After the Nuggets' 122-116 loss to the Brooklyn Nets in New York, Malone was asked why his team hasn't been able to put together a complete performance this season. While answering, he explained why Porter hasn't been with the team.
"Well it would be nice if we were fully healthy," Malone said. "We were without two starters tonight -- no Gary Harris, no Michael Porter. I don't think we have been whole the whole year. JaMychal Green was out early, Michael Porter has been out with COVID, and Gary was not here due to personal reasons. I think that's one thing that will help us."
Porter, 22, has missed the past seven games while in the league's health and safety protocol. He last played on Dec. 29 at Sacramento, where he had 30 points and 10 rebounds in a Nuggets loss.
The starting forward went into a seven-day quarantine as a result of contact tracing on Dec. 31. He was expected to return against Dallas on Jan. 7 before he was ruled out due to the health and safety protocols.