INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Trevor Mbakwe #32 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers dunks against the Northwestern Wildcats during the first round of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 10, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

Gophers' Trevor Mbakwe Returns To The Court For Practice With Teammates

Trevor Mbakwe missed the majority of last year with a torn ACL, but the Minnesota Golden Gophers power forward recently started getting back into basketball shape and should be ready in time for the college basketball season.

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Trevor Mbakwe Injury: Gophers Star Returned To Court Wednesday

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are one step closer to getting senior forward Trevor Mbakwe back in action. Marcus R. Fuller of The Pioneer Press reported on Thursday that Mbakwe participated in his first individual workout for the 2012-13 season on Wednesday. Mbakwe was there to practice with coaches and three teammates. NCAA rules don't allow more than four players to work out with the staff at a time prior to the official season start date of Oct. 12.

Mbakwe has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after his season was cut short by a torn anterior cruciate ligament in a loss to Dayton on Nov. 27 a year ago. It was an easy decision for Mbakwe to return for another year, but his draft stock will be tough to raise this season, given his age.

According to the piece, Mbakwe took shots during drills and dunked without any limitations on Wednesday. To this point, he had only worked out with trainers doing the offseason, with no drills with his teammates. He also didn't take part in summer practices with the team.

For more on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, check out The Daily Gopher. You can also learn more about college basketball around the nation at SB Nation's College Basketball hub.

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Minnesota Forward Trevor Mbakwe Expects To Be Ready By November

The rehab process for Minnesota Golden Gophers sixth-year senior Trevor Mbakwe's injured knee is moving along quite well, and the 6-foot-8 forward is already running, jumping, and doing other light exercises.

Mbakwe suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a game against Dayton back on November 27th of last year, effectively ending his senior season after just seven games. By his count, though, he expects to be ready to open the 2012-13 season with his teammates in early November, giving him an impressive turnaround time of less than a year. But as we've seen with professional athletes over time, it often takes much more than a year for a player to regain the explosiveness that he once had. Still, though, Mbakwe is confident that he can play a full season.

"I think I'll be fine by the time the season gets here," Mbakwe said earlier in the week on SiriusXM Radio. "Our trainers have been doing a great job of getting me back. I'm not doing too much right away, kind of moving at a good pace, making sure I'm on track and have no setbacks."

Whether he's able to immediately pick up his rebounding and shot-blocking paces from before the injury or not, it's hard to believe the Gophers would rush their star back to the court if he's still not entirely back to health or might actually be a liability. Even if he's not able to play in the first few games of the year, a part-time role with monitored minutes seems like a real possibility until December or January roll around.

Mbakwe was recently granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA since he was only able to play in a fraction of his team's games last year, and is expected to be one of top returning players in the Big Ten this season if he can regain his form at both ends. With Mbakwe back in the lineup, the Gophers will be hoping to improve upon their disastrous effort in Big Ten play (6-12) this past year.

For more on the Gophers, head over to The Daily Gopher. For more NCAA basketball coverage, head over to SB Nation's college basketball hub.

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Trevor Mbakwe Confirms Return To Golden Gophers In YouTube Video

Trevor Mbakwe was granted a sixth year of eligibility - and then proceeded to consider entering the NBA Draft as opposed to returning to the University of Minnesota. A good couple of weeks went by without much being said by Mbakwe or people close, but on April 9, Mbakwe did hint that he was going to return to the Golden Gophers via Twitter, citing unfinished business.

Now it's all confirmed, courtesy of a video posted to the official Gopher Sports YouTube account, which cites "unfinished business" once again, with a shiny tagline for the 2012-13 season, to boot! The video features Mbakwe sinking a shot and generally looking like he's putting in the time, before confirming that he's coming back.

Below, we've got the video for you:

The Gophers are seeking an extra scholarship for Mbakwe, who was injured in 2012, missing most of the season with a knee injury. He was doing well before that point - averaging 14 points and nine rebounds per game. He led the Big Ten in rebounds in 2010-2011 and his return to the Gophers definitely spells good things for the team, even though it will be interesting to see how his draft stock looks at the end of another season as he moves out of the desirable age bracket for early draftees.

For more on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, check out The Daily Gopher. You can also learn more about college basketball around the nation at SB Nation's College Basketball hub.

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Trevor Mbakwe Seems To Indicate He Wants To Return To Golden Gophers On Twitter

Technically, Trevor Mbakwe has not yet confirmed that he will be returning to the Minnesota Golden Gophers in 2012. He has been granted an extra year of eligibility after missing almost all of the 2012 season with a knee injury, with the Gophers also seeking extra scholarships to fit their star forward back into the line up for next season. Still, no formal announcement has been made, though we might have gotten an informal one now.

On his twitter, Mbakwe made an an announcement late on Sunday that sounds an awful lot like an admission that he is planning on returning to Minnesota for another season, but it's just vague enough to make people wonder.

