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.
Then last November, in front of the first sellout crowd at Mizzou Arena in four years, Porter played less than two minutes before hurting his back.
The five-star recruit has been limited to a two-minute stint in the season opener due to a back injury.
When Porter Jr. entered the game, it was scoreless.
Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. set to play in SEC Tournament
Per ESPN's Paul Finebaum , Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin confirmed Porter said he wanted to help the team down the stretch. This season, Martin has coached his squad to a 20-11 record that includes a 10-8 mark in conference play.
"The encouraging part for us is just that besides - I mean, (Jontay's) the only one who had a really good offensive game", Porter Jr. said. That mark is two minutes more per game, on average, than the next closest SEC player (Kentucky's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 36.1).
A few minutes before, when three Missouri players took the podium, it did not sound like they knew Porter was planning to play.
"Yes, we didn't want to change that", head coach Cuonzo Martin said of Missouri's game plan. "Unless the trainer or Mike says otherwise, he's playing".
No. 5-seeded Mizzou will play No. 12 Georgia at 2:25 p.m. He'll get plenty of reason to raise his profile, as he and the University of Missouri head into the Southeastern Conference tournament, one stop before the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament - aka "March Madness" - kicks off.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. 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.
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A few days ago, school officials began whispering that Porter could return for the postseason, and Tigers fans did some whispering of their own.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN: Missouri's offense was downright abysmal for most of this one.Barnett and Robertson - the two leading scorers on this team - combined for 7 points on 4-for-18 shooting.
Michael Porter Jr. was a superstar at Nathan Hale in Seattle, where he led the school to a state title.
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