When Florida coach Billy Donovan announced at the beginning of February that junior F Will Yeguete would have to undergo knee surgery, Donovan said he anticpated the earliest Yeguete would return would be the postseason.
There was, at the time, an outside chance that Yeguete would be back for the final regular season game next weekend.
Today, Yeguete returned to practice sooner than he, and the medical staff, had anticipated. Exactly how much his return will mean to the Gators remains to be seen, particularly since he hasn't practiced or played in nearly one month.
But for Yeguete, just being back on the court is a huge deal after all he's been through.
Watch as Yeguete talks about how he feels, what he's expecting upon his return, and why he doesn't like his new knee brace.
Florida senior F Jennifer George will play her final regular-season home game tonight when the Gators host Arkansas at the O'Connell Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
George is the Gators' lone senior.
The Gators and Razorbacks are currently tied for eighth in the overall SEC standings, each with 5-9 records in league play with both teams playing one more game before the SEC Tournament. postseason event.
“Arkansas and we are right there together in the conference standings and when you’re bunched up and there’s a pretty good clump of us, you’ve go to have those wins and gets those teams behind you so-to-speak,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said. “At the same time, it is about generating momentum and getting ready for the conference tournament. Winning is the best thing that you can do to affect your confidence going into that field. I think it’s the best conference tournament in the country.
Florida will attempt to carry some momentum from its last game, a 67-61 road win at Alabama on Sunday. The Gators' game against 12 of the 13 other teams from the SEC has been decided by 10 points or less. The only one that has not been: this year’s Feb. 21 11-point home loss to Vanderbilt (68-57).
Watch George talk about her fond memories of being a Gator: …
The horrific gash that Florida F Casey Prather received over his eye in a collision with teammate Mike Rosario in Tuesday night's game at Tennessee required five stiches, but will not keep him out of action this weekend, Florida announced today.
Also, junior F Will Yeguete (right knee) and freshman guard Michael Frazier II (concussion) have been cleared to return to full-contact practice on Thursday.
“They’ll all be out there,” trainer Duke Werner told Gatorzone.com.
Yeguete underwent surgery earlier this month to remove pieces of cartilage from his right knee. At the time, he was averaging six points, 6.8 rebounds, and shooting 58 percent from the floor.
Frazier suffered a concussion in this past Saturday's win over Arkansas.
Without Frazier and Yeguete, Florida was forced to rely mostly on a six-man roation in the loss to Tennessee.
Former Florida Gator Sharrif Floyd concluded the 2013 NFL Combine with an overall impressive performance, according to writers and NFL experts in attendance.
Floyd ran a 4.92 40-yard Dash, vertical jumpbed 30.0, and had an 8' 10" broad jump.
NFL Hall of Famer and NFL Network draft analyst Warren Sapp said: “Almost a 300-pound man running a sub-5 flat 40, you’re just impressed with the big man. His ability to move, his fluidness, get off the ground, doing almost everything. And then he played defensive end and defensive tackle in college, stout in the run. I love this kid all day long.”
Added Russ Land of National Football Post: “Floyd showed today that the hype surrounding him as a potential top ten pick is fair and justified. According to one scout we spoke to Floyd was “awesome” in drills today displaying the athleticism and explosiveness that are so rare in 300+ pound defensive tackles. His ability to move with such remarkable grace and bend his knees to maintain base during workout was incredible. Overall, after today’s workout, Floyd has pretty much assured himself of being one of the first ten players drafted in April.”
Florida senior Lauren Embree is ranked No. 1 in the nation in singles based on the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings released this week.
It is the first time in her career Embree has been atop the national singles rankings. She was ranked as high as No. 4 in the Feb. 12, 2013 listing and in the Fall of 2010.
Embree joins current Gator teammate Sofie Oyen as Florida players who have achieved the No. 1 singles rankings. Oyen was ranked No. 1 in January.
Embree is the 11th different Gator since the 1988 season to earn the No. 1 singles ranking, joining Halle Cioffe, Nicole Arendt, Lisa Raymond, Jill Craybas, Jessica Lehnhoff, Alexis Gordon, Jennifer Magley, Sofie Oyen, Diana Srebrovic and Allie Will.
