Mizzou's Michael Porter Jr. will play in SEC Tournament

Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr
USA TODAY Sports Images

10 March, 2018

While the injury was expected to keep Porter out for the entire season, the potential National Basketball Association lottery pick was cleared to play in mid-February and is expected to return Thursday in the Southeastern Conference Tournament, according to coach Cuonzo Martin.

The 6-foot-10 Columbia, Missouri, native showed signs of rust, however.

He suffered an injury in his first career game in the season opener for Mizzou.

Mizzou can now proceed to the tournament that really matters with some knowledge of what Porter can and can't do after recovering from November back surgery. It was until yesterday, that head coach Cuonzo Martin said Porter told him he would be ready to go. It's another reason that winning this week, at the very least on Thursday, is so crucial; if Porter Jr.is given the green light, Martin will want to get him as much in-game playing experience as possible before the Big Dance. I don't have it in my head to say, 'He's play this many minutes and that's it.'.

No. 5-seeded Mizzou will play No. 12 Georgia at 2:25 p.m.

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If Missouri gets this far, the breadth of potential opponents is too great and the odds of each matchup too low, so we won't bother you with any speculation. So we've got some things we've got to fix, but it's small things.

Porter joins current junior Kevin Puryear (Blue Springs, Mo.) as Tigers to have earned SEC All-Freshman Team recognition. He took seven more shots than the second-most prolific shooter on his team. With their loss on Thursday, they fall to 20-12 on the season, having played almost the entire year without the No. 2 overall recruit in the 2018 class on the floor.

Mizzou enters as the fifth-seed in the tournament, and the latest Bracketology from ESPN's Joe Lunardi has the Tigers No. 8 in the South bracket playing against Butler. The Tigers tied the game at 39-39 on Kassius Robertson's three pointer, but they could never grab the lead. He flashed all of the skills that have National Basketball Association front offices drooling, scoring 20 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out a pair of assists in 26 minutes. The Missouri player is set to re-debut ahead of March Madness, so get the lowdown on this star recruit.

Considered a lottery pick in this year's NBA Draft if he declares, Porter's presence suddenly makes a good Missouri team (20-11, 10-8 in the SEC) even more of a threat, says Kentucky coach John Calipari.

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