COLUMBIA — South Carolina third-year sophomore forward Carlton Geathers is expected to miss the rest of the season after experiencing a setback in recovery from a knee injury, coach Frank Martin said Tuesday.

Geathers, a 6-10, 255-pounder from Georgetown, underwent arthroscopic surgery Tuesday on his right knee cap. He originally fractured it July 19 in a summer pro-am league game in Columbia. The initial injury required surgery. When USC announced it, the school said the projected earliest recovery time for Geathers was six months.

About seven months have now passed since Geathers got hurt, and he was still experiencing swelling in the knee.

“The front part of the knee cap has been healing,” Martin said. “The back part of the knee cap, the healing process is nowhere near where it needs to be. So he does all kind of stuff on the court (in practice) from a flexibility, strength (standpoint). He’s trying.

“The early time period was six months. But this can go up to 10 months. So I don’t foresee him playing this year. I’ll be very surprised if he wears a uniform this year, especially now that they had to go back in there.”

USC is thin in the post, and if Geathers returned this season, he might have added depth to the team. Now, USC is beginning the process of petitioning the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility. Geathers redshirted as a freshman in 2010-11. NCAA rules state that you must miss two seasons because of injury or illness to get a sixth year. Martin said he isn’t sure if Geathers was hurt in 2010-11.

“But if our training staff is OK with putting that paperwork together, then I’m assuming that two years ago, there was something there (injury-wise),” Martin said.

USC (12-11, 2-8 Southeastern Conference) will try to snap a four-game losing streak at home Thursday night against LSU, which the Gamecocks beat 82-73 in overtime last month.