Gophers forward Davonte Fitzgerald will now have two more years of eligibility after being awarded a sixth year for medical purposes by the NCAA, the men’s basketball team announced Tuesday.
Fitzgerald, a 6-foot-8 former Texas A&M transfer, was expected to be a senior next season. But he received back the year he lost with the Gophers due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in September.
He was expected to play a major role as a junior last season after sitting out in 2015-16. But he suffered the second major knee injury of his career during fall practice. He missed the 2016-17 season, but Fitzgerald made a full recovery.
Gophers coach Richard Pitino told the Star Tribune Fitzgerald is scheduled to be cleared for full contact in June.
“I am extremely excited and grateful that the NCAA has granted Davonte a sixth year,” Pitino said in a statement. “He is a terrific member of our basketball program and deserves some good fortune. I am so happy for Davonte and can’t wait to get him back on the court.”
Fitzgerald suffered his first knee injury during his freshman season at Texas A&M in 2013-14 to miss the final 10 games. He played in backup role in 25 games for the Aggies while averaging 5.3 points and 1.9 rebounds in 2014-15.