Trevor Mbakwe Injury: Star Forward Out For Season With Torn ACL

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Trevor Mbakwe Injury Will Force Golden Gophers To Play Small Ball

The Trevor Mbakwe injury will force the Minnesota Golden Gophers to alter their game plan for the remainder of the season. The senior star suffered a torn ACL over the weekend, leaving head coach Tubby Smith very few options as he attempts to keep the men's basketball season on track.

Smith held a press conference on Tuesday to talk about Mbakwe's injury and, while revealing that fellow big man Ralph Sampson III hasn't been able to practice this week, he said that playing a smaller lineup will be likely during the ACC vs. Big Ten Challenge.

"We won't change much, we just won't have that inside presence that Trevor gave us because I'm still not sure about Ralph's status," Smith said at the press conference. "(Sampson) didn't practice yesterday, and he probably won't practice today, so he may not play (Wednesday)."

Junior Rodney Williams will probably be moved over to the power forward and Eliott Eliason will start at center if Sampson isn't able to play. Julian Welch has apparently earned the other vacant spot in the starting lineup.

"Rodney's (role) might change a little bit, but it might help him get a rebound putting him at the (power forward) spot," Smith said. "(Welch) played well. I think he'll probably start for us tomorrow, either at the point or the shooting guard. He'll be the guy who we would insert in our starting lineup at this point, based on what he did over the weekend."

The Gophers will play the Virginia Tech Hokies on Wednesday night.

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Trevor Mbakwe Injury Update: Tubby Smith States "It Ain't Good"

Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach Tubby Smith has spoken to the media about the right knee injury sustained by Trevor Mbakwe on Sunday evening, and the news is not good. The independent Minnesota basketball blog The Gopher Hole, written by J.B. Bauer was in the post-game press conference in Orlando, where the topic of Mbakwe's knee dominated the conversation instead of the loss to Dayton:

I was at the postgame presser tonight here in Orlando after Minnesota's 86-70 loss to Dayton and Tubby said, "it ain't good" before saying that he hopes Mbakwe's right knee injury is nothing serious. We should know soon just how bad it is, but the questions about his future should he be out the remainder of this season are already being asked.

Bauer later addressed the possibility of Mbakwe returning in 2012-13 through a medical hardship waiver, but admitted that it was unlikely. Mbakwe did have knee surgery on his left knee earlier in his career at Marquette before transferring to Minnesota.

Minnesota returns home to host Virginia Tech in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday night.

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