Gonzaga C Prezemek Karnowski will miss rest of season due to bad back

Without Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga loses some of its defensive edge. (USATSI)

Gonzaga’s season has taken on a permanent challenge, as the Bulldogs will play out the next three months without starting center Przemek Karnowski, sources told CBS Sports on Thursday.

The Polish big man has been sideline by a bulging disc in his back since late November, and he’s having surgery on his back at 1 p.m. local time to amend his issues. Going under the knife means returning the floor is out of the question for the next few months.

“Sad deal,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few told our Gary Parrish via text message. “He really truly is an awesome kid.”

The news was first reported by Jim Meehan of the Spokesman-Review.

Karnowski averaged 8.8 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Zags, who were 4-1 at the time of his injury and have gone 6-2 since. The 10-3 Bulldogs play on Thursday night at 4-10 Santa Clara. Without Karnowski, coach Mark Few loses a vital piece inside on the defensive end. The 7-foot-1 force is one of the toughest guys to move in college hoops, and certainly ranks among the best post defenders and rebounders in the game.

Fortunately for Gonzaga, and for Karnowski’s college career, he’ll have one more year at Gonzaga if he wants. His injury came so early in the season that he can apply for a medical redshirt and be eligible play in 2016-17.

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