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Florida Gators ready to play without injured star Chandler Parsons as they enter difficult stretch

GAINESVILLE — As it begins preparations for the final four regular-season games, Billy Donovan's men's basketball team may be without Chandler Parsons again this week.

The senior forward suffered a deep thigh bruise in the Feb. 12 game against Tennessee, missed all of last week's practices and did not play Sunday against LSU. But the Tigers have won only two league games, so not having Parsons didn't seem like a huge deal.

This week is different.

No. 13 Florida (21-5, 10-2 SEC) is about to begin a brutal final stretch in which it will host Georgia on Thursday, travel to Kentucky on Saturday and return to the court Tuesday when it hosts Alabama. Whether Parsons will be in the lineup for any of those games remains to be seen.

"Right now, I'm not personally overly optimistic that he'll play (against Georgia)," Donovan said Monday. "I would like to see him. I think in his mind he wants to play, and will try to play. But the last time he did anything physically was this past Friday and really couldn't get much done at all. So it's kind of a unique situation; one, because we've got a lot of games in a short time, and two, playing (Sunday) afternoon in Baton Rouge, we've got a couple of days here to see how much progress he can make.

"I'm not so sure that he's going to make the progress necessary to play. I think we'll prepare (for) the game without him."

Florida defeated Georgia 104-91 in double overtime this season in a game in which Parsons played 41 minutes and had 18 points and 12 rebounds. Georgia coach Mark Fox said he won't count on Parsons not being in the lineup.

"We will prepare like he's going to play," Fox said. "Obviously (Sunday) was the first time we were able to see them without him. He's a great player, experienced player, versatile player. But they also have a very deep team, an experienced team, that I thought responded pretty well in his absence. We're going to prepare like he's going to play, and then if he doesn't, we'll adjust accordingly."

CHAMPIONSHIP TIME: The men's and women's track and field teams will compete in the SEC indoor championships this weekend in Fayetteville, Ark. The No. 1 men's team will be looking for its first indoor title since 2004, while the women are the defending conference champions. For Gators coach Mike Holloway, the goal isn't to defend the SEC title but to compete at the highest level possible, regardless of the outcome.

"We talk a lot about the pride of putting on the uniform," Holloway said. "When you put that Gator on your chest it's got to mean something to you. It's not about defending something, we did that last year. It's about representing the University of Florida at a very high level."

HORNSBY RETURNS TO JAIL: Former football player Jamar Hornsby on Monday began a 90-day sentence in the Alachua County Jail for violation of probation related to a Mississippi conviction. Hornsby, who was dismissed from the team after his arrest in 2007, was on probation following a plea agreement he entered into in Gainesville after he was charged with using the gas credit card of Ashley Slonina, the UF student who died in a motorcycle accident along with UF walk-on Michael Guilford. Hornsby allegedly used the card nearly 70 times after Slonina's death. He was a student at East Mississippi Community College with a pending scholarship at Ole Miss when he was arrested and charged with assaulting a man with brass knuckles during an altercation in a Starkville, Miss., McDonald's parking lot. He pled guilty to simple assault, which violated his Alachua County agreement, leading to his current jail time.

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

Florida Gators ready to play without injured star Chandler Parsons as they enter difficult stretch 02/21/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 21, 2011 11:14pm]

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