We've learned that sophomore forward Keelan Cairns has decided to leave Penn for a semester following an early-season stretch that has seen the Belfast, Ireland native struggle with back issues that have kept him from dressing.
We've also now learned that Cairns is headed home after exams and will stay home in Ireland for the spring semester. He is planning to have back surgery and will start his rehab over there.
Cairns plans to return at the start of summer for preseason and resume his Penn basketball career at that time.
It remains to be seen whether he plans on trying for a redshirt this season and picking up a fifth year of eligibility.
Cairns played nine total minutes for Penn last season before not seeing any playing time so far in 2012-13.
In October, we noted a blog post Cairns wrote for the Courtside Collective in which he admitted to considering surgery to shave off the bulging disc in his back and release the trapped nerve inhibiting him.