Missouri forward Michael Porter, Jr., who has appeared in just one game this season after going down with a back injury in the Tigers' season-opener vs. Iowa State, appears to be trending towards a return as early as Saturday after beinglast week.
Tigers coach Cuonzo Martin said at a news conference on Thursday that Porter Jr. will play Saturday in their regular season finale vs. Arkansas for the first time since Nov. 10 "if he feels good," according to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd.
Martin also appeared on the Kevin Wheeler Show on 101ESPN Thursday where he laid out where Porter Jr. is in his recovery.
"Well, the bottom line with that is, today will be Mike's third real practice outside of two shootarounds before games," said Martin. "Today will be his third real practice. He'll have a practice Friday. Then we'll make a decision I guess Friday night or Saturday if Mike's ready to play."
Porter Jr. arrived in Columbia, Missouri, with weighty expectations. The No. 2 overall recruit in the Class of 2017, he was pegged as a contender to be the No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick before a back injury that required surgery derailed much of his season at Missouri. Still yet, he could make quite an impact if he returns; Missouri is a 9 seed in Jerry Palm's latest Bracketology, and its late-season skid has put them on thin ice in the bubble conversation.
A win on Saturday over an NCAA Tournament-bound Arkansas team would likely shore up any questions about the validity of Missouri's resume, and if Porter Jr. plays up to his projected lottery pick potential, Mizzou could quickly become a legitimate Final Four hopeful overnight.