George Mason senior forward Jonathan Arledge's absence this season has gone for temporary to permanent.
The Patriots second-leading scorer last season, Arledge is "medically unable to participate with the men's basketball team for the remainder of the 2013-14 season," the team announced in a statement released on Saturday.
"Jonathan has been an intergral part of the program," said Head Coach Paul Hewitt. "It's unfortunate for Jonathan that his senior season ends this way. He is on schedule to graduate in May and I know Jon will continue to work hard academically."
The 6-9 forward played in the season-opening win over American, but missed the next five games with a lingering back injury. Arledge was noticeably absent from the Patriots bench in a 58-46 win over Saint Francis (Pa.) on November 19. The following day CSNwashington was told by an athletic department official that Arledge was initially not at the Patriot Center because he was attending a class. He later arrived at the arena but did not join his team on the bench.
In addition CSN learned that Arledge would miss the next two games and not travel with the team. That happened, now this.
Projected as one of the area's pivotal players entering the 2013-14 campaign, Arledge improved dramatically over the second half of last season. Over the final 18 games, he efficiently averaged 13.2 points, reaching double figures 12 times. Arledge finished the season averaging 9.0 points and 4.8 rebounds. Coming into this season, he averaged 5.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and blocked 39 shots in 97 career games.
The loss is significant, but the Patriots have credible frontcourt depth. Junior center Erik Copes returned for Saturday's game against Rhode Island after serving a six-game suspension. Marko Gujanicic has received more minutes with Arledge and Copes out. The sophomore forward leads the Patriots with 7.3 rebounds and ranks in third in scoring (11.8).