Unfinished Business. I can't go out like this.

There is of course still a chance that Mbakwe decides to forego the Gophers and instead go for the NBA Draft, where he will likely be a first round selection with the resume he has already put together in college. A return to Minnesota is more likely to do good to that cause than bad, though.

For more on Trevor Mbakwe and the Minnesota Golden Gophers, check out The Daily Gopher. For more on NCAA hoops, head over to SB Nation's NCAA hub.

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Golden Gophers Seek Extra Scholarship For Trevor Mbakwe

The Minnesota Golden Gophers will most likely get the services of Trevor Mbakwe for another year after he was granted a sixth year of eligibility to play from the NCAA. The 6'8'' forward -- the best rebounder in the entire Big Ten in 2010-2011 -- had a strong start for the Gophers in 2012, averaging 14 points and nine rebounds per game before he was sidelined by a season ending knee injury.

Now coach Tubby Smith has asked the NCAA to help them out with another matter, getting an extra scholarship to give to Mbakwe so that a scholarship wouldn't have to be taken away from any younger incoming players or possible transfer targets, including Trent Lockett of the Arizona Sun Devils, to make way for the veteran.

"I would never run a player off," said Smith, who said he hasn't had one-on-one meetings with all of his players yet, "but usually through attrition, usually through something, somebody decides that this is it."

Smith said he would "cross that bridge when we get to it" if the NCAA doesn't award another scholarship for Mbakwe.

Getting Mbakwe back, the Gophers will try to improve on a season that saw them make the NIT final after a terrible collapse out of NCAA Tournament contention near the end of conference play.

For more on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, check out The Daily Gopher. You can also learn more about college basketball around the nation at SB Nation's College Basketball hub.

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Trevor Mbakwe Considering The NBA Draft, But Leaning Towards Returning To Minnesota

While it's big news that Trevor Mbakwe was granted a sixth year of eligibility with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, that doesn't necessarily mean he's going to remain with the university. Mbakwe isn't necessarily the youngest player out there, and he's at a point where he's considering entering the NBA Draft. There's significant upside to doing this ... like before his stock plummets, but the downside is that it already has, thanks to the ACL injury that's given him another year of eligibility.

That being said, Mbakwe is leaning towards spending another season with Minnesota, as reported by the Star Tribune:

"I'm leaning toward getting another year," he said. "But the situation is kind of complicated. We'll know more after the season, but there's a lot more that needs to play out before I'll be able to make a decision."

"After the season," refers to a couple weeks from now when the NCAA Tournament wraps up. At that point, Mbakwe will be expected to make a decision. Actually, he'll be expected to make a decision by the end of April, when the deadline for draft entry comes. He's got a little over a month to make his decision.

His draft stock is probably all over the place, considering he played well in the past, but ACL injuries are no joke, and are among the most significant injuries in pro sports today. Mbakwe is still not fully healthy, but could be ready to show scouts he's healthy by June or July.

For more on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, check out The Daily Gopher. You can also learn more about college basketball around the nation at SB Nation's College Basketball hub.

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Trevor Mbakwe Officially Granted Sixth Year Of Eligibility By NCAA

It was widely reported on Thursday that the Minnesota Golden Gophers were likely to get Trevor Mbakwe back for another year, in the form of an extra year of eligibility. Now that news is official, as confirmed by the university's official website. The NCAA granted Mbakwe a sixth year due to the ACL tear in his right knee suffered against Dayton in November. He had surgery on Dec. 30 and missed the rest of the season.

Golden Gopher head coach Tubby Smith had some quotes about the decision from the NCAA, again from the official website:

"The NCAA made the right decision," said Golden Gopher head coach Tubby Smith. "Trevor has done everything we have asked of him for three years now and he deserves the right to compete for a sixth season."

Mbakwe also had some quotes of his own:

"I am certainly excited for the opportunity that the NCAA has given me in a sixth year of eligibility," said Mbakwe. "I want to thank my family and all of Gopher Nation for all of the support. It has been a difficult season but I am confident that I will be able to return to the type of player I was before the injury."

It's a definite win for the Golden Gophers, who are getting back a preseason All-Big Ten selection, who averages right around 12 points and 10 rebounds per game. The Daily Gopher best explains why it's a win and a major boost for Minnesota, noting that Mbakwe really does help out just about every aspect of the game when he's out there.

For more on the Minnesota Golden Gophers, check out The Daily Gopher. You can also learn more about college basketball around the nation at SB Nation's College Basketball hub.

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Trevor Mbakwe To Be Granted Sixth Year Of Eligibility For Golden Gophers, According To Report

Trevor Mbakwe is expected to be notified that he can return to the Minnesota Golden Gophers next season. The forward tore his ACL early this season, nullifying the majority of his senior year.

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