Michael Porter, Jr. will undergo surgery on his spine on Tuesday that will cause him to miss the rest of the season, Missouri announced.
The procedure is a microdiscectomy of the L3-L4 spinal discs and the projected recovery period will likely end his season.
Porter is a potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft but he was injured, according to the school, during warmups of his first game with the Tigers. He played two minutes but was removed from the game and did not return. He did not sit on the bench with the team in wins over Wagner and Emporia State, and he did not travel to Utah, where the Tigers were blown out by the Utes.
This is a devastating blow to Missouri, who had hopes of returning to the NCAA tournament with the elder Porter on the roster. A likely one-and-done even after the surgery, Porter’s college career will likely span all of those two minutes.
The future is still bright for Cuonzo Martin. Porter’s younger brother, Jontay, and fellow freshman Jeremiah Tilmon are not likely to be one-and-done prospects, meaning that there is a core there for Martin to build around.
But this year, losing arguably the best player in college basketball is going to be too much to overcome.