GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Casey Prather is the latest Florida player on the mend.
Prather will be out 10 to 14 days, including Thursday’s game at Texas A&M, after sustaining a high-ankle sprain in Saturday’s win at LSU. Prather, a junior averaging 6.8 points and 3.3 rebounds, was wearing a walking boot on his left foot and using crutches Monday.
The 10th-ranked Gators (12-2, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) already are dealing with injuries to guard Mike Rosario, guard Scottie Wilbekin, forward Erik Murphy and forward Will Yeguete.
Rosario sat out Saturday’s game with a sprained left ankle, but has been cleared to practice and play. Wilbekin (finger) and Murphy (rib) are playing with broken bones, and Yeguete is getting more tests to see if there are more issues than tendinitis in his right knee.
“A team that’s able to bounce back and play a really good game with some of their best players out, that shows a lot about their team,” center Pat Young said. “Just wait until we have everybody healthy. Hopefully, later in the season we won’t have any injuries affecting us.”
With all the injuries hampering Florida, Prather started the last games and played well.
It seemed like a turning point for his season, which got off to a slow start. Prather missed the first four games because of a concussion sustained in practice. And in his first few minutes on the court against UCF in November, he busted his lip and needed stiches.
“Can’t get out of the way, right?” coach Billy Donovan said. “He started the year with the concussions and it took him a while to get in the flow and then, you know, he’s been playing really good basketball. … So it’s unfortunate that he’s had to deal with some different things throughout the course of his career. But thank God it’s not a severe high-ankle sprain where you’re out for a month to six weeks. It’s something hopefully he can get back.”
Yeguete’s injury could linger the longest. Yeguete is averaging 6.5 points and 6.6 rebounds, and is the team’s best post defender.
Donovan said the junior will have X-Rays on Monday to see if there is anything else that is causing inflammation in his knee.
“Whether or not it’s anything more than that, we’ll have to wait and see,” Donovan said. “I think the first diagnosis by our trainer and our doctor is that it was tendinitis. It could be more than that. What? I don’t know.”
Rosario, second on the team in scoring at 12.3 points a game, also had X-rays Monday to see how his ankle is progressing. Donovan hopes he will be able to play against the Aggies.
Nonetheless, injuries have been the dominate story line for Florida this season.
Only senior guard Kenny Boynton has started every game this season. Despite using six different starting combinations and playing without several key guys at times, the Gators are outscoring opponents by an average of 21.6 points.
“I think this team does a good job pushing through injuries and pain,” Young said.