Florida at Arkansas preview: Four Gators on injured list; Prather out Saturday

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN2 (Mark Jones, Jimmy Dykes)
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(10) FLORIDA GATORS ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Mike Anderson
Record: 12-2 (1-0 SEC) Record: 11-3 (0-1 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +2.5 | O/U 141

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida lead the all-time series against Arkansas 16-11 (16-6 under Donovan) but is just 4-8 on the road against Arkansas (4-5 under Donovan).
» The Gators are 6-1 in their last seven games against the Razorbacks but got routed 80-69 in Fayetteville in their last meeting on Feb. 5, 2013.
» UF is on a six-game winning streak and has been victorious in 11 of its last 12 games.
» UA had its seven-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday with a surprising 69-53 loss on the road at Texas A&M.
» Arkansas has won 25-straight home games, the second-longest streak in the nation.
» Florida is 65-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» The Gators are 5-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign.
» Florida defeated top-15 teams in consecutive games for the fourth time in program history and first time ever in non-conference regular season play.
» The Gators are 2-2 against ranked opponents this season with both losses coming in true road games and the victories occurring in a home contest and neutral-site game.
» UF is 1-2 in true road games this season.

INJURIES PILE UP – AGAIN

Following up on Thursday’s announcement that senior forward Casey Prather had joined senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin (ankle) as a non-participant in practice after Prather’s knee swelled up in the morning after Wednesday night’s game, Donovan provided additional details on the ailments facing his team.

Regarding Prather, Donovan explained that a Thursday MRI revealed a bone bruise with fluid built up in the joint. He ruled Prather out of Saturday’s game, the first contest that Florida’s leading scorer – who has averaged double-digit points in all 14 games – will miss this season.

“Took place last game, he’s had some swelling. We actually thought it maybe have been some cartilage tear with the way his knee was swollen. He had an MRI [Thursday] night. Cartilage tear, knee structure, that stuff’s all fine, but he’s out [Saturday],” Donovan said.


Wilbekin’s sprained ankle, as reported by OnlyGators.com both on Tuesday and Wednesday, is moderate. Though he missed practice both Thursday and Friday, he was held out of action on Friday for precautionary reasons. Donvovan kept his status at “questionable” for Saturday but noted Wilbekin will “probably give it some kind of try.”

Because Wilbekin has missed two practices, he will not start the game. Freshman PG Kasey Hill will take his place with redshirt sophomore F Dorian Finney-Smith the most likely replacement for Prather in the starting five.

“That’s fine, [Hill has] started before when Scottie was out for the first six games,” said Donovan. “We’re going to go with whatever lineup it is, like the lineup we used the most [Friday] in practice was Kasey Hill, DeVon Walker, Jacob Kurtz, Dorian Finney-Smith and Will [Yeguete]. Whether or not we start that way, we’ll see how some of these guys are doing health-wise.”

Two other Gators are also dealing with injuries but both should suit up on Saturday. Senior center Patric Young missed practice Friday with knee tendonitis, an ailment that has bothered him for years, but remains cleared to play. Young could also come off the bench with Kurtz potentially replacing him in the starting lineup.

Sophomore guard Michael Frazier II, Florida’s only leading three-point shooter, has also been dealing with calf problems as of late but will also be a go on Saturday. Like Prather, Wilbekin and Young, he missed a large portion of practice on Friday.

“He got kneed in his calf or something in the game, so he’s having some calf difficulties, but I don’t think he’s going to be a problem,” Donovan said.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On how Hill has been playing: “I think he’s progressing; he’s getting better. I think every game that goes by he probably gains some new valuable learning experiences from the past game. But I’ve got confidence in Kasey and think Kasey is going to continue to improve and get better.”

» On playing in Fayetteville: “They obviously have great fan support. There’s lot of enthusiasm there. … It’s one of those arenas that’s … well lit; it’s a good environment, just a good place to play. Obviously, I think even though they’ve had such a longstanding home winning streak here, you know the last couple years I think traditionally it’s always been a hard place to win at, a very difficult place to play in.”

» On the Razorbacks: “They do a really, really good job defensively creating a ton of forced turnovers. I think it’s going to be an up-tempo, up-and-down game. I think both teams are going to run, but you know, because of their depth of playing 11 guys double figure minutes it’s kind of like they can see who’s playing well together and maybe make some adjustments. … “They’ve got four almost five guys averaging double figures, but they’ve got the kind of team that someone who’s not averaging double figures could have 15, 16, 18. They’ve got that kind of ability.”

OnlyGators.com contributor Mike Brandes assisted with this post.

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5 Responses to “Florida at Arkansas preview: Four Gators on injured list; Prather out Saturday”

  1. gatorboi352 says:

    Considering the above, If we pull out the W at Arky it will be the most impressive win of the season thus far.

  2. Kaleb Wolfe says:

    We are simply just cursed I swear to God I mean as an entire program if Chris Walker had been cleared to play that would’ve let our injured player get some time on the damn bench so they might not of had the injuries in what easily should’ve of been a complete blow out of South Carolina ha and now Center Demontre Harrie decides to re-enroll but won’t play or can’t play this season cuz Donavan won’t let him he better rethink that idea we could’ve of been so deep and had no one ever have to be on the court forever every game in & game out especially with big men Walker and Harris and we’d of went all the way but we are cursed just simply cursed this couldn’t have happened at a worse time so much for staying inside the too ten so much for sec regular or tournament champion so much for a repeat great eight so much for a final four or chance at another championship why are all Gator players made if glass??? And is Prather now out for the season lord I’m dreading tomorrow at 1pm ha you thought last time we were there was a bad game just wait we are in a weak conference RPI wise we can’t afford to suffer these any losses to the likes of weak SEC opponents we will lucky to even reach the tournament this season so is Casey Prather out for the rest of this season or not ??? That’s the most important question right now please someone let me know that article confused me a bit, no offense Adam you do great reporting in your articles

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