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Nuggets Granted Disabled Player Exception For Michael Porter Jr.

The Nuggets are granted a reprieve.

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Denver Nuggets small forward Michael Porter Jr. will likely miss the rest of the 2021-2022 season. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Nuggets have been granted a $2.7 million disabled player exception (DPE) for the loss of Porter Jr.

The DPE is granted to teams when a player is deemed to be out for the remainder of the season and the deadline to use the money is March 10.

Porter Jr. has only played in nine games this season after injuring his back Nov. 6 against the Houston Rockets. He underwent lumbar spine surgery Dec. 1 to address the lower back injury. Despite reports earlier this month the team remained hopeful Porter Jr. could return before season’s end, the announcement of the DPE likely closes that door shut.

The franchise signed Porter Jr. to a five-year, $173 million contract in the offseason after he averaged 19.0 points on 44.5% shooting from three-point range last season. However, the contract was considered by some as risky at the time given Porter Jr.’s history with back injuries. He missed his entire rookie season with Denver due to back surgery and played in only three games in his only college season at Missouri because of back issues.

The injury news is another blow to a Nuggets’ season already rocked by injury. Star point guard Jamal Murray has been out with a torn ACL since last season and isn’t expected to return to action until the spring time.

How might this affect the Portland Trail Blazers?

The Nuggets could use this money to sign someone on the buyout market like Tony Snell, who could be a Blazers’ buyout candidate. The team could also use the money to help them acquire a bigger piece in a trade, like Robert Covington.