Harris has surgery, Donovan ready for fast start

Two weeks into fall practice for the 2012-13 season, Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan met with the media to discuss a number of topics including a serious injury and how the team is preparing for its tough schedule.

HARRIS HAS SUCCESSFUL SURGERY

After announcing last week that junior center Damontre Harris dislocated his shoulder and tore his labrum during practice, Donovan updated the player’s status Monday and noted that Harris decided to have surgery and will be out of action for quite some time as he cannot resume contact for 4-6 months.

Though he could have gone a non-surgical route and returned to practice this year, Harris would have been risking future dislocations and probably would have needed offseason surgery anyway. Donovan said doctors found a “significant tear” during surgery and that the injury needed a lot of cleanup, which confirmed that getting the procedure done now was the right call.

“I think the decision to do it now was probably good,” he said. “While he was under getting prepared for the surgery, [the doctors] before they started the surgery moving his shoulder, it was pretty easy for them to pop his shoulder in and out of place. The feeling was, in doing the surgery, the percentages of him strengthening his shoulder without surgery still would not prevent it from popping out, and it was probably going to happen.

“I think it was good. I feel bad for him. Our plan would be, in about two months, to be able to start working him on the court with no contact. He’ll never probably be able to have contact the rest of this year. We probably wouldn’t put him in that situation even if he is cleared. He’s going to need a lot of individual instruction and that stuff.”

Harris, though unable to play this season due to NCAA transfer rules, would have been a huge help for junior C Patric Young in practice as a big 6’10” 228 lbs. body to go up against every single day. Young no longer has someone like that to match up with on a consistent basis.

Read the rest of this post…after the break!

PREPARING FOR A TOUGH NON-CONFERENCE SLATE

Florida has a scrimmage scheduled this weekend and an exhibition game set against Nebraska-Kearney a week from Thursday. After that the Gators get prepared to face an extremely difficult non-conference schedule as UF will take on Georgetown, Wisconsin, Marquette, Florida State and Arizona in five of its first nine games.

Donovan said this week that Florida “could play in a game [but] I’m not saying we could be good at anything,” which is relatively typical at this point in the offseason. With such a tough schedule coming at the Gators early, Donovan is trying to instill in his team how important it is to limit its mistakes and focus on execution.

“Our guys need to understand that the attention to detail right now this early in the season has got to be there because we don’t have the time through our schedule to play through some mistakes,” he said. “It could be in a game against Georgetown or some of these other teams where you have a couple of mistakes and it could end up ultimately costing you the game. They’ve got to understand that. The heightened awareness of, OK, we’ve taught stuff now, now we really have got to be not only committed to doing it, we got to execute it and get these things done.”

Speaking of the early schedule, Florida’s showdown with Georgetown on the USS Bataan in Jacksonville, FL will be the first outdoor game played in team history. Asked this week if the Gators would be practicing outside to prepare for the contest, Donovan said he was not sure at this point in time.

“We’ll talk about that. I’ve actually thought about practicing outside. My main concern about practicing outside or doing something like that would be much more along the lines of I don’t want to get anybody hurt outside on concrete and things like that,” he said.

“Do you have hypothetically a non-contact practice where you’re doing some things? That may be a possibility. I don’t know. There’s nothing scheduled and/or set up. You think, for these guys, I can’t even remember the last time these guys probably shot the ball outside.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Donovan on if junior F Casey Prather has begun limiting his turnovers: “He’s got awareness of it. I think the biggest thing for him is he puts himself in situations sometimes where he can eliminate or prevent those types of turnovers. I thought Casey played well [in a scrimmage on Sunday]. We’re trying to do some things offensively for him to take advantage of his size and athleticism maybe closer to the basket. I thought he did a very good job for us yesterday.”

» Freshman point guard Braxton Ogbueze on adjusting to college basketball: “It’s a big difference between high school and college. It takes a while to get used to it but I’m gradually getting used to it each day. The game speed is a lot faster, playing with faster and stronger guys.”

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