Meeting with reporters for the first time since undergoing back surgery in November, Missouri preseason All-American freshman basketball player Michael Porter Jr. urged caution Tuesday about his return to the court. Porter, who hasn’t played since the opening minutes of Mizzou’s Nov. 10 opener, said he first suffered his back injury during a summer practice with his AAU team MO-KAN Elite two years ago. He called it “a trauma incident.” “I went up for a dunk and got hit really high in the air,” he said. “I came flat down on my back. That’s when I hurt it.” Porter said the injury “progressed” in the weeks leading up to MU’s first regular-season game against Iowa State. Before that game, Porter played in three preseason exhibition games against Kansas, Wisconsin and Missouri State, but it was shortly before tipoff Nov. 10 when Porter told Tigers coach Cuonzo Martin he was in too much pain to play. Martin took Porter out in the game’s third minute. “My parents got multiple opinions and they kind of decided surgery was the best (option),” Porter said. “It’s a good thing I did it. I feel a lot better now.” Martin said Tuesday he wasn't familiar with the extent of Porter's initial injury until the freshman got to campus this summer. "It was not as if it was something I read about or anything like that," Martin said. "To his credit he practiced and played and didn't complain about it and did normal rehab." "Really, the time when we played Iowa State, it was like, OK," Martin added. "But going through the game you really didn't know. Then it was, OK, here we are. It's an issue. Let's move forward.
Mizzou's Porter Jr. says it's 'too early to tell' when he'll return
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Jan 2