Missouri Tigers freshman forward Michael Porter Jr. returned to the floor on Saturday afternoon for his team’s SEC Tournament game against the Georgia Bulldogs. It was his first time taking the floor since the season opener when he scored just two points before he suffered a back injury that has kept him sidelined for the majority of the season.
He played 23 minutes off the bench in what was eventually a Tigers loss, scoring 12 points and added eight rebounds on 5-of-17 shooting.
“With this type of injury, the last thing to come back is your explosiveness, your pop,” said Porter after the game. “I knew that wasn’t there yet, but I still thought with Cullen [VanLeer] tearing his ACL and other guys out, I thought I could help the team. I missed some shots I should have made, but at the end of the day we lost as a team.”
His collegiate career is likely not over just yet, as the Tigers eye an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. With their loss on Thursday, they fall to 20-12 on the season, having played nearly the entire year without the No. 2 overall recruit in the 2018 class on the floor.
Porter Jr. remains high atop NBA mock draft boards for June, despite his injury.
Jontay Porter, Michael’s younger brother, led the way for Missouri with 20 points and eight rebounds. Entering the day, he was the Tigers’ leading rebounder on the season at 6.8 per game, also third on the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game, shooting 43.9 percent from the field overall.