Florida has a myriad of concerns heding into tonight's game at Tennessee - including the hostile crowd at Thompson-Boling Arena and a lack of depth due to injuries.
But among the biggest problems the Gators may encounter tonight is F Jarnell Stokes. The 6-foot-8, 270-pound sophomore in on a roll the past nine games and his presence inside could cause Florida some serious problems. Stokes has registered a double-double in eight of the last nine games, and during that span is averaging 16.3 points and 11.8 rebounds.
"I think he provides a physical challenge for everybody,'' Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "He’s a big, strong kid. He does a lot of good things around the basket. He’s a good rebounder. Probably the best thing about him in my opinion – besides a great body – is he’s got tremendous hands and that’s certainly something in traffic, posting up, rebounding, playing through contact, is probably one of his greatest strengths."
At one time, the Gators were among the candidates for Stokes, but his decision to chose UT left noe hard feelings with Donovan. …
Florida coach Will Muschamp celebrates during an SEC game last season.
Florida coach Will Muschamp will make his annual Gator Gathering appearance with the Tampa and Pinellas County Gator Clubs on May 2, the university announced today.
Muschamp will make 10 appearances this year across the state and in Atlanta. Several of his assistants will also make appearances this spring.
I'll update with more information on his Tampa-St. Pete appearance when it becomes available.
Here is the complete schedule:
April 2 - Will Muschamp (Gainesville Quarterback Club) May 1 - Will Muschamp (Titletown Gator Club) May 2 - Will Muschamp (Tampa Gator Club/Pinellas County Gator Club) May 6 - D.J. Durkin (Southwest Florida Gator Club) May 7 - Bryant Young (Panhandle Gator Club) May 7 - Joker Phillips (Palm Beach County Gator Club) May 7 - Will Muschamp (Polk County Gator Club) May 8 - Will Muschamp (Central Florida Gator Club) May 14 - Tim Davis (Space Coast Gator Club) May 14 - Will Muschamp (Gator Club of Jacksonville) May 15 - Will Muschamp (Atlanta Gator Club) May 20 - Will Muschamp (Jacksonville Quarterback Club) May 23 - Will Muschamp (Fighting Gator Touchdown Club) TBA - Will Muschamp (Daytona Quarterback Club)
With two key reserve players out of the lineup due to injuries, Florida coach Billy Donovan said he'll have no choice but to try and get some valuable minutes out of three inexperienced freshman players when the Gators play at Tennessee tonight.
Junior F Will Yeguete is still out with a knee injury and freshman guard Michael Frazier II is recovering from a concussion suffered Saturday night.
That leave the Gators with their starting lineup, and key sixth-man Casey Prather. Freshmen Braxton Ogbueze, DeVon Walker and Dillon Graham have mostly seen action in mop-up duty, but Donovan said one - or all will need to step up now. …
With four games remaining in the regular season and a two-game lead in the SEC, tonight's game at Tennesseegame that marks a homecoming for junior F Casey Prather, a native of Jackson, Tenn.
Prather is the Gators’ top sixth-man right now, and his role most likely will expand with Florida missing both Frazier and junior F Will Yeguete. Prather, who missed eight games this season due to a concussion and a sprained ankle (at different times), is the only Gator coming off the bench with significant experience. He’s the Gators most athletic player, coming off a game in which he had a career-high nine rebounds. But with such depth-depletion, Donovan said Prather may even have to play center at times tonight at 6-foot-6, 212 pounds.
Prather talks about his homecoming and his thoughts on tonight's game:
Florida guard Michael Frazier II could start physical activities in a limited capacity as early as Tuesday after suffering a concussion in this past Saturday's game against Arkansas.
Frazier, of Tampa, was injured when his head collided with teammate Scottie Wilbekin's knee while the two were chasing after a loose ball in the game. Frazier was briefly knocked unconscious, and later diagnosed with a concussion.
But Florida coach Billy Donovan said today the injury may not be as severe as initially thought and he could be back into the lineup this week. Frazier has been ruled out for Tuesday night's game at Tennessee. …
With its first-place finish at the 2013 SEC Championship Saturday night, the Florida men's swimming and diving team not only earned the SEC title, but ended arch-rival Auburn's streak of 16 consecutive SEC Championships - the third-longest streak for a single program in SEC sports history.
