Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin doesn't have timeline for Michael Porter Jr.
Porter Jr. has reportedly been cleared for basketball activities but isn't set to return any time soon
Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. was reportedly cleared for all basketball activities last week, but there's no timeline for when -- or if -- the projected 2018 lottery pick might return to the floor for the Tigers.
Coach Cuonzo Martin said on Saturday night that his prized recruit, who arrived in Columbia, Missouri as the No. 2 overall recruit in 2017, doesn't have a date set for his return.
"I don't have a timeline," Martin said. "He wants to play ... We have to make sure he's ready to go."
Porter played only two minutes this season for the Tigers after suffering a back injury in their season opener against Iowa State that ultimately required surgery. Since then, neither he nor his coach have ruled out a return. He practiced with the team on Friday and participated in shootaround during the team's tilt against Kentucky on Saturday, but changed into sweats before tip and didn't take part in the rest of warmups, according to ESPN. He was on the bench but not in gear.
The Tigers (18-11, 8-8 in SEC) have just two remaining league games before postseason play begins, and they are trending in the wrong direction. A projected 10 seed in Jerry Palm's latest Bracketology, they haven't won in nearly two weeks and are suddenly slipping dangerously close to the bubble as Selection Sunday looms.
If Porter Jr. does return to the court, it would undeniably be a big boost for the slumping Tigers. But even for a stellar talent like Porter Jr., getting back into game shape and adjusting to the physicality of the college game will be no small task.
"The most important thing is he's healthy and able to play in games," Martin said. "In his case he wants to play and I think that's a good thing about it. We have to make sure he's ready to go from my standpoint, the doctor, the trainer and watching him in practice. We need to try to put him in some live-game situations."
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