Okeke has torn ACL as Auburn left 'heartbroken'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Auburn will be without one of its top players in Sunday's Midwest Regional final against Kentucky after learning forward Chuma Okeke tore his left ACL.

Okeke, Auburn's top rebounder and third-leading scorer, was injured in the second half of Friday night's Sweet 16 victory over North Carolina. He was the Tigers' leading scorer against the Tar Heels with 20 points.

The sophomore is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday with noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

"It's tough to lose Chuma,'' Auburn guard Jared Harper said. "I feel like he's our most valuable player for this team, just all the things he's able to do on the court, guard 1 through 5, be able to shoot from the perimeter, score inside and just do all those things. I know we're going to get the production of all those things he did from all of us. It's going to take all of us, not just one single person.''

The Tigers lost twice to the Wildcats during the regular season, both times with Okeke in their lineup.

"We're going to miss him tomorrow,'' Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "We're going to have tough matchups. We lost every single matchup we had against Kentucky in Lexington, every one of them. ... But Chuma always gave us a chance to win [his] matchup.

"We're all sad. We're heartbroken for him. There was no celebrating in our locker room last night because of his injury.''

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the injury made him physically ill.

"He was playing as though he was their best player, which he probably was," Calipari said Saturday. "So, I feel bad for him. Feel bad for his family and his teammates."