'He's ready to go;' Michael Porter Jr. will play in SEC Tournament

Michael Porter Jr. and teammates

Missouri Head Coach Cuonzo Martin told ESPN's Paul Finebaum his star freshman will play Thursday in the second-round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in St. Louis. He has not played since Missouri's November 10 season-opener against Iowa State, a game in which he played just two minutes.

His back injury made it likely Porter would elect not to return in 2017-18, as he is still slated as a projected lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Coach Cuanzo Martin - which still has Missouri headed to the NCAA Tournament, even without its best player - said Porter will come off the bench. "I feel good about it'". It had to be completely up to him, to say, 'Coach, I'm completely ready to go.

Asked whether he expects Geist to play Thursday, Martin said only "I hope so".

"If he's healthy, we're rolling".

"Unless Mike says otherwise, that's what it is", Martin said.

The No. 2 overall player in the 2017 recruiting class, Porter is considered to be a lock for the National Basketball Association lottery this year. Porter Jr. later underwent surgery in Dallas.

But in late February he was cleared by doctors to resume all basketball activities.

Fifth-seeded Missouri (20-11) faces the victor of Wednesday's Georgia-Vanderbilt game at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Missouri finished with a 20-11 regular season record without Porter.

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