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Michael Porter Jr.’s mysterious injury were actually herniated discs

Nobody knows how serious the Missouri star’s injury is.

2017 McDonald's All American Game Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Standout freshman Michael Porter Jr. will likely miss the remainder of the season with Missouri after undergoing microdiscectomy surgery on his spine on Tuesday, according to the Missouri Tigers.

The recovery timetable for the surgery is set to three to four months, which means he’d be out until about March if there are no setbacks. Porter missed his third straight game with the Tigers on Monday and had an appointment with a specialist that night to determine what was going on, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. Porter played just two minutes with the Tigers before going down with what initially appeared to be a leg injury.

Porter, a 6’10 wing who won MVP at the 2017 McDonalds All-American Game, is a projected top-three pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Prior to committing to Missouri, he was the superstar recruit the basketball world revolved around and is even close with both Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.

What is microdiscectomy surgery?

According to WebMD, this is a surgery to remove herniated disc material pressing on a nerve root in the back or the actual spinal cord. For Porter, the L3-L4 spinal discs are the ones with an issue. The issues with the discs can cause leg pain or numbing, as Porter experienced.

Initially, Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin declined to go into specifics regarding Porter Jr.’s injury but confirmed it was an injury to his leg, not a tweaked hip as had been earlier reported.

“I don’t know how serious it is,” Martin said after Missouri’s Nov. 14 win over Wagner, according to Dave Matter of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s hard for me to say that. But I think it’s day to day. That’s the best assessment for me to say right now: It’s day to day.”

Porter Jr. is not traveling with the team for road games and is spending home games in the locker room resting his leg because he was reportedly “too uncomfortable to sit on the bench,” according to CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander.

How good is he?

Damn good, that’s for sure. At 6’10, he has the height and length of an NBA big man with the shooting stroke and handle of a guard. In short, Porter could be the next Durant.

How is Missouri winning without him?

By committee, that’s how. Senior guard Kassius Robertson is averaging 15.3 points and 3.3 assists through Mizzou’s first three games, and Kevin Puryear is hitting 57 percent of his threes for 13.3 points per game.

The Tigers are 2-1 after a loss to Utah and should fare well against Emporia State. But if Porter Jr.’s injury persists, Missouri could run into some trouble when the tougher opponents on the schedule start coming to town.