Michael Porter Jr. has missed Denver’s past seven games under mysterious circumstances. However, coach Mike Malone finally enlightened us Tuesday, revealing Porter was diagnosed with COVID last month. The 22-year-old’s absence has been felt as the slumping Nuggets have dropped four of their last five including an overtime loss to Sacramento on Tuesday night. The 6’10” forward was averaging 19.5 points per game prior to his illness.
Porter, who has only appeared in 59 games since Denver drafted him 14th overall in 2018 (he missed his entire rookie year due to back surgery), downplayed the threat of COVID in remarks this summer, suggesting the virus was being used as a fear tactic to “control the masses.”
“Personally, I think the coronavirus is being used obviously for a bigger agenda,” said Porter, hinting at a larger government conspiracy. “It’s being used for population control in terms of being able to control the masses of people. The whole world is being controlled.”
Porter went on to say he has never been vaccinated. While Porter didn’t completely dismiss the effects of COVID, calling it a “serious thing,” the former Mizzou Tiger still felt it was being “overblown” by the media. The virus has only intensified since Porter made his comments back in July with America’s COVID death toll nearing 400,000. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have provided some optimism in recent weeks, though it could be months, if not years, before the entire country is vaccinated.
The NBA has struggled to contain the virus with several teams including the Boston Celtics, experiencing widespread outbreaks. Anyone still doubting the severity of COVID can look to Timberwolves All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns, who had his life turned upside down when his mother died from the virus last year.
Porter, who remains sidelined while adhering to the league’s mandatory quarantine period of 10-14 days, last suited up for the Nuggets on December 29th.