MADISON, WIS. - The Gophers men's basketball team lost Maurice Walker for the rest of the season when the freshman post player suffered a serious injury to his right knee against South Dakota State last week.
According to the Gophers, Walker tore his posterior cruciate ligament and meniscus and will undergo surgery in the coming weeks. Walker averaged 3.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 9.6 minutes in 12 games this season.
"We feel extremely saddened for Mo Walker. He was doing everything we asked him to do this season and was playing extremely well for us," Gophers coach Tubby Smith said in a statement released Tuesday. "We have some of the best medical people in the country at the University of Minnesota, so they will make sure that the surgery and ensuing rehabilitation goes well.
"His positive attitude is going to be the key in his rehab. I know that he will be the biggest cheerleader we have the remainder of the season."
After Tuesday's 68-60 loss to Wisconsin, Smith said his team felt the impact of playing without the 6-10 Walker in the game.
"We hate to lose Maurice. He's a very talented player," Smith said. "It takes away a lot of the depth as far as inside. We really don't have that extra body to bang inside."
Players said they're trying to help Walker stay positive. "It's definitely tough," said junior guard Devoe Joseph, like Walker a native of Canada. "He's more than a friend to me. He's like a family member whom I love dearly. ... I'm going to be there for him just like all the rest of the guys on the team are."
MYRON P. MEDCALF