When Missouri superstar freshman Michael Porter Jr., ESPN’s No. 2 player in the 2017 high school class, had back surgery last month he was ruled out for the rest of the season.
But now noted St. Louis orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rick Lehman, whose clients have included Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Cam Newton, thinks Porter could be back on the court by mid-January.
“I think he’ll be back in the next four weeks, and that’s more than just a guess,” Dr. Lehman said on Frank Cusumano’s 590 FAN. radio show
“Most single-level decompression (back surgeries) take six to eight weeks to recover,” Lehman told the Missourian. “The thought that he’d miss the whole season — in my opinion — is probably not realistic. Everyone is going to cheat on the long side a little bit and say it’s going to take a little longer just in case things do. My belief is that he’ll be back six to eight weeks from the time of surgery pretty comfortably.”
Even Porter himself has hinted he could be back early, stating on his Instagram account in late Nov., “Just letting y’all know whoever said it was gonna take 3-4 months to recover lied.”
A possible early return by Porter, who was expected to go No. 1 or No. 2 in the 2018 NBA Draft, would be an incredible lift for the Tigers.
Porter averaged a whopping 36.4 points and 13.5 rebounds for Nathan Hale High School (Seattle) last year, leading the team to an undefeated season and the Washington state 3A championship.
The previous season as a junior, Porter averaged 28.5 points as a junior at Father Tolton Catholic (Columbia, MO).
His dad had moved the family from Missouri to the northwest two summers ago after taking an assistant coaching job at Washington.
Porter, who decommitted from Washington after coach Lorenzo Romar’s firing, committed to Mizzou after his father Michael Porter Sr. accepted an assistant job at the school this summer under new Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin.
Porter Jr. also averaged 22.8 points and 10.9 rebounds in the Nike EYBL in 2016, leading Mokan Elite to the Peach Jam title alongside No. 23 2017 HS recruit Trae Young (Oklahoma).
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