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Nuggets’ Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. unlikely to return for NBA playoffs, per report

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The Denver Nuggets may be headed for the postseason, but it seems as if two of their best players won’t be joining them. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. will miss the season finale against the Lakers on Sunday, and Shams Charania reported on Saturday that both are unlikely to return to the team for the postseason. 

Murray his missed the entire season recovering from a torn ACL, which came at the end of last regular season. And while that would typically leave enough time in theory for a return this season, last season’s condensed schedule means that he is still well within the typical one-year return timeframe from a torn ACL.

Porter Jr. did play this season, but struggled mightily in nine appearances. He ultimately needed to have back surgery to repair the issue that was hampering him. He rehabbed from there and initially presented some optimism for a possible return. However, Porter is now deemed unlikely to return to the Nuggets this season.

Murray is 25 years old and Porter is just 23. Both are playing on max contracts for the Nuggets, and Denver therefore has plenty of reason to be cautious. The two of them along with Nikola Jokic and Aaron Gordon have years of contention in front of them. Last season, that foursome dominated after Gordon was acquired at the deadline. Murray’s injury likely cost them a chance at the championship.

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But if both can rest and recover throughout the offseason, then the Nuggets should be in great shape to contend next season and beyond. Their odds of doing so this season, with both playing at less than 100 percent, were fairly low anyway. Now the Nuggets can fully focus on their bright future.

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