Gophers redshirt sophomore big man Eric Curry, who hasn't played this season after recovering from knee surgery in the fall, is expected to return to the court soon.

The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Memphis native will miss his 10th game Saturday when Minnesota hosts Arkansas State. The Gophers, though, are hopeful that Curry makes his season debut Tuesday vs. North Florida at home, Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said Friday. 

"We're hopeful he'll be back at some point next week," Pitino said. "Hopeful for Tuesday, but we do not know. So we'll see. It's progressing, but we won't rush him along."

The Gophers have been hearing good things about Curry’s progress recently. 

“Yeah, I was talking to him and he said it should be soon, hopefully,” Gophers senior Jordan Murphy said after the Ohio State loss Sunday. “We’re looking forward to that.”

Curry missed last season with torn ligaments and meniscus in his left knee. He was fully cleared and started at center in the Oct. 20 scrimmage at Creighton, but Curry was sidelined again after an MRI revealed cartilage damage with his previously injured left knee swelling. 

As a freshman in 2016-17, Curry averaged 5.5 points and 5.2 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game on the U’s NCAA tournament team. 

Replacing Curry as the starting center so far this season, freshman Daniel Oturu is averaging 8.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and a team-best 2.1 blocks through nine games. Oturu had 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in Wednesday’s 83-76 comeback win against No. 24 Nebraska. It was his third straight game with three blocks.