Michael Porter Jr.: 'Too early to tell' whether he'll play again this season

Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr., who underwent lower back surgery in November, said Tuesday that he won't rush his return to the court.

The standout forward and expected one-and-done athlete played only two minutes for the Tigers this season before going down with an injury. Missouri said at the time that the expected recovery schedule for the procedure, called a microdiscectomy, is three to four months, meaning Porter probably would miss the season.

Porter said Tuesday in his first news conference since before the season opener that it is "too early to tell" whether he will be able to play for Missouri again this season.

"My time is coming," Porter said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I just can't rush it."

Porter also maintained "there's a chance" he won't declare for the NBA draft and will instead stay at Missouri for another season. He is No. 5 among prospects for the 2018 draft, according to ESPN's Jonathan Givony.

"I know when I'm healthy people will see what I'm capable of, and it'll all take care of itself," Porter said. "Even if I get drafted fifth, sixth, it's how I do in the NBA that determines my legacy. I'm still going to become the best player that I can become. That will take care of itself."

Porter says he anticipates a full recovery from the surgery and injury, which he initially suffered when landing on his back after a dunk attempt in a game with his AAU team two years ago. The injury worsened over time until surgery was his best option.

"I kind of forgotten what it's like to play normal," he said, according to the Post-Dispatch. "That's why I'm blessed to have the surgery because I feel like I'll be far better than I was playing without those limitations. So I kind of expected it to be the same just playing through the pain. But then it got worse to where I couldn't play anymore. I didn't feel like I'd be helpful to the team in the state I was in."

Coach Cuonzo Martin said it would be up to doctors and the training staff to decide when Porter, who is running and shooting, can play.

"I never make calls when you talk about physical health," Martin said.

The injury was a staggering blow for last year's top high school recruit, just as it was for a Missouri program excited for the future following his arrival and the talented recruiting class that followed him to Columbia.

Porter signed with Missouri after originally being committed to Washington, doing so after former Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar was fired in March. His father, Michael Porter Sr., was an assistant coach at Washington at the time and was later hired by Martin, in his first year at Missouri.

The 6-foot-10 freshman averaged 36.2 points and 13.6 rebounds per game as a senior in high school, and he was a McDonald's All-American. He showed how that potential might translate to college in an exhibition game against No. 3 Kansas before the season, scoring 21 points in 23 minutes -- and he was chosen as the co-Southeastern Conference preseason Player of the Year.

ESPN Insider Jeff Goodman contributed to this report.