(GopherSports.com) University of Minnesota Medical Director Dr. Brad Nelson confirmed Monday that senior forward Trevor Mbakwe suffered an ACL tear to his right knee. Mbakwe will be lost for the remainder of the season. Surgery to repair the injury will be scheduled in the upcoming weeks.
“My family and I would like to thank everyone for their support,” said Mbakwe.
“Trevor’s done everything we’ve asked him to do in his time here at the University of Minnesota. He’s been through an awful lot,” said Gopher head coach Tubby Smith. “That says a lot about his toughness to be able to recover from the things he has already endured.
“He had a knee surgery before (at Marquette) and for it to happen a second time, you hurt for him, but you know he’s a guy that has the will power and has been through it before and can recover again. We are certainly going to miss him. He’s having a great year. He’s our leader. He’s been a big emotional leader for us. Our players look up to Trevor, not just because of his talent, but because of his work ethic, and the type of person he’s been.
“The team has watched what he’s had to deal with and overcome, and I think that endears you—me, too—to a person like him. He knows that we’re here for him, and we will do whatever we can do to help him through this process.”
Mbakwe, named to the Preseason All-Big Ten First Team and to the John R. Wooden award watch list, is currently leading the Gophers in scoring (14.0 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg) through seven games.
The leading rebounder for Team USA at the World University Games this summer, Mbakwe made an impact in his first season in Gold Country, finishing with a Big Ten Conference-best 10.5 rebounds per game as a junior.
His 327 total rebounds were the third-most in a single-season at Minnesota and the most since Jim Brewer collected 331 rebounds during the 1970-71 season. Mbakwe also averaged a team-high 13.9 points per game to become the first Gopher player to average a double-double since Kris Humphries did so during the 2003-4 season.