Mbakwe, a 6-foot-8 senior, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Minnesota's seventh game this season. His request to the NCAA for an additional season of eligibility was granted, the school said Friday.
He averaged 14 points and 9.1 rebounds in those seven games, which were team highs for the season.
Mbakwe, from St. Paul, Minn., started his collegiate career at Marquette in 2007-08 but suffered a ligament injury. He transferred to Miami Dade Community College for the 2008-09 season and was red-shirted for 2009-10 after switching to Minnesota.
In 2010-11, considered his junior season, Mbakwe led the Big Ten Conference with an average of 10.4 rebounds a game.
Mbakwe has had off-the-court issues, also. He was arrested in January 2011 for violating a restraining order requested by a female acquaintance. After pleading guilty to the violation in December, he was sentenced to one day in jail and fined $300.
Minnesota, 22-14, plays Washington Tuesday in the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament.