PITTSBURGH – The Pitt men’s basketball team will likely be without power forward Kene Chukwuka for a significant portion of the 2019-2020 season.
After undergoing hip surgery back in March, Chukwuka could miss substantial time as he works back from the injury that forced him to miss time towards the end of last season, including the entirety of Pitt’s season-ending loss to Syracuse in the second round of the ACC Tournament.
Pitt head coach Jeff Capel was not optimistic with regards to the time table for Chukwuka’s return when speaking with the media on Thursday.
“We are not sure if or when Kene will be back,” Capel said. “Obviously we are hoping that he will be. If he is, it will be sometime probably in January.”
A 6-foot-9 senior, Chukwuka averaged 3.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game last season in 32 games (17 starts). He was also the team leader in field goal percentage.
While Chukwuka’s experience will be difficult for the Panthers to replicate, Capel was able to add depth to the front court with the additions of graduate transfer Eric Hamilton and freshman Karim Coulibaly. Center Terrell Brown will also return for Pitt, who shared minutes with Chukwuka and led the team in shot blocking.
If Chukwuka is able to rejoin the team in January, he will be making his return in the thick of ACC play.
The Panthers open their season on Nov. 6 with an ACC matchup against Florida State.