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The Rookie of the Year award has had some illustrious winners
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NBA - US Sports: Denver hope for double play-off boost

Denver Nuggets are reportedly hopeful that both Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. will be back in time for the start of the NBA play-offs.

Denver are tied for the number five seed in the Western Conference and they are 22/1 to win the NBA Championship outright, while reigning MVP Nikola Jokic is 3/1 to win the regular season award for the second year in a row.

Duo are long-term absentees

Murray has been out of action since April after suffering an ACL tear in his left knee.

The guard had been enjoying his best season, averaging a career-high 21.2 points-per-game and 4.8 assists, and his injury came as a huge blow to the Nuggets as they ultimately fell in the second round of the play-offs.

Porter has a back injury and has managed just nine appearances this season.

The forward underwent surgery at the end of last year and in November his agent, Mark Bartelstein, announced he would miss the remainder of the season, but it seems as if he is ahead of schedule in his recovery.

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Bartelstein has now stated Porter will be cleared for on-court contact within the next week and could potentially return to action in March.

That would mean the 23-year-old would be able to play in some regular season games before the post-season gets under way.

The situation with Murray is less clear, but reports indicate the Nuggets are hopeful he will be able to make a return within the next two months and as such could be involved if Denver are able to reach the play-offs.

Nuggets on track for play-offs

If Murray and Porter were both fit they would be regular starters for the Nuggets, but they have managed to keep their season on track despite their absences.

Denver have a three-and-a-half game lead over Minnesota Timberwolves in seventh and appear set to secure a top-six seed and an automatic place in the play-offs.

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