During a postgame press conference with the media on Tuesday night following a loss to the Brooklyn Nets, Michael Malone shared some insight into Michael Porter Jr.’s extended absence due to health and safety protocols.

Porter, who was held out of games from January 1st to January 6th due to “contact tracing” according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, was tagged again by the NBA’s health and safety protocols on the precipice of his return on January 7th, with Shams citing the following:

Five days later, following an emotional loss, Malone revealed that Porter had tested positive for COVID-19. It’s unclear on the timetable of when he tested positive for coronavirus versus when he was hit for contact tracing, but it’s clear that the NBA and teams have blurred those lines together a little. Whether it be for protecting players or another reason, the language and reporting of COVID protocols has become very ambiguous and difficult for teams, players, and media to navigate.

Whatever the case may be, there’s now clarity on the situation. Starting on January 7th, Porter began quarantining due to COVID-19. He was initially given a 10 to 14 day timetable, but I’d expect it to be in the latter portion of that window before he’s allowed to return.

In the meantime, the Nuggets will continue to find ways to navigate his absence. Denver is 4-3 without the 6’10” scoring forward in the lineup and has figured some things out with Will Barton becoming a starter, but Bol Bol just started at small forward on Tuesday night. It’s clear that the Nuggets could use Porter’s return as soon as possible.