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Updated: November 27th, 2011 7:44pm
Gophers' Trevor Mbakwe helped off court after suffering knee injury

Gophers' Trevor Mbakwe helped off court after suffering knee injury

by Nate Sandell
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One of the Gophers men's basketball team's worst fears may have been realized on Sunday.

Preseason All-Big Ten forward Trevor Mbakwe had to be helped off the court minutes into the second half of Sunday's Old Spice Classic championship game against Dayton after he suffered a right knee injury.

Caught by defender in the post, Mbakwe's knee buckled from underneath him as he collapsed to the ground in immense pain. After being looked at on the court by team trainers, teammates Oto Osenieks and Chris Halvorsen slowly walked him to the locker room.

Mbakwe later returned to the Gophers' bench, where he sat with his head down and a large bag of ice on the knee. A few minutes later he exited again to the locker room -- this time on crutches.

From the locker room, Mbakwe tweeted "Lord please get me through this."

Mbakwe is already scheduled to undergo a MRI on Monday, a team official reported following the game.

Losing Mbakwe -- a projected 2012 NBA Draft pick -- would be a devastating blow to the Gophers' hopes of rebounding from a disappointing 17-14 record last season. The senior forward, who is in the middle of his second and final year at the "U", has been a constant game-changer. In six games this season, Mbakwe has averaged a double-double, with 14.8 points and 10 rebound per contest.

The Gophers were down by double digits to Dayton when he exited the game, and the deficit was not altered from there. Dayton sent the "U" to its first loss of the season with a 86-70 defeat.

Nate Sandell is a contributor to
Email Nate | @nsandell