Believe it or not, No. 6/8 Florida Gators basketball (22-5, 12-3 SEC) will have its full roster active and practicing together for the first time in three weeks on Thursday as the team officially announced Wednesday that trainers have cleared junior forwards Will Yeguete (knee) and Casey Prather (facial laceration) and freshman guard Michael Frazier II (concussion) to return to the court.
Yeguete, who aggravated a knee injury and left the court after a single minute of action on Feb. 5 at Arkansas, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Feb. 8 and has missed the last six games while rehabilitating. Florida, already thin in the frontcourt before Yeguete went down, is 4-3 over the last seven games while he has been sidelined.
A “dirty work” player and the squad’s best defender, Yeguete cleans up for a lot of his teammates’ shortcomings. He averaged 6.0 points and 6.3 rebounds (second-most on the team) before going down three weeks ago.
Frazier suffered a concussion at home against Arkansas on Feb. 23 and missed Tuesday’s away contest against Tennessee. UF fell 64-58 partially because it shot a low percentage and struggled mightily with UT’s length in the backcourt, two areas in which Frazier would have been of great assistance.
He is averaging 6.4 points and 3.4 boards per contest while shooting a team-high 48.9 percent from beyond the arc and team-best 95.2 percent from the charity stripe.
Knocked from Tuesday’s contest after his head began bleeding following a collision with redshirt senior G Mike Rosario, Prather skipped the bench and immediately headed to the locker room with Gators trainer Dave Werner.
Head coach Billy Donovan said after the game that he did not know whether Prather suffered his third concussion of the 2012-13 season.
In the end, it appears as if Prather’s injury was a simple facial laceration as he otherwise would not be returning to practice. He has already been out of action for 10 games this season due to two preseason concussions (five) and a high-ankle sprain (five).
Prather has been an important bench player for Florida as of late, filling in admirably for Yeguete and averaging 9.2 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 75.7 percent from the field over the last six games.
The Gators have not yet determined whether Yeguete or Frazier will be active for Saturday’s showdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide though things are obviously looking up for UF’s depth. Florida and Alabama are separated by one game in the Southeastern Conference standings with three left to play, making Saturday’s contest an important one for both teams.