The Maneater

Michael Porter Jr. cleared for all basketball activities

The No. 1 freshman recruit in the nation was sidelined two minutes into Missouri’s season opener, then underwent microdiscectomy surgery.

Michael Porter Jr. motions for a basketball prior to Missouri's exhibition scrimmage with Kansas on Oct. 22, 2017.

Michael Porter Jr., once known as the No. 1 recruit in the country, has reportedly been cleared for all basketball activities.

The Missouri freshman visited a doctor in Dallas on Thursday hoping for good news. Per a Jon Rothstein report, he heard just what he wanted to hear at the same place where three months ago he underwent a microdiscectomy surgery for damaged L3 and L4 spinal discs.

At the time, it seemed as though Porter Jr. would be out for the season.

There’s no guarantee yet, however, as to whether he’ll appear for the Tigers in any games. Three contests remain in the regular season, then comes the SEC Tournament in St. Louis. Then, likely for Missouri, the NCAA Tournament.

“I’m just a kid who loves to play basketball,” Porter Jr. said two weeks ago. “I’m not thinking about the risks [of reinjury]. What I am worried about is … Is it good for our team if I come back?”

Porter Jr. made his way to the sideline two minutes into Missouri’s season opener against Iowa State on Nov. 10 with what he cited as mild pain in his hip. When he didn’t return the rest of the game, speculation began regarding the status of the highest touted athlete to come to the school in years.

Then on Nov. 21, the men’s basketball team released a statement projecting a three-to-four month recovery time, stating it would “likely cause him to miss the remainder of the season.”

Without him, the Tigers have managed to go 18-10 so far and 8-7 in the Southeastern Conference, landing them in a six-way tie for third place in the SEC. They are currently projected to be a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi.

When Porter Jr. announced at a press conference two weeks ago that he was hoping to be cleared for full-contact practice at an upcoming doctor’s appointment, he was optimistic about his chances of returning.

“I’d love to get a couple games under my belt before hopping into tournament play,” he said. “I’m feeling better every day. I’m just hoping that the doctor feels the same way.”

It looks like the doctor did.

Missouri plays Kentucky in Lexington at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday on ESPN and then finishes the regular season with games at Vanderbilt and at home against Arkansas.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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