Auburn’s Chuma Okeke has a torn ACL in his left knee and will have surgery next week, coach Bruce Pearl said on Saturday.
The news comes ahead of the Tigers’ Elite Eight matchup with Kentucky on Sunday.
Okeke suffered the injury with 8:08 left in the second half of the Tigers’ Sweet 16 win over North Carolina, crashing to the floor while going up for a layup. He grabbed his knee in obvious pain before standing and limping off the court.
Okeke had scored a game-high 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds before going down with the injury.
Auburn coach Bruce Pearl got emotional when talking about the sophomore after the game, his eyes filling with tears as he said, “We’re going to rally. I’ll go hug him.”
“We fear for the worst, and we hope for the best. We think it’s a pretty serious injury,” Pearl said on ESPN’s College GameDay, before announcing the ACL tear. “… Almost night in and night out, in this month, Chuma Okeke’s been the best player on the floor.”