Missouri freshman phenom Michael Porter Jr. met with doctors Thursday, but coach Cuonzo Martin said Porter is unlikely to return for the Tigers’ next two games.
According to a source close to the Mizzou basketball program, Porter had a regular check up with his doctors in Columbia to check on his progress since back surgery. Porter had the surgery in Dallas in November.
Martin appeared in a radio segment on KFNS (590 AM) in St. Louis on Thursday and told host Frank Cusumano that Porter could get cleared for non-contact drills.
Also, Martin said it was doubtful Porter would return to live contact on Friday even if he were cleared and said there was no chance the 6-foot-10 freshman forward plays in the Tigers next game, which is at LSU on Saturday.
“Not at all,” Martin said. “Not at all. Not at all.”
After the LSU game, Missouri’s next game is at home against Mississippi, a team the Tigers already beat in Oxford on Feb. 6.
“I’d be shocked if he’s on the floor,” Martin said of a Porter return against the Rebels on Tuesday.
Porter Jr. told reporters Friday that he had a doctors appointment the following week and was hopeful that he would be cleared to return to practice.
Martin shot down any notion that Porter Jr.’s return would create a chemistry issue for the team, because Missouri already sits at 18-8 and is prime position to make its first NCAA Tournament in five years.
He thought Porter Jr.’s biggest issue, should he return, would be not having the ball in his hands and not getting as many shots as he’s used to.
After Missouri’s game against Mississippi on Tuesday, the Tigers head on the road to Kentucky on Feb. 24 and Vanderbilt on Feb. 27.
Martin said it’s too early to tell whether Porter Jr. would be able to play in those road games because it would depend on how his body responds to facing contact for the first time in over three months.
“I couldn’t answer that,” he said. “You have to go through it.”