/Nuggets Michael Porter Jr. Thought About Quitting Basketball After Back Injury

Nuggets Michael Porter Jr. Thought About Quitting Basketball After Back Injury

FILE - In this March 8, 2018, file photo, Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. pulls down a rebound during the second half in an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia at the Southeastern Conference tournament, in St. Louis. Michael Porter Jr. played in three games in college because of back problems, but his talent has long been considered more than NBA-ready. He is the epitome of high-risk, high-reward in this draft. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. admitted Friday that he thought about quitting basketball while suffering through a back injury that cost him the entire 2018-19 season.

In an interview with Marc J. Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated, Porter discussed the mindset he had at times while on the shelf: “There were times I was ready to give it up. There were just some really, really tough, dark days. I’m not gonna lie.”

Porter was the No. 1 recruit in the nation coming out of high school, and he arrived at the University of Missouri to great fanfare. A back injury limited him to just three games in his one and only season at the school, however.

The injury then caused Porter to slip all the way to Denver with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft. A player who once seemed like a strong bet to go No. 1 overall nearly slipped outside the lottery.

Picking Porter was a risk for Denver since he needed to undergo back surgery, but the potential reward was too much to pass up.

Porter missed his entire rookie season, but the Nuggets still finished with the second-best record in the Western Conference and reached the second round of the playoffs.

Since Denver has such a deep and talented team—especially in the frontcourt with Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap—there isn’t as much pressure on Porter to rush back as there might have been on other teams.

That is a good thing for Porter since he recently suffered a left knee sprain that is likely to keep him out of the Las Vegas Summer League.

The Nuggets are taking a cautious approach with Porter, and it could pay off in the long run since the 6’10” forward has the ability to be a dominant all-around force.

Getting to that level will take time and will depend largely on his health, but if Porter can give the Nuggets any kind of positive contribution next season, it will be a major coup for a team that figures to vie for a Western Conference title.