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Missouri's Porter hopeful to return soon after surgery

Missouri fans hope to see Michael Porter, Jr. return this season.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. is hopeful he'll be cleared to return to practice from lower back surgery next week, providing a boost for a Tigers team aiming to reach the NCAA Tournament.

The 6-foot-10 Porter, the top prep prospect in the country last season, played in only two minutes of the Tigers' season-opening win over Iowa State before missing the rest of the season following surgery in November.

Porter averaged 36.2 points and 13.6 rebounds per game as a senior in high school in Washington, and he was a McDonald's All-American after signing with Missouri (16-8, 6-5 Southeastern Conference).

He was expected to miss the rest of this season after the procedure, called a microdisetomy, but he's hoping to be cleared to return during a doctor's visit next week.

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