Florida Gators battling injury bug entering pivotal SEC basketball week
It's weird to say, given Florida's eight-game winning streak, but this pivotal week of men's basketball comes at an unfortunate time for the Gators.
No. 15 UF enters Tuesday's home game against No. 21 South Carolina and Saturday's game at No. 13 Kentucky still reeling from the season-ending knee injury to center John Egbunu. The injury list also includes leading scorer Canyon Barry, who will be a game-time decision Tuesday with a rolled ankle.
"Tough timing for us," Gators coach Mike White said during Monday's SEC coaches teleconference. "We've got to find a way to be as competitive as we can be."
Don't expect any wholesale changes in UF's game plan. White said that's not really possible, given the time of year and the practice schedule. Instead, UF will have to rely on others to fill Egbunu's defensive void, especially center Kevarrius Hayes.
"He's got some pressure on him to produce, for us to maintain our level of play," White said of Hayes. "But he's got to get some help from some other guys, as well."
That must start Tuesday against the Gamecocks - one of the best defensive teams in the country. South Carolina is 10-4 in the SEC, trailing only UF and Kentucky (who are both 12-2).
Gamecocks coach Frank Martin said UF is "playing as well as anyone out there," even with Egbunu out.