The Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s basketball team has sky-high expectations heading into the 2017-18 season. But that enthusiasm was dampened Thursday afternoon as the Gophers announced that backup center/forward Eric Curry will miss the upcoming campaign with a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus.

Curry averaged 5.5 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game last year and had reportedly improved greatly heading into his sophomore season.

“Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game, and we are certainly disheartened by the news,” head coach Richard Pitino said in a team release. “Eric had a tremendous summer, but I am positive he will continue to get better as he recovers from this setback.”

This is the second straight year the Gophers have lost a key player to a left knee injury before the season. Davonte Fitzgerald missed the 2016-17, also with a torn ACL.

The loss of Curry is a hit to the Gophers’ depth in the post. A freshman last year, Curry provided key minutes behind starting center Reggie Lynch, who frequently struggled with foul trouble. Now Minnesota will likely have to rely upon Bakary Konate in relief of Lynch — or just play small ball and play 6-foot-6 Jordan Murphy at the center spot.

The Gophers can certainly survive this blow, but it provides a major threat to their depth if Lynch were to also get injured.

Minnesota’s regular season opener is Nov. 10 against USC-Upstate.