COLUMNS

It’s time for the Nuggets to pick up the pieces after the MPJ surgery

Dec 3, 2021, 4:31 PM
Michael Porter Jr....
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Michael Porter Jr. has had his back surgery. So, now what?

Well, the first concern should be with the player. We should all hope that the surgery went as planned and doctors are happy with what they saw and did. As we all know, back surgeries can be scary. We all should hope this one was not.

The next thing should be for us Nuggets fans to deal with Nuggets life without this incredibly talented player. He is gone for the remainder of the season, possibly beyond, so adjustments have to be made, new strategies formulated and the remaining healthy players need to come to the table locked and loaded every night.

Michael Malone and his staff are extremely bright people. They have ideas and game plans for the rest of the season. We know they have very thoroughly contemplated life without MPJ. And we hope the team can stay together, gut it out until Jamal Murray comes back and hope can still make some sort of championship run.

The next thought should be about the future for Michael Porter Jr. The phrase “back surgery” causes almost everyone to be uncomfortable. Especially when it is the third one, like it is for Porter.

Porter’s first back surgery was in November 2017, which just about wiped out his freshman season at Missouri. A player some projected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, because of his back concerns, dropped all the way to the Nuggets at No. 14. After the Nuggets let him work through his rehab for the entire 2018-19 season, Porter went under the knife again in July 2018. This second procedure seemed to lift Porter’s spirits as he was “pain free.”

MPJ, finally healthy, started hitting his stride during the shortened 2019-20 season. He was, at times, inconsistent and often frustrating on defense, but there was no absolutely denying his immense talent. His performance was enough to convince president of basketball operations Tim Connelly to commit to him as a pillar of what the Nuggets hope will be an annual championship contender.

Research shows that about 75 percent NBA players who undergo disc-related surgery report additional back problems at some point during their career and about 25 percent need additional procedures. But multiple surgeries don’t always spell trouble. Players like Al Harrington and Danilo Gallinari had very productive careers after multiple back procedures. Let’s hope Michael Porter, Jr. can be added to that list.

Rarely, in our personal lives, do things go exactly according to plan. And it’s the same way in the professional sport world.

When life throws challenges at us, we pick up the pieces and move on. And hope for the best.

The Denver Nuggets, with Michael Porter Jr., will need to do the same thing.

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It’s time for the Nuggets to pick up the pieces after the MPJ surgery