Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. expected to play in SEC tournament

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He underwent microdiscectomy surgery of his L3-L4 spinal discs in November with an estimated recovery time of three to four months.

Doctors cleared Porter to play in mid-February, and he practiced with the team a handful of times before feeling ready enough to play in a game again Thursday.

Mizzou ranks fifth in the SEC in rebounding defense, holding its opponents to just 32.3 boards per game. Porter would've had them in a different stratosphere most likely, but seniors Kassius Robertson and Jordan Barnett have done an outstanding job carrying the team. Porter had suggested during the season that he would work to return, and that's set to happen for Thursday's game against the victor of Georgia-Vanderbilt. It was a win paved by shooting woes for the Wildcats and by one of the best all-around second halves of the season for the Tigers. And the Tigers can practice together with that basic understanding of what Porter's role will be when the NCAA tourney rolls around.

Missouri would need quite a Cinderella run to win the SEC Tournament or even get to its championship game, but either way, the Tigers should be smiling a few hours after this game come Selection Sunday.

"We beat Georgia when I didn't play", the Missouri freshman said in the locker room after a 62-60 defeat. So we've got some things we've got to fix, but it's small things.

Porter finished with 12 points while his brother, Jontay Porter, was the driving force behind Mizzou's offense with 20 points. The marquee matchup of Kentucky and Missouri that was destined for Friday afternoon-it's not going to happen. That frustration continued into this season when Michael Porter Jr was injured in the first game of the year, playing only two minutes.

That's the way it goes when you lose your opener in a conference tournament-while you watch and wait, other teams projected to miss the cut have a chance to change their fate. Alabama led by as many as 12 points in the second half, but the No. 8 seed Aggies (20-12) rallied and went up by one point after Starks' 3-pointer. I'm not putting this all on him, however.

"Well, it was $40 a piece inside so yeah we got a good deal out here".

"I think (the pressure) is motivating", Johnson said.

Also factoring into all of this is Missouri's biggest elephant in the room: Michael Porter Jr.



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