UPDATED: Thorne tears meniscus

UPDATED: Thorne tears meniscus

CHAMPAIGN — Just as it seemed the Illinois basketball team was getting back to full health, the injury bug struck again as center Mike Thorne Jr. suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee during Saturday’s game against No. 4 Iowa State.

Thorne, the fifth-year transfer from Charlotte, underwent surgery on Monday to remove the torn meniscus, the program announced Monday evening. He is out indefinitely.

If he misses the rest of the season, under NCAA guidelines, Thorne could be able to receive a sixth year of eligibility because he had yet to play in 30 percent of Illinois’ scheduled number of games this season.

Through seven games, the 6-foot-11, Thorne was second on the team in scoring, averaging 13.4 points per game. He was the team’s top rebounder, grabbing 8.4 per contest.

Shortly after Thorne’s injury on Saturday, Illinois coach John Groce was starting to contemplate life without his big man.

“When you’re running some of the stuff we’re running and playing the way we are, the 6-11, 280-pound dude kind of is an important cog in the wheel,” Groce said. “We’ll have to see where that goes.”

Thorne’s injury is just the latest in a rash of injuries the Illini have suffered since the end of last season.

— Tracy Abrams was lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon in July.

— Freshman Jalen Coleman-Lands missed 12 weeks during the offseason with a stress fracture in his leg.

— Kendrick Nunn, who returned to the Illini lineup on Friday, missed the first five games of the season after having surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb.

— Leron Black missed five weeks and two games this season after having meniscus surgery, and point guard Jaylon Tate suffered an open dislocation to his right pinky finger in the season opener and missed four games before returning last weekend.

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Bwp 5P wrote on November 30, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Does it ever stop for US? I think if he plays the entire game Saturday night..........good chance we might have even won! This just really SUCKS.....for Him and Illini nation!

DaisyJ wrote on November 30, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Too many for one program..way too many, someone needs to look at the training regiment.