Posted: 1:28 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, 2014
By Andy Hutchins
Florida will be without its leading scorer against the Razorbacks, and that might not be all.
Florida head coach Billy Donovantold reporters on Friday that leading scorer Casey Prather, dealing with a bruised knee that swelled after the Gators' Wednesday win over South Carolina, is out for Florida's Saturday game at Arkansas, that Scottie Wilbekin is questionable after suffering a sprained ankle against the Gamecocks, and that Patric Youngmissed practice on Thursday and is questionable for Arkansas with knee soreness.
And, just like that, Florida's road trip to Fayetteville got a lot tougher.
GatorZone's Chris Harry provides more context on Prather and Wilbekin in a Friday blog post, after Only Gators' Adam Silverstein reported on Thursday that Prather's knee injury came as a surprise on Thursday, and that Florida is "not overly concerned" about Wilbekin's injury.
Donovan also told reporters that Wilbekin would not start against Arkansas if he could play.
Young emerged from the locker room after Florida's Wednesday win with ice wrapped on his knees, as The Palm Beach Post's Phillip Heilman observed, and has dealt with knee and foot maladies throughout his Florida career. He also told reporters on Friday that his knee issues are from "normal wear and tear," and that he expects to be available for Saturday.
If all three players can't go, which seems somewhat unlikely, Florida would be down to just five available scholarship players. On the flip side, Dorian Finney-Smith, Michael Frazier II, Kasey Hill, DeVon Walker, and Will Yeguete will be Florida's five healthy scholarship players, and Hill, Walker, and Yeguete are all still recovering from one injury or another. And while Wilbekin's played through injuries admirably before, Young's production always seems to dip when he's hampered.
Basically, it's the same scenario Florida was in at the beginning of its season, except more severe, with more important players — Prather, Wilbekin, and Young are three of the Gators' scorers, averaging a combined 40.2 points per game, more than half of the 71.9 points per game Florida is averaging — out, and a ravenous Arkansas press waiting to aggravate any wounds.
Despite an inarguably awful 69-53 road loss to Texas A&M on Wednesday, KenPom projected just a two-point loss for Arkansas against the Gators on Saturday. The M.A.S.H. unit Florida dresses for the game might need to do something Herculean to make even that happen.