NCAA Basketball: Gators Center John Egbunu's Season Over With ACL Tear

By Nikko Villanueva, Posted: 02/16/17 02:29AM EST

Florida Gators center John Egbunu is taking a break from NCAA basketball after being diagnosed with an ACL tear in his left knee. The injury will keep him out for the remainder of the season. Egbunu was hurt in Tuesday's 114-95 victory over Auburn. 

Egbunu's injury was determined following an MRI Wednesday. Before the diagnosis, Florida Coach Mike White was optimistic, hoping the big man would be able to rejoin them soon. Sadly, the Gators must move on without their 6-foot-11 starting center. 

"We're all disappointed for John. He's been playing really well of late, so it's a tough blow to him and our team. He's a great young man, and unfortunately injuries are a part of basketball. He'll be back even stronger," White shared in a statement according to ESPN. 

This season, Egbunu averaged 7.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. He is in his second year with Florida after playing for South Florida in his freshman year. Last season, he performed better for the Gators on offense when he averaged 11.5 points. 

Egbunu got injured in the first half of Florida's matchup with Auburn. He leaped trying to defend the rim and when he landed, he went down and immediately clutched his left knee. A referee blew the whistle to pause the game and team personnel attended to him. He was unable to return to action in the second half of the game. 

In Egbunu's absence, it is thought that senior Justin Leon and sophomore Kevarrius Hayes will be the ones to step up. Leon and Hayes' numbers on offense are almost similar with Egbunu's, although the latter is doing a much better job when it comes to rebounding. 

Next on the schedule for the 21-5 Florida Gators is a road gameagainst Mississippi State. The Gators are aiming to extend their winning streak to eight games when they face the Bulldogs. Ater that, they are heading back home to play South Carolina. 

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