Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team loses Porter again

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Michael Porter's injury-plagued college basketball career has hit yet another in a long line of roadblocks.

Southeast Missouri State coach Dickey Nutt said Monday the junior forward will miss the rest of the season after re-fracturing the left foot he originally broke in October.

Porter's latest mishap came Saturday night in his first game of the season. He had six points and three rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench during a 74-62 home win over Tennessee Tech.

But Porter, who provided Southeast a boost with his energetic and inspirational play as the Redhawks snapped a four-game losing streak, was taken back to the locker room midway through the second half and did not return to the bench.

Nutt feared after the contest that Porter might have re-fractured the foot and that was confirmed Monday.

"I just hate it for Michael. It's a shame. He's such a great guy, just a good guy to be around," Nutt said. "He's such an inspiration to our team. He's the heart and soul of our team. He gives us that experience, that leadership, that toughness.

"Anybody who saw the game [Saturday] saw what a difference he made. He helped get our step back."

Porter had already been hobbled during preseason practice after he suffered a torn labrum in his hip for the second time. Then came the broken foot in October that forced him to miss the first 20 games of the campaign.

"Michael really wanted to play," Nutt said. "I'm hoping that his big contribution Saturday night will inspire our team."

Porter began his college career at Missouri State. He missed all but six games of his freshman season in 2009-10 due to an emergency appendectomy and a torn hamstring.

The former Sikeston High School standout was involved in a single-vehicle accident in June of 2010 that resulted in hip surgery and put his basketball career in jeopardy.

Porter decided to transfer to Southeast. It took time to recover from the hip surgery, but he eventually was able to practice with the Redhawks during the 2010-11 season although he was ineligible for games due to NCAA transfer rules.

Porter then missed quite a bit of preseason practice last year with hip problems, which set his conditioning back. He finally rounded into form and came on strong toward the end of the season, finishing with averages of 4.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.

Porter was hopeful of an injury-free junior campaign, but then came another hip injury followed by the foot problems.

"He hasn't had a lot of luck," Nutt said. "I told him just to stay positive and something good will happen. I'm looking forward to getting him back for his senior year and maybe one more year after that."

Nutt said Southeast is hopeful that Porter will receive a medical hardship from the NCAA and be granted one final season of eligibility after his senior campaign next year.

Porter's absence this season has hampered Southeast's inside depth behind starting forwards Tyler Stone and Nino Johnson, who have been forced to play more minutes than ideal.

"We don't talk about it a lot when someone is hurt but we knew in October when Michael went down, that was a big blow to us," Nutt said. "It's a big loss but we've got a good team."

Southeast (11-10, 3-4 Ohio Valley Conference) plays at SIU Edwardsville (6-10, 2-4) Thursday in a 7 p.m. tipoff.

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