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DENVER (AP) — The struggling Denver Nuggets are expected to be without Michael Porter Jr. for a 10th straight game tonight against Oklahoma City because of coronavirus protocols.

Coach Michael Malone said after practice Monday that Porter could join the team on their five-game trip that begins Friday in Phoenix.

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

"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 Dec. 29 at Sacramento, 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.

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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