Forward Isaiah Ihnen suffers second season-ending knee injury

Listed as a redshirt junior, Ihnen missed last season with Gophers men’s basketball after an injury to the same knee.

Then-freshman Isaiah Ihnen looks to pass the ball at Williams Arena on Wednesday, Feb 19, 2020.

Nur B. Adam

Then-freshman Isaiah Ihnen looks to pass the ball at Williams Arena on Wednesday, Feb 19, 2020.

by Rogan Isbell

Gophers men’s basketball forward Isaiah Ihnen suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice last week and will undergo surgery, the head coach Ben Johnson announced Monday in a press release. He missed the entire 2021-22 season with a torn ACL.

As a heralded international prospect from Boeblingen, Germany, Ihnen was rated as the No. 89 prospect in the 2019 class, according to 247sports. His potential continues to be hindered by unfortunate injuries.

As the lone remaining player that was recruited by and played for former head coach Richard Pitino, Ihnen was set to be one of the most experienced players on the young Gophers roster.

In his last action during the 2020-21 season, Ihnen averaged 2.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. He was expected to have a larger role this season and provide veteran leadership to a very young roster.

“It’s disappointing to see Isaiah go through this after he worked hard to get back on the court this year and made significant strides to his game this summer,” Johnson said in the press release. “We will be with him every step of the way in his road to recovery.”

Redshirt junior teammate Parker Fox suffered a knee injury in June and will also miss his second-consecutive season. Fox and Ihnen will spend the upcoming season recovering together for the second straight year.

“They gon’ feel us kid, might not be today, tomorrow or the next day, but they gon’ feel us kid,” Fox posted on Twitter Monday.

Now without Fox (6-foot-8) and Ihnen (6-foot-10), the Gophers will need to find frontcourt depth elsewhere in the rotation.

Sophomore North Carolina transfer Dawson Garcia will now likely be asked to play an even bigger role for the Gophers this season. The Prior Lake native will still officially need a transfer waiver from the NCAA to be eligible to play this season.

Look for sophomore Treyton Thompson and freshman Pharrel Payne to also play major roles in 2022-23.