A 6-6 sophomore, White complained of pain in the knee after practice Tuesday. The decision to undergo surgery was reached after doctors review an MRI.
"I'm very sad for James that this has occurred," Gators coach Billy Donovan said. "If there is one positive, however, it is that it happened during the first week of practice and at a point where he certainly has time to recover and help contribute to this team."
White will begin rehabilitiation immediately and is expected to resume practicing in three or four weeks. After two exhibition games, Florida opens the regular season on Nov. 19 against Louisiana Tech.
White averaged 6.1 points in 30 games as a freshman last season.