What Michael Porter Jr.'s injury means for his NBA draft stock

Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr., a potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, is expected to miss the remainder of the college basketball season after having back surgery.

How much does this news drop his draft stock, if at all?

This is clearly a setback for Porter's chances of going No. 1 overall in June, but the precise impact won't be clear until more information comes out. Porter?will have a microdiscectomy of his L3-L4 spinal disks with a projected recovery time of three to four months, and he is expected to make a complete recovery, according to Missouri.

One thing clearly working in Porter's favor is the fact that he is one of the most heavily scouted 19-year-olds in recent memory, meaning teams already have an extensive evaluation of his talent and a great deal of film to look back on.

Porter played for USA Basketball's gold-medal team at the 2016 Under-18 FIBA Americas Championship, participated in the Nike Hoop Summit and McDonald's All American game (and practices) last spring and made the then-unusual decision to take part in the Adidas Nations camp in Houston in August, where he matched with elite college competition. He also has a significant body of work on the AAU circuit, having played 38 EYBL games over the course of two seasons, averaging 21 points and nine rebounds in just 25 minutes per game.

Furthermore, Porter played in a handful of exhibition games with Missouri this fall, including one heavily attended contest against Kansas, in front of a significant portion of NBA teams.

NBA teams' medical staffs will play a huge role now in evaluating the extent of Porter's injury, and they will be relied upon for their expertise in analyzing his chances of making a 100 percent recovery. Not all back injuries are the same, obviously, but the fact that Porter is so young will likely help his chances of coming back at full strength.

Pending a full doctor's prognosis on Porter, the fact that the NBA draft is seven months away means there is a very good chance that he will be able to conduct workouts for NBA teams, which should go a long way in easing the concerns of top decision-makers. If his recovery time is indeed three to four months as Missouri stated, he could easily be healthy and back in top shape by the time the NBA combine rolls around in mid-May.

The glut of big men at the top of this draft, with six of the top 10 prospects in our Top 100 currently projected to see most of their NBA minutes at center, should help Porter as well. At 6 feet 10, he is a skilled, oversized wing player who is big enough to see minutes at power forward. Porter can get his shot off with ease and should become a solid defender in time.

After landing at No. 2 in our mock draft before the college season started, he'll likely find himself in the mid-lottery of the next one. But he will have plenty of time to make up lost ground by the time the 2018 draft rolls around on June 21.

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