Late Wednesday night news broke that Michael Porter Jr. had canceled his scheduled workout in Chicago. The workout was supposed to be a chance for top teams, including the Sacramento Kings, to get a closer look at Porter’s surgically repaired back. Porter would also be examined by a back specialist. Now new details have emerged regarding why the workout was cancelled, and the reasons are rather concerning.
According to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, Porter has a strained hip and muscle spasms bad enough that he can’t get out of bed. Also worth noting is that this injury comes as Porter has just recently resumed basketball activity.
Porter ceased all basketball activity after the season, focusing his efforts on rehab, sources told ESPN, after losing strength in his left leg in particular due to the injury. He was cleared to play just two weeks prior to his June 8 pro day. While he reportedly felt only about 50 percent physically, he had a very impressive showing, according to multiple teams in attendance, shooting the ball exceptionally well. His size, fluidity and shot-making ability off the dribble reminded teams of the player who had been highly touted before the season.
To recap the state of Porter’s injury so far, in November of 2017 Porter left Missouri’s season opener due to a mysterious injury. At the time it was described as Porter “tweaking” his hip, but was later described as his leg. The injury was eventually diagnosed as herniated discs in Porter’s back, and he underwent microdiscectomy surgery. In December Porter claimed that the back injury had happened years earlier. Porter was eventually cleared to return to play for Missouri on February 22nd. Porter did not look like himself and played poorly. We’re now told that Porter stopped all basketball activity to focus on rehab, despite supposedly being cleared for basketball activities in February. Porter returned to basketball, was 100% when he worked out, and is now hurt again.
The timeline of events is simply alarming. I’m not a medical professional, but we often see in the NBA that players will have injuries from their body compensating when recovering from another injury. All of this suggests that Porter still has huge injury flags.
According to Givony, teams have the results of the original physical conducted by the Chicago Bulls.
The results of Porter’s full medical examination, conducted by the Bulls, were eventually released to all NBA teams. Representatives of multiple teams that reviewed the information with their medical staffs say those results are encouraging.
”There doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with him right now,” one NBA executive told ESPN.com. “But a conservative doctor could still [be concerned about] what might happen down the road.”
Back injuries of this nature are not traditionally injuries that will plague a player for his career. But to have such a significant red flag at this point in the draft process could significantly alter the upcoming draft.