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Syracuse down to seven scholarship players after Dajuan Coleman’s knee injury

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(USA Today Sports Images)

Syracuse big men seem to be cursed.

The Orange lost freshman Dajuan Coleman for at least a month on Monday when the program announced its starting center will undergo a surgical procedure on his left knee. It is the third consecutive year coach Jim Boeheim has had to deal with losing a big man in the second half of the season.

A year ago Fab Melo became academically ineligible and two years ago starting center Arinze Onuaku went down with an injury in a Big East tournament game against Georgetown and wasn't able to play in the NCAA tournament.

Coleman is only averaging five points and four rebounds, but he has started all 20 games this season and is a big part of the rotation in the post. He is the team's seventh leading scorer and fourth-best rebounder. No. 6 Syracuse sits atop the Big East at 6-1 and is 18-2 overall.

[Related: Forde Minutes: Seven more intriguing players to watch]

Losing Coleman means the Orange are down to just seven scholarship players. They had been playing with eight since forward James Southerland became ineligible earlier this month.

Boeheim has other options to turn to, but there are questions about how effective they will be and how the Coleman injury will affect on-court chemistry with teammates taking on new roles and more responsibility. Coleman was initially hurt last week and then played just 7 minutes against Villanova in an overtime loss Saturday.

Junior Baye Keita (3.7 ppg), sophomore Rakeem Christmas (6.6 ppg) and freshman Jerami Grant (5.1 ppg) likely will be asked for more. All three of those players have played in all 20 games this season.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleRingo
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