UPDATE (6:30pm): Illinois has confirmed that Mike Thorne Jr. underwent surgery on Monday to remove a torn meniscus in his right knee. He is out indefinitely.
Here's the press release:
Champaign, Ill.-Fighting Illini fifth-year center Mike Thorne Jr. (Fayetteville, N.C./Trinity Christian H.S./UNC Charlotte) is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on Monday to remove a torn meniscus in his left knee. He suffered the injury Saturday night during the first half of Illinois' game vs. No. 4 Iowa State.
Thorne has averaged 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds for the Illini through the season's first seven games.
Illinois returns to action Wednesday, making its debut at the newly renovated State Farm Center against Notre Dame in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge (8:15 p.m./ESPN2).
Speculation surrounding the severity of Mike Thorne Jr.'s recent injury has seemingly been confirmed by CBSSports' Doug Gottlieb. According to the analyst, Thorne suffered a torn meniscus during Illinois' game against Iowa State this past weekend; depending on the surgery Thorne opts for, there's a significant chance that the senior will miss the rest of the season.
Mike Thorne (5th year grad transfer from Charlotte) has a meniscus tear- likely out for the year #Illinois
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) November 30, 2015
Thorne joined the Illini as a fifth-year transfer from Charlotte this Summer, and had quickly become one of the team's best players. Through seven games, the senior big man was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, which includes two separate 20-point performances.
Though this is just horrible news for an Illinois teams that's been riddled with injury, there's at least some bit of good news. Should Thorne miss the rest of the season, he'd be eligible to apply for a medical redshirt since he'll have played in less than 30% of the team's games.
John Groce hasn't confirmed this news yet, so we'll make sure to provide an update if/when it's addressed.
UPDATE (11:30am): According to CBSSports' Jon Rothstein, Thorne will be undergoing surgery to repair his knee on Monday. He also states that it's possible Thorne could be back later this season, as there's not yet a timetable for his return.
Illinois' Mike Thorne (meniscus) still could return this season, source told @CBSSports. No official timetable for return. Surgery today.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) November 30, 2015