Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. could play for the Tigers this weekend, head coach Cuonzo Martin told reporters on Thursday. Missouri has its regular-season finale at home against Arkansas on Saturday.
A potential top-five pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the 6-foot-10 Porter Jr. hasn’t played since the opening two minutes of the season before he left the game with injury. Porter would later have back surgery to correct the issue, which has limited his freshman campaign.
Cleared to resume playing two weeks ago, Porter has recently taken warmups with Missouri as Martin won’t push the issue.
“He’ll practice today and he’ll practice tomorrow,” Martin said to reporters Thursday. “And then we’ll go from there. It’ll really come down to how Mike feels. Then we’ll go from there.”
Porter has only been through a few practices as he’ll likely have to go through a few more before being comfortable to play.
“If he feels good from the standpoint of going through [practice],” Martin said. “You’re coming off back surgery and you’re really talking about his third practice [Thursday]. We had a good one at Vanderbilt, so that really helped us and probably helped him some. We’ll go from here.
“We just want to get the reps under his belt so he can be effective. He knows he’s not going to be at the [highest] level from a conditioning standpoint, but as long as he feels good, that’s the first thing. And then we go from there.”
Missouri has had a promising season even without its star freshman as they have a 19-11 record on the season. The Tigers are a likely NCAA tournament team at this point as they could be intriguing if Porter joins the equation.
(h/t: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)