tied for the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference at 36-25, but fortunately, reinforcements appear to be on the way. Jamal Murray has been out all season after tearing his ACL in April. Michael Porter Jr. has missed most of the season due to a back injury. However, sources told The Athletic’s Sam Amick that “there is a strong sense within Denver’s locker room that they’ll both be back in time for the playoffs. If not sooner.”

Read more: LA Lakers news – Waive DeAndre Jordan in order to sign DJ Augustin


Porter’s timeline is a bit clearer. He is set to be cleared for on-court contact within the next week, according to his agent Mark Bartelstein. From there, he would be expected to return at some point in March. Porter has not played since Nov. 6, and he struggled in the nine games he appeared in averaging a mere 9.9 points on 35.9 percent shooting. Should he return in March, he would theoretically have enough time to ramp up and get back in shape for the playoffs in April. 

Murray does not have such a detailed timeline. He tore his ACL last April, and typically, the recovery from such an injury takes roughly one year. No two ACL tears are identical, though, as some players have returned in eight months while others have needed well over a year. However, Amick’s reporting suggests that he is at least on the right track, though it is unclear how effective Murray will be when he returns. 

Read more: Luka Doncic leads big comeback, Mavericks stun Warriors 107-101

The Nuggets looked nearly unstoppable at full strength a season ago. They won their first seven games after acquiring Aaron Gordon and were derailed only by Murray’s injury. The five-man starting lineup of Murray, Gordon, Porter, Jokic and Will Barton outscored opponents by 16.8 points per 100 possessions when healthy last season. It shouldn’t be long now before that unit is reunited.

The Phoenix Suns are playing without Chris Paul. The Golden State Warriors are awaiting the return of Draymond Green. Both Los Angeles teams are riddled with injuries. The West is available for the taking if these injuries persist. Jokic may have spent most of the season carrying the Nuggets on his back, but soon, he could be leading the deepest and most dangerous group in the whole conference.