Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin confirmed Friday afternoon that Michael Porter, Jr., the number two ranked freshman in the 2017 class, has been cleared for basketball activities.
Ben Roberts reported Friday that the Tigers are taking things day by day with Porter.
“He will get implemented into practice today, and we’ll just go one day at a time,” said Martin. “And I don’t really have a timetable after that. Just one day at a time. And at the end of the day, the most important thing is ... his well-being and his health and to make sure he’s good to go.”
Martin shied away from giving a prediction on when Porter will return to game action. He will start with non-contact activity on Friday and see where things go from there. As to whether or not he’ll play before the SEC Tournament, “The most important thing is to get healthy. Again, if he’s healthy enough to practice and go through it and bang up and down, run the floor, block out, fall down, take a charge, all those things.”
As far as if Porter will suit up against the Wildcats on Saturday, Martin had some jokes. “Maybe I should say he’s playing, get ‘em off balance.” But on a more serious note, Martin said, “I hadn’t even thought that far into it. I really hadn’t. Maybe if it makes him feel good, yeah, that’s fine. It could happen, but I haven’t thought that far.”
However, Martin has said that, even if Porter was cleared for basketball activities, it wouldn’t guarantee that he would play for the Tigers this season.
“There’s no point in playing the guy if he gives you five minutes a game. He’s not built to play five minutes a game. The guy is a ballplayer.”
While Martin didn’t explicitly rule it out, I think it’s unlikely that Porter will play on Saturday against the Cats. It’s more likely that the Tigers will wait and hope to get Porter incorporated by the SEC Tournament, if he even plays then.
Even without the number two ranked freshman, the Tigers have played well this season, holding an 18-10 record overall (8-7 in the SEC) and currently projected as a seven seed in the NCAA Tournament.
But, all things considered, if Porter is healthy and able to contribute he will give the Tigers a boost.
Be sure to tune in and follow the Cats this Saturday as they take on Missouri in Rupp Arena at 8:15 PM EST. You can watch the game on ESPN or follow the game thread here at A Sea of Blue.