According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Denver Nuggets have been granted a $2.8 million Disabled Player Exception for Michael Porter Jr. for the 2021-22 season.

Porter had back surgery to repair an issue with his spine that was causing immense amounts of pain early in the season. Denver applied for a DPE and were granted it based on the evaluation of doctor outside of the team that basically said it’s more likely that Porter is out through June 15th this year than it is that he plays. That can be sobering, but it also doesn’t mean much of anything to the Nuggets, according to Matt Moore of the Action Network.

So, the Nuggets applied for a DPE and were granted it by the NBA, but it doesn’t mean they have to use it. Using it would make it impossible for Porter to return this season. What the Nuggets have now done is give themselves options on how to proceed. The trade deadline is February 10th, 10 days from now, and the Nuggets are still searching out potential upgrades for the roster. If they can find the right deal, they might be okay with using the DPE.

More than likely though is the possibility that Denver never uses the DPE at all. Porter has made plenty of strides toward returning this season, and the Nuggets have made it clear that they would prefer that option above all others. They want to see this group healthy and together more than anybody, and if there’s a chance Porter returns, they will likely hold out for that.

So, there should be no overreaction that Denver has a DPE at their disposal now. It provides them options but doesn’t push them into a corner at this stage in the season.