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Gators starting center John Egbunu out for season with torn ACL

John Egbunu, the starting center for the 15th-ranked Florida men's basketball team, will be out for the remainder of the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during the first half of Florida's 114-95 road win over Auburn on Tuesday night.

“We’re all disappointed for John,” second-year UF head coach Mike White said in a release on Wednesday. “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.”

Egbunu, a redshirt junior and former transfer from the University of South Florida, averaged 7.8 points and a team-best 6.6 rebounds this season for the 15th-ranked Gators before the injury. He played in 24 games, including 19 starts. His expected recovery time is 10-12 months.

During Florida's seven-game win streak, the 6-11, 255-pound center was averaging 8.6 points and seven rebounds and committed just 11 total turnovers.

This marks the second straight year Egbunu's season ends with an injury. Egbunu tore a ligament in his right thumb in practice before the 2016 Southeastern Conference Tournament and did not play in Florida's three National Invitation Tournament games. He had surgery in the offseason.

With Egbunu sidelined for the rest of the season, the Gators will have to rely on sophomore Kevarrius Hayes and senior Schuyler Rimmer to carry the bulk of the production from the center position.

Hayes has been Egbunu's main backup this season and also started for a seven-game stretch earlier in the year while Egbunu recovered from a hamstring injury. The 6-9, 218-pound Hayes is averaging 6.2 points per game on a 63.6-percent shooting efficiency this year and is also contributing an average of 3.8 rebounds per game.

Rimmer has mostly been used this season when both Egbunu and Hayes were in foul trouble. In 15 total appearances, the 6-10 Stanford transfer has 22 total points and 14 rebounds.

Gorjok Gak, a 6-11 post player who has seen action in just 10 games as a freshman, is also out for 10-14 days with a foot sprain.

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