The Maryland men’s basketball frontcourt took its second major blow this week when the team announced Sunday that forward Ivan Bender will miss the remainder of the season with a torn right meniscus.
The loss comes three days after coach Mark Turgeon said forward Justin Jackson, the team’s leading rebounder, would miss the rest of the campaign with a torn labrum.
“Ivan has been playing some of his best basketball over the past month,” Turgeon said in a statement. “He has developed into a strong contributor for our team and we are going to miss his leadership and presence on the court.”
Center Michal Cekovsky and forward Bruno Fernando will continue to serve as Maryland’s main frontcourt options, but the duo has little depth supporting it. Forward Joshua Tomaic and center Sean Obi, who both average fewer than eight minutes per game, could receive larger roles.
Turgeon will probably also experiment with different lineups, such as when he gave guard Jared Nickens his first start of the season in Maryland’s win over UMBC on Friday.
Bender, who averaged 3.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, injured himself in the second half Friday. The redshirt junior stopped running down the court and hopped to the bench on his left leg. The 6-foot-9, 228-pound forward will undergo surgery later this week.
This injury is the latest setback in Bender’s career. He’s torn his left ACL twice and endured a wrist and leg injury last season.
Frontcourt injuries derailed Maryland last season as the Terps lost four of their final six games after Cekovsky fractured his ankle and former center Damonte Dodd spent a chunk of the year returning to full health after spraining his MCL.