The Gator men won the title with 1,408 points and had four individual championships and one relay championship.
“It’s great for the guys,” UF coach Gregg Troy said. “We have been chasing Auburn and nipping at their heels every year and we’ve been close a couple of them. I think this kind of takes us over the top from the standpoint that it gets the monkey off our back. It’s a good building point towards the NCAA meet and it’s not an end in itself but it certainly is a good conference win.”
This is the 34th SEC title for the men’s team, the most of any school in the conference. Auburn is the next closest with 18. Florida's last SEC title was in 1993, breaking a 20-year streak and having finished runner-up for 11 years. The Gators won four titles, had 10 top three finishers and 27 top eight finishes. Junior Marcin Cieslak (Warsaw, Poland) led the team with two titles: the 100 and 200 fly. …
Florida freshman guard Michael Fraizer II suffered a concussion in Saturday night’s win over Arkansas and is out indefinitely.
Frazier, of Tampa, collided with teammate Scottie Wilbekin’s knee and the two chased a loose ball with 11:42 remaining in the game. He was briefly unconscious before team trainer Duke Werner began getting responses from him. He was eventually helped off the court and taken to the locker room.
“He’s out,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “I don’t know when he’ll be back. He’s got a concussion. He was knocked out on the floor. Obviously there will be baseline tests that they’ll do on him. I don’t know how long he will be out for. It’s basically, once he passes all the baseline tests, then they slowly induce him back into working out. And then, individual workouts and the practice. So it could be a week, it could be 10 days, it could be two weeks, I don’t know.”
Frazier has been instrumental in helping the Gators, especially since junior F Will Yeguete’s knee surgery two weeks ago. He was named SEC Freshman of the Week last week after a season-high 18 points against Auburn. He has played in all 25 games this season, averaging 6.4 points. Donovan said he won't consider playing with just six players.
“We can’t do that, we’ve got to play eight guys,” Donovan said. “We’ve got to get another guy to go in there. So we have to use (freshmen) Braxton (Ogbueze) or Dillon (Graham) or DeVon (Walker). Six guys is not enough to go to Knoxville with. And I’m proud of our guys because we’ve battled this whole year long. Fatigue becomes a factor as it did today. . . But our guys fought through and battled. I give our guys credit because this year in a lot of ways we’re playing with seven guys, and they’ve been fighting through.”
Florida will play at Tennessee on Tuesday night.
There are a multitude of reasons the Florida basketball team should want to defeat Arkansas when the two meet Saturday night.
Those shouldn't be among them, UF coach Billy Donovan said.
Arkansas handed Florida it's first conference loss three weeks ago - an 11-point loss that wasn't really that close. But Saturday night's game shouldn't be about getting payback for the loss, Donovan said, because there's nothing to gain.
"I have never been a big believer in payback,'' Donovan said. "I dont know what that means. What do you get back? This is the next game that is in front of us. Maybe if they said 'Listen if you win the game they're going to give you the (previous) game', maybe well have payback. I dont see the point of payback."
Well, then, what about just wanting to beat the heck out of the Razorbacks in similar fashion as they did the Gators?
"Hopefully our guys would want to do that regardless who they're playing against,'' Donovan said. "Were playing in the SEC right now. Were in first place. I hope our motivation would be bigger than that. Weve got a lot that were playing for. Theyre playing for a lot too''
"We have to learn from last game," he added. "We have to look at things we can do better, things they hurt us in, things we can work to get better from the game. But if our focus is were going to focus on what happened there, what do we need to do. You lose sight of what you need to do in the game. That's the most important thing, what do we need to do?" …
In its 63-60 loss to Missouri on Tuesday, Florida allowed Missouri to battle back from a 12-point second-half deficit. But Florida coach Billy Donovan said the Gators' problems in that game were more than just what happened down the stretch, in the final minutes.
In his first meeting with the media since that game, Donovan talked about what went wrong for the Gators.
Florida Gators fans, welcome to the Gator Report for all your news about Gators football, basketball and all UF sports. It's written by University of Florida beat writer Antonya English and the staff of the Tampa Bay Times. We invite your comments and participation.