Maryland men's basketball forward Ivan Bender suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee Dec. 29 and will undergo season-ending surgery in the coming week, the Terps announced Dec. 31.
"Ivan has been playing some of his best basketball over the past month," Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said in a release. "He has developed into a strong contributor for our team and we are going to miss his leadership and presence on the court. We are confident that he will make a full recovery."
Bender's injury occurred during the second half of the Terps' 66-45 victory over UMBC Dec. 29. Bender started jogging back on defense after a teammate missed a free throw, but his knee suddenly gave out. The injury didn't appear to be caused by any contact. Bender couldn't put any weight on his right leg, and was helped to the bench by senior Sean Obi and trainer Matt Charvat.
The procedure on Bender's torn meniscus will be the third knee surgery in recent years for the 6-foot-9, 228-pound forward out of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
He tore the ACL in his left knee twice
before coming to Maryland.
Bender, who averaged 3.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists during 15 games, was poised to see an uptick in playing time over his 12.3 minutes he had been averaging. Bender was one of Turgeon's top options at power forward after sophomore Justin Jackson was shut down for the season with a torn labrum. Bender, a skilled passer out of the post, started at power forward against Fairleigh Dickinson Dec. 21 and played 18 minutes off the bench before his injury against UMBC.
Bender's injury leaves the Terps with just four true big men -- seniors Michal Cekovsky and Obi, redshirt freshman Joshua Tomaic and freshman Bruno Fernando -- as Maryland re-enters Big Ten play. Obi and Tomaic, both of whom have seen limited minutes this year, likely will play more. But Bender's injury leaves Turgeon thin on options if he wants to play two big men, especially if one or two get into foul trouble.
Turgeon can also play small lineups with senior Jared Nickens, sophomore Kevin Huerter and freshman Darryl Morsell trying their hand at power forward.
The Terps restart conference play against Penn State Jan. 2.
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