Michael Porter Jr.’s return to the lineup for the Missouri Tigers could be imminent.
According to a report from CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, Porter has been cleared for all basketball activities.
Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. has been fully cleared for all basketball activities, per a source.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 22, 2018
Thursday is the day Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin pointed out last week when discussing Porter’s status. Martin had said Porter would meet with his doctor in Dallas on Thursday, but he stopped short of saying anything definitive, namely a specific return date.
Porter has been out for nearly the entire season as he recovers from back surgery that initially came with a three-to-four month recovery period.
In a rare media appearance of his own earlier this month, Porter said he would “love” to play a few games with the Tigers before the postseason and that he’s “feeling really good.” Many people took from that assessment that Porter maybe expects to be ready to play for Mizzou beginning either in the SEC Tournament or NCAA Tournament.
Porter was the No. 2 overall recruit in the 247Sports 2017 composite rankings and is almost universally expected to be a lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Although he’s reportedly been cleared for all basketball activities, it’s unclear how soon Porter will be able to play in a game. It depends on how much the 6-foot-10, 213-pound freshman forward has been able to do physically during his recovery as well as his level of conditioning.
He has yet to resume practicing fully with the Mizzou team, and if/when he does return to game action, it is almost a certainty that Martin and the training staff will have him on some form of a minutes restriction, especially at the outset.
Missouri is tied for third place in the SEC with an 8-7 record as part of its 18-10 overall mark. ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has the Tigers as a No. 7 seed in his latest NCAA Tournament projection.
Mizzou has three regular-season games remaining — two on the road, one at home — before the SEC Tournament. The Tigers next take the floor Saturday in Lexington against Kentucky (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN).