Kiszla: Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. could rejoin Nuggets by April 1, just in time for NBA playoffs.

Before spectators began filling seats in Ball Arena and 45 minutes ahead of TNT going live with its national telecast, two rays of hope could be found in this Nuggets winter of discontent, when a team with championship aspirations has been beset by devastating injuries, shaken by COVID protocols and frustrated by big blown leads.

Fewer than 50 feet apart on this Thursday night, guard Jamal Murray and forward Michael Porter Jr. went through private workouts, firing mid-range jump shots at opposite ends of the court, at one point ripping the nets by swishing 19 of 20 shots in a row.

Reason to believe ain’t dead yet, folks.

Although Denver approaches the halfway point of a messed-up, crazy NBA season struggling to stay above .500 despite center Nikola Jokic’s best MVP efforts, brighter days could be ahead for this team, just in time for the playoffs.

With Murray still rehabilitating from an ACL injury and MPJ coming off back surgery in December, there are no guarantees. But anyone who watched them work up a sweat on this dead of winter night has reason for optimism.

Do not be surprised if Murray and Porter get back in uniform to play for the Nuggets by April 1. No fooling.

“I know that our fans all think we should be 40-0. That’s just the nature of it. I get it,” said Nuggets coach Michael Malone, before the Nuggets thrashed Portland 140-108 to improve…

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