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Florida Gators Erik Murphy expected to play Wednesday after missing three games with knee injury

GAINESVILLE — Junior F Erik Murphy, who missed the past three games with a knee injury, is expected to play when the Gators host Arizona on Wednesday night at the O'Connell Center.

Coach Billy Donovan said Murphy worked out on his own Sunday and ran and is expected to begin limited contact work.

"Provided the next two days go as planned with him physically, he should be able to play,'' Donovan said. "He feels good right now. I would anticipate right now, the expectation level is he's going to play in the game. But obviously if there's some kind of setback, then we won't play him."

Murphy was averaging 10 points before he bruised his knee and aggravated a slightly torn meniscus he already had from high school. Murphy's return adds size inside and another outside shooter.

Tipoff is 7 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN).

HONORS AND BOWLS: Junior K Caleb Sturgis was named to the AP All-SEC first team, the only Gator to receive AP postseason honors. DT Jaye Howard was an honorable mention selection. It is the first time since 1971 that no Gator was on the first team on offense or defense.

Meanwhile, the Gator Bowl took some shots over its decision to invite two 6-6 teams in Florida and Ohio State. The game was dubbed by some on Twitter as "the mediocre bowl," but bowl officials said it was their best option. Bowl chairman Greg Smith said the committee looked at three factors: how well teams would travel, ticket sales and television ratings.

"As we looked at the teams on the board, we really felt that the Ohio State-Florida gave us the best opportunity," Smith said. "The Ohio State fan base is still very engaged, they travel well and it's been 10 years since they've been in a bowl game in Florida. … We felt the fresh matchup between these two fine programs really was our best opportunity."

Smith said the idea of inviting Penn State didn't fare well because Florida and Penn State played in the Outback Bowl last year.

FRAZIER TO GATORS: Florida officially released its 2012 basketball signees, and among them is Montverde Academy guard Michael Frazier. The 6-foot-4, 180-pound Frazier averaged 29.7 points and 9.7 rebounds for Tampa Plant last season. He joins 6-foot-4 guard Dillon Graham (Orlando First Academy) and 6-foot-1 point guard Braxton Ogbueze (Charlotte, N.C. Faith Christian Academy) as part of the 2012 class.

"I'm excited about the guys that we've signed," Donovan said. "… Frazier is a phenomenal 3-point shooter and a guy that we've kept an eye on for a long, long time. Obviously there are a lot of kids that we're still recruiting that haven't signed yet that we're still involved with. But I'm happy with the guys that have signed and I feel like they are all going to be very, very good players for us."

Antonya English can be reached at aenglish@tampabay.com.

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Florida Gators Erik Murphy expected to play Wednesday after missing three games with knee injury 12/05/11 [Last modified: Monday, December 5, 2011 9:46pm]
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