Florida plagued by injuries before crucial week
by David Jones, USA TODAY Sports
GAINESVILLE — Symbolic of where the Florida basketball team is right now? On Monday morning, junior forward Casey Prather came hobbling down the sidewalk to the practice facility wearing a boot on his sprained ankle with a crutch in both hands.
He wasn’t smiling.
There are a lot of serious expressions around the Gators this week, with a Thursday trip to Texas A&M (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2) — coming off the first win by a visiting SEC team at Kentucky in the John Calipari era — following by a visit to the O’Connell Center on Saturday by Missouri (2 p.m.ET, ESPN). Like Florida, the Tigers have been at or around the top 10 in the polls most of the season — for a game that is already sold out.
The Aggies and Tigers are both 12-3 overall, 2-0 in SEC play.
At the same time, Florida (12-2) is also dealing with guard Mike Rosario’s ankle injury (missing last Saturday’s 74-52 win at LSU in which Prather was hurt), while forwards Erik Murphy and Will Yeguete have a broken rib and tendinitis respectively. Guard Scottie Wilbekin is playing with a broken finger.
A team being held together by scotch tape and glue? Almost.
Yeguete, who had a broken bone in his foot last season and missed the postseason, was to be examined more on Monday to see if the injury was more than just tendinitis. Regardless, he should keep playing.
“I don’t know what else it would necessarily be,” Gators coach Billy Donovan said. “They want to take some X-rays because he’s got some swelling in his knee.”
Rosario and Murphy were also X-rayed just to see how they were doing and that there was nothing more involved that the original diagnosis.
So all lines form . . . at the training room.
It was Prather who helped absorb the blow of so many players’ limited minutes because of their problems.
Now here came slowly down the street looking like a train had just hit him. Actually, Florida has to fear being run over with so little depth and so few healthy players in one of the biggest weeks of the … [For more on No. 9 Florida plagued by injuries heading into crucial week, click here.]