Gators center John Egbunu out for rest of season with torn ACL

Auburn coach Bruce Pearl reacts to a foul call during the team's NCAA college basketball game against Mississippi in Oxford Miss. on Saturday Feb. 11 2017. Mississippi won 90-84

The Gators men's basketball team received some disappointing news Wednesday.

The program announced Wednesday that redshirt junior starting center John Egbunu has been lost for the season with a torn ACL after injuring his knee during Tuesday's game at Auburn.

The school reported that his expected recovery time will bleed over into the next season - about 10-to-12 months.

Coach Mike White said he didn't have any update on the significance of the injury.

While Pearl said he has a "really good" locker room, he could not identify a specific player who is leading the team.

And while nights like tonight strongly imply that this team is capable of fantastic feats even when not at full strength, chasing championships is best done with all hands on deck.

Now, Inside the Gators takes a look at what this means with an Impact Analysis.

The Gators (21-5, 11-2 SEC) blew past their previous scoring high of 106 points en route to a seventh straight win.

Dunans went 2 for 11 from the field for four points with four rebounds and two steals and committed three turnovers with no assists in that 87-77 loss.

He was injured early in the team's 114-95 victory Tuesday over Auburn.

The 6-foot-11, 255-pounder came in averaging 7.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots.

Sophomore Kevarrius Hayes will likely replace Egbunu in the starting lineup. He was averaging 7.8 points and 6.6 rebounds for the No. 15 Gators. Walk-on center Schuyler Rimmer has been serviceable for Florida at moments but has been up-and-down during his Florida career.

"We played well offensively for the most part, and we continue to struggle to defend".

Forward Keith Stone, who has been shaky in recent games coming back from an ear infection, could potentially see minutes at the 5 as well. Florida's depth on the frontcourt was depleted even more on Monday when freshman center Gorjok Gak (6-11), a native of Australia, sprained his left foot and has been ruled out for two weeks. Freshman forward Dontay Bassett, who is redshirting this year due to a stress fracture in his right foot, remains sidelined and in a walking boot.

That's why Florida still has as good of a chance as anyone to reach Glendale for the Final Four despite the setback, and why Egbunu's injury might just wind up being a minor blip on a very successful season. His return date, though, is much more unclear. John (Egbunu) got off to a great start so obviously we are keeping our fingers crossed and saying our prayers that he'll be back soon enough. How that will affect his 2017-18 season is uncertain.

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