Back surgery twice before he even started playing in the NBA, Michael Porter Jr. was stuck in the back, at the worst possible moment, in the second half of the first match of the Conference semifinal against the Suns.
It was his coach who confirmed this physical inconvenience, already visible since Porter Jr. had shown a massive bandage around him on the bench, after closing the first half with 12 points in 17 minutes.
“Physical trainers told me he was shot at the end of the second quarter,” Michael Malone told the Denver Post. “I noticed he didn’t look good on the pitch and it’s always worrying to see a player with a huge bandage around his back.”
With only 3 points scored, 1/5 shooting, in the second half and above all just three minutes played in the last quarter, without the slightest basket to put on the scoresheet, the winger did not weigh after the interval.
“He wasn’t moving as usual,” continues Malone. “It didn’t look good. So I just wanted to protect him because I know the series is going to be long. He will be treated at the end of the game and throughout the day on Tuesday. I expect it to be ready for Race 2 on Wednesday. “
An inefficient Porter Jr. would be a major blow to Denver as the winger finished the streak against the Blazers with an average of 26 points at 62% shooting success (53% at 3 points) in the Nuggets’ last two wins. Recall that back problems had plummeted his rating at the time of the draft.