The back problems that plagued Citadel basketball player P.J. Horgan last season have forced him to give up the game, coach Chuck Driesell said Tuesday.

Horgan, a 6-8 junior from Rio Rancho, N.M., averaged 10.7 points and 6.3 rebounds while playing in 19 games last season. With the departure of all-Southern Conference center Mike Groselle, Horgan would have been the Bulldogs’ top inside scoring threat this season.

But Horgan practiced for the final time last Friday, Driesell said.

“P.J. gave it a shot,” Driesell said. “He woke up the next morning after practice last Friday and the pain and discomfort was such that he couldn’t get through the year. He went through it last year and tried to get it fixed over the summer, and we feel like he gave it plenty of time.”

Horgan will remain at The Citadel to finish his degree in engineering.

The Bulldogs, 8-22 last year, also could be looking at playing without junior forward C.J. Bray for at least part of the season. Bray, a 6-7 redshirt sophomore from James Island, is suffering from nerve damage in his arm.

“C.J. is day to day,” Driesell said of Bray, who redshirted last season and had surgery on his ankle. “He is training with us and running, and it’s not his ankle that is stopping him from playing. It’s the nerve damage in his arm. There’s a little progress every day, but they can’t give us a date when he might be ready.”

With Horgan out and Bray questionable, freshmen Tom Koopman (6-8), Brian White (6-6) and Nate Bowswer (6-9) will be counted on inside, Driesell said.

“We were counting on those guys,” Driesell said of Horgan and Bray. “This is the junior year for both, and they were going to be ready. But Koopman has done a tremendous job showing maturity and a level of play we have confidence in, and Brian White has stepped in and can play some power forward and center.”

The Bulldogs open the season Nov. 8 against VMI in the All-Military Class in Lexington, Va.