Maryland basketball center Chol Marial will undergo surgery, miss 3-4 months

Head coach Mark Turgeon calls out instructions from the sideline during Maryland’s 73-57 win against Northwestern on Feb. 10, 2018 at Xfinity Center. (Marquise McKine/The Diamondback)

Maryland men’s basketball center Chol Marial will undergo surgery Sept. 4 to repair stress fractures in both legs. The 7-foot-2 freshman, who committed to the Terps in May, has battled injuries throughout his fledgling basketball career.

Once Marial arrived on campus, it allowed Maryland’s trainers to assess a player who has sparingly seen time on the court the last two years. Marial battled shin splints during his prep year at AZ Compass Prep in Chandler, Arizona, in 2017-18.

At one point, Marial was considered a potential NBA lottery pick. But setbacks saw the South Sudan native, who moved to the U.S. in 2014, dip in recruiting rankings. When he signed for the Terps, he was a three-star prospect according to 247Sports and a four-star recruit on ESPN and Rivals.

“Chol battled through injuries over the last few years in high school and we are glad to find a resolution that will provide him with the proper medical care he needs,” coach Mark Turgeon said in a statement. “Our top priority is ensuring Chol is able to not only return to the court, but lead a healthy life well beyond basketball. We are confident Chol will make a full recovery and look forward to his return.”

[Read more: Three-star center Chol Marial commits to Maryland men’s basketball]

Marial’s addition always had risk involved, but as Maryland’s 13th scholarship player this year, the risk was low enough to warrant a place on the squad. Marial’s skillset has been well-documented — even during his injury-shortened season at Compass Prep, he averaged 14 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks per game — and considering the Terps’ improved frontcourt depth from last year, he was worth a flier.

Despite Bruno Fernando’s exit — he was selected 34th overall in the NBA Draft — Jalen Smith returns, along with Joshua Tomaic, to solidify the frontcourt. Newcomers Makhi and Makhel Mitchell provide further depth.

Marial is expected to make a full recovery within three to four months, meaning a return in the middle of Maryland’s season is possible. That decision, though, will come further down the line as the Terps balance Marial’s potential impact in his first year with his long-term health.

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