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Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. is nearing a return and listed as questionable to play Friday night against the Phoenix Suns.
Porter has been cleared from the NBA’s health and safety protocols and returned to the team, a league source told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Nuggets coach Michael Malone said that Porter has to clear a cardio exam to return to play from the protocols.
Porter has not played since Dec. 29, when he had 30 points and 10 rebounds against the Sacramento Kings, missing the past 10 games. He is averaging 19.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in four games this season.
“Once you clear and you start returning negative tests, that is a big part of it, but then there’s a cardio aspect of it you have to pass,” Malone said Thursday. “… Once all that comes back into play, hopefully he will be able to play at some point on this trip. If it’s tomorrow, great. If not, hopefully sometime soon after.”
As the Nuggets start a five-game road swing at Phoenix, they are eager to see what they can do at full strength with Porter back.
“We are on the right path, now that we are back to a full team,” power forward JaMychal Green said. “Once [Porter] gets to jell with us and we get that chemistry with him, I think we will be unstoppable.”