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Michael Porter Jr. will return and play against the Phoenix Suns tonight

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Houston Rockets v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. will return to the floor tonight against the Phoenix Suns.

After starting the first four games of the season, Porter has missed the last 10 due to health and safety protocols related to COVID-19. Initially, Porter was expected to miss a week’s worth of games; however, his absence was extended due to an additional health and safety protocol violation. It was later confirmed that Porter had tested positive for coronavirus and was being held out until he could test negative several times in a row.

Porter, a 6’10 second year forward operating as the starting small forward at the beginning of the season, needed some time to grow accustomed to his new role next to Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokić. Averaging 19.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in the first four games of the season, Porter’s scoring and rebounding production was especially impactful on the offensive end of the floor. Denver’s defense struggled mightily with Porter on the floor though, and though he wasn’t the only problem defensively, Denver’s defense stabilized a bit with Porter away from the team.

It will take a major effort from all sides to reincorporate Porter into what the Nuggets do on both sides of the ball, especially against a team like the Phoenix Suns with dangerous weapons and a potent play style offensively. It should surprise no one if Michael Malone decides to ease the 22-year-old Porter back into playing heavy minutes by operating in a bench role at the outset. Make no mistake though, Porter is and should be a starting forward on this Nuggets roster. He adds a dynamic that can change games for the better and give Denver an added boost when desperately needed. The scoring efficiency is of major importance, as is the size and athleticism on the wing.

Let’s hope things go well!