Porter, who joined the Tigers program as the No. 2 overall recruit in the Class of 2017, was expected to be the face of a basketball resurgence in Columbia, Missouri, before a back injury sidelined him just two minutes into the first game of the season. He underwent a lower back injury in November that, presumably, would end his season. But neither Porter nor his coach, Cuonzo Martin, has ruled out a return to the court this season.
"This week, he started working out -- not on the floor, but just doing different things with our strength and conditioning coach Nicodemus [Christopher], agility work, bouncing the ball, but nothing with practice," Martin said via the Kansas City Star on Feb. 6. "I wouldn't be shocked if I saw him on the floor. And I'm not saying that, because he hasn't practiced or anything, so don't misinterpret that, but I wouldn't be shocked.
"I know he's fighting hard to get on the floor. He's looking good, his body's great. He's actually gotten bigger, just looking at him. And he's been one of my best cheerleaders on the sideline."
Porter, a projected top-5 pick in the latest, could easily shut things down and forgo the remainder of the season to prepare for the NBA. But he's dropped hints throughout his recovery process that suggests that, if healthy, he'd like to return. He's also not shied away from publicity, recently getting up shots in pregame caught by cameras and flashing that lottery pick potential with his smooth 3-point stroke.
"My time is coming," Porter said via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in January. "I just can't rush it."