DENVER (AP) — The struggling Denver Nuggets are expected to be without Michael Porter Jr. for a 10th straight game Tuesday night against Oklahoma City because of coronavirus protocols. Coach Michael Malone said after practice Monday Porter could join the team on their five-game trip that begins Friday in Phoenix.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 11: Michael Porter Jr. #1 of the Denver Nuggets reacts during the fourth quarter against the LA Clippers in Game Five of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 11, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Nuggets (6-7) can certainly use a lift from Porter. He’s averaging 19.5 points and 6.8 rebounds over four games.

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“Of course, we miss Michael,” Malone said. “He’s a big part of what we’re trying to do here. When we do get him back, he will be a welcomed sight.”

Porter’s last game was at Sacramento on Dec. 29, when he had 30 points and 10 rebounds.

The 22-year-old Porter was taken by Denver with the 14th pick in 2018. He sat the 2018-19 season because of a back injury.

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Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets drives the ball against Danny Green of the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 26, 2020.

Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets drives the ball against Danny Green of the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 26, 2020. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

He played a big role in Denver advancing to the Western Conference finals last season inside the NBA bubble.

This season, the Nuggets have gotten off to a slow start despite big man Nikola Jokic averaging a triple-double and point guard Jamal Murray turning in big performances even with a sore elbow.

Malone said there will be an adjustment when Porter returns, but his presence will help solidify the rotation.

“You always want to be whole as a team,” Malone said. “Not only are you whole, but you have a really talented player who’s a big part of your current team and also your future as an organization.